Apple granted final approval for $450 million ebooks settlement despite judge’s concerns

iBooks Mac iPad iPod

Following preliminary approval it received in August, Apple has been granted the final court approval it needed in its $450 million ebook settlement, according to a Reuters report.

During a hearing in Manhattan, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote approved what she called an “unusual” accord. It calls for Apple to pay $400 million to as many as 23 million consumers if the company’s appeal of a ruling finding it liable for antitrust violations is unsuccessful.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote previously expressed concern over the proposed settlement citing a clause in the agreement that she called “most troubling”, but today called the settlement agreement “within the range of those that may be approved as fair and reasonable.” Read more

Review: Pad and Quill’s Contega Linen case for iPad Air 2 is handmade perfection (Video)

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It’s always refreshing to see iOS accessory makers doing something different and Pad & Quill leads the pack in this area. With handmade cases crafted from linen, leather, and wood, it’s hard to go wrong with this simplistically elegant spin on cases.

Lately I’ve been using Pad & Quill’s Contega Linen case for iPad Air 2 and it’s changed my mind about “premium” cases. There’s something beautifully different about the craftsmanship and it’s created from materials that are designed to last, but not without a steep entry price for some…

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Xiaomi thinks it can top Apple and Samsung as world’s largest smartphone maker within a decade

Xiaomi Mi2

Just weeks after Xiaomi overtook Huawei and LG to become the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, The Guardian reports that the Chinese handset maker’s chief executive and founder Lei Jun is out with a bold prediction that his company could move past Apple and Samsung to become the world’s largest smartphone maker within the next five to ten years. Read more

Google reaches agreement to settle patent litigation with Apple-backed consortium Rockstar

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Google, according to a report out of Reuters, has agreed to settle all of its patent litigation with the Rockstar consortium, which consists of a variety of tech companies including Apple, Sony, BlackBerry and Microsoft. The Rockstar consortium paid $4.5 billion for Nortel Network Corporation’s huge patent portfolio in 2011, outbidding Google at the time. The Rockstar consortium originally sued Google and a handful of Android manufacturers in October of 2013, claiming that the companies infringed on seven Nortel patents.

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America First Credit Union announces Apple Pay support for its Visa card

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Adding to the growing list of banks and card issuers adding support for Apple Pay in recent weeks, America First Credit Union today announced it’s rolling out Apple Pay support for its Visa card.

“Security and privacy is our upmost priority when it comes to offering our members the latest in technology and mobile advancements,” said Rich Syme, executive vice president at America First Credit Union. “Apple Pay will bring a new level of efficiency for members, allowing them to pay with their mobile devices in a fast, easy and secure way.”

Apple has been adding several new banks since first launching Apple Pay last month and now lists a total of 17 card issuers (not including America First Credit Union) on its support document last updated earlier this week. There is, however, a long list of banks that have already announced support will arrive soon. The list also includes information for supported card types available through the banking partners. A growing list of retailers have also added support for the service at retail locations recently.

We have a running list of banks that plan to support Apple Pay in the coming weeks and months here. We also have a running list of the latest stores and apps that accept Apple Pay here. Read more

GT Advanced creditors complain about unfair settlement as Apple commits to repurposing Mesa factory (Update)

Mesa-Arizona

In the aftermath of GT Advanced filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the sapphire maker reached a $439 million settlement with Apple in which the supplier will repay the iPhone maker up to $290,000 per furnace sold. GT Advanced creditors aren’t happy with the proposed settlement, however, arguing that the sapphire company may have received too little in the deal. Read more

Apple reportedly bundling Beats Music with iOS next year

iPhone 6 Beats Music

According to a new report from the Financial Times, Apple is expected to bundle the Beats Music streaming service with an upcoming version of iOS next year.

Apple will bundle the subscription music service it acquired from Beats into its iOS operating system early next year, instantly making it available on hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads – and ramping up pressure on Spotify, the market leader in music streaming.

The report comes amid rumors that Apple is planning to rebrand the Beats Music subscription service for a potential relaunch around February, although FT has added that the bundling is expected “as early as March.” Read more

App Store changes ‘Free’ button to ‘Get’, likely due to in-app purchase controversies

App Store Free Get

Apple has introduced a small but interesting tweak to the way it markets apps on the App Store. As you can see in the screenshot above, non-paid apps are now presented with the word ‘GET’ rather than ‘FREE’. While the reason for the change in how Apple is presenting non-paid apps isn’t clear, it’s likely due to the popularity of ‘freemium’ apps and in-app purchases, something that has been the source of controversy for Apple in the past… Read more

Apple’s IT provider Infosys sacks outsourcing CFO, division’s CEO ‘retires’ for overbilling Apple (Update)

Infosys

The Economic Times of India reported on Wednesday that Bangalore-based company InfoSys, which provides outsourced tech support and other services for Apple, has fired the CFO of its business process outsourcing unit Abraham Mathews for failing to comply with the company’s code of conduct. Read more

Tim Cook & Apple celebrate another 100% score on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index for 13th year running

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Apple CEO Tim Cook today announced via his Twitter account that Apple has received a 100% score on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index for the 13th year in a row. Apple once again makes the list put together by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, which rates U.S. workplaces based on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality: Read more

Fitbit users can finally view their data in the Health app thanks to 99 cent sync tool

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A 99 cent app finally allows owners of Fitbit activity trackers to view their data in Apple’s Health app. Sync Solver for Fitbit provides a daily sync of ten different pieces of data to the Health app built into iOS 8 – a feature the company itself said it had no plans to introduce.

The first sync needs to be performed manually, by tapping a button in the app, after which it will sync data automatically every 24 hours …  Read more