Bloomberg reiterates new Apple TV incoming, April introduction and Christmas launch

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Following our reports in recent months that Apple was looking to introduce a revamped Apple TV set-top box sometime around the month of March, Bloomberg is out with its own report today confirming much of what we’ve already reported. The report claims Apple is currently planning to launch the new Apple TV set-top box as early as April:

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is planning to introduce a new Apple TV set-top box as early as April and is negotiating with Time Warner Cable Inc. and other potential partners to add video content, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

In January we reported that Apple was working testing the new box that could include a revamped operating system and possibly app and game support for sometime in the first half of 2014. We also reported that Apple was testing upgraded hardware that included built-in AirPort Express 802.11ac router functionality and versions that include a built-in TV tuner to control existing cable boxes. Most recently we reported that code in recent builds of iOS 7 point to refreshed hardware, at least internally. Bloomberg today confirmed a couple of the same details including a new interface for navigating content. It also said the hardware will include a faster processor.

Bloomberg adds that a launch of the product is currently planned for Christmas but that might change if Apple isn’t able to nail down deals with content partners in time. Content from Time Warner has been rumored to be arriving soon for quite a while now, but negotiations are still ongoing according to Bloomberg’s report from today.

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Report: Apple continues lead as top smartphone vendor in U.S. during April

ComScore today reported its numbers for smartphone subscribers in the U.S. for the three month period ending in April with Apple experiencing the biggest gains in both categories. The main theme of the report is much the same as we heard in its January and February reports– Apple is up and gaining at the expense of Google and just about everyone else.

When it comes to market share by platform, comScore reports that Google continues its lead with 52.3% (down 0.3 percent since the January quarter), while Apple experienced a slight gain of 1.4 percentage points increasing from 37.8% to 39.2%. That’s compared to BlackBerry at just 5.1% (down from 5.9% last quarter) and 3.0% for Microsoft (down from 3.1%).

Apple also captured the biggest gain for smartphone subscribers by OEM, positioning itself as the No.1 smartphone vendor in the U.S. with 39.2% of the market compared to Samsung’s 22% during the three month period. Filling out the final three positions is HTC, Motorola, and LG: Read more

EU Commission says Motorola’s injunction against Apple in Germany amounts to abuse, prohibited by antitrust law

European-CommissionAs if we needed someone to tell us that the ongoing patent lawsuits between Apple and Motorola in Germany were getting a little out of control… Today the European Commission has finally stepped up calling Motorola’s enforcement of an injunction against Apple with mobile standard essential patents “abuse of a dominant position prohibited by EU antitrust rules.” The EU Commission, however, does note that the statement of objections sent to Motorola does not reflect the final outcome of its investigation into its use of standard essential patents (SEPs):

The Motorola Mobility SEPs in question relate to the European Telecommunications Standardisation Institute’s (ETSI) GPRS standard, part of the GSM standard, which is a key industry standard for mobile and wireless communications. When this standard was adopted in Europe, Motorola Mobility gave a commitment that it would license the patents which it had declared essential to the standard on FRAND terms. Nevertheless, Motorola Mobility sought an injunction against Apple in Germany on the basis of a GPRS SEP and, after the injunction was granted, went on to enforce it, even when Apple had declared that it would be willing to be bound by a determination of the FRAND royalties by the German court.

The EU Commission essentially states that Apple should be able to license the technology under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms decided by a third-party, and that Motorola’s approach with its latest injunction could “distort licensing negotiations and impose unjustified licensing terms.” Back in February of 2012, Apple was for a short while forced to remove all 3G devices from its online store in Germany following the injunction, and at the time Apple noted that “Motorola repeatedly refuses to license this patent to Apple on reasonable terms, despite having declared it an industry standard patent seven years ago.” Read more

Everybody says new 15-inch MacBook Air is coming, details scant

Rumors of a 15-inch MacBook Air have popped up for a while now. We told you last November that Apple actually had a 15-inch variant of the MacBook Air scheduled for release in late 2010 alongside 13-inch and 11-inch models. Apple ultimately put the launch of the 15-inch model on hold due to the larger MacBook requiring a redesigned hinge. Two new reports now claim that Apple is working on a new 15-inch MacBook Air again that could be launched as early as next month.
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