Ferrari in talks with Apple to broaden in-car entertainment partnership, unveils iPad mini equipped FF coupe

As Ferrari unveils its new 1 million euro “LaFerrari” hybrid, the company has also confirmed it plans to strengthen its partnership with Apple in the months to come. According to Bloomberg, Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero Di Montezemolo said the company is now “in talks with Apple about broadening a partnership on in-car entertainment.”

Ferrari SpA, the luxury carmaker owned by Fiat SpA (F), will be “more precise” about its partnership with Apple (AAPL) Inc. in the next few months, Chairman Luca Cordero Di Montezemolo said.

Ferrari, which today unveiled the 1 million euro hybrid model “LaFerrari,” is in talks with Apple about broadening a partnership on in-car entertainment, Di Montezemolo said today at the Geneva motor show.

Ferrari also said today that its new four seater FF coupe will come equipped with iPad minis:

The FF is also now seamlessly integrated with Apple technologies, thanks to direct access to the infotainment system via SIRI voice commands and the adoption of two iPad Minis as the entertainment system of choice for the rear seat passengers.

Ferrari announced in November 2012 that Apple Senior Vice President Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue was joining its board of directors. Cue tweeted about the launch of the new LaFerrari mode today, saying, “Ferrari does it once again… it is stunning.”

The full video of Di Montezemolo speaking at the Geneva motor show is below.
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Bloomberg: Apple to release its iWatch within 9 months

iWatch-Concept-slap-bracelet

Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Apple had a team of over 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device. At the time, we noted that all the recent rumors and intel surrounding the iWatch seemed like the lead up to an impending product launch. Bloomberg is out with a new report today, claiming Apple will indeed launch its watch product in 2013:

Apple seeks to introduce the device as soon as this year, this person said. Apple has filed at least 79 patent applications that include the word “wrist,” including one for a device with a flexible screen, powered by kinetic energy… The watch business is experiencing a renaissance reminiscent of the cell phone industry before the iPhone.

The report added information about some of the potential features of the device that we had also heard of previously, including the ability to receive incoming calls, view maps, and record health data via various sensors:

Features under consideration include letting users make calls, see the identity of incoming callers and check map coordinates, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. It would also house a pedometer for counting steps and sensors for monitoring health-related data, such as heart rates, this person said.

Citigroup Inc. analyst Oliver Chen estimated Apple could generate $6 billion of the approximately $60 million in sales he expects the global watch industry to bring in during 2013. As pointed out by Bloomberg, gross margins are roughly four times bigger than TVs, which would only bring about $1.79 billion in gross profit for the company compared to $3.6 billion for watches.

Former creative director at Nike Scott Wilson told Bloomberg that Apple’s Jonathan Ive “has long had an interest in watches.” Read more

CACI neutering thousands of iPads for use in government

iFixit-iPad-4According to a report from Bloomberg, Arlington, Va.-based CACI International Inc., is working with Apple to secure thousands of iPads for use in U.S. government agencies. CACI Chief Executive Officer Dan Allen referred to the modified devices as “neutered iPads” and hinted the company is working to implement security features related to wireless connectivity and the camera. CACI specializes in providing IT solutions to government, although it didn’t state how exactly the iPads are being secured, but it did note that it’s a hardware solution and not software:

“It’s a neutered iPad,” Allen said today during a meeting with Bloomberg Government reporters and editors. “We’re working on how do we effectively brand it.”

The move comes as iPad and other iOS devices continue to be adopted by government agencies. In October, documents revealed the U.S. Department of Defense planned to deploy at least 162,500 devices partially made up of iOS devices, while a number of other U.S. agencies also switched from BlackBerry to iPhones over the last year. Read more

HTC fights ‘slide-to-unlock’ in London as Samsung continues patent war with Apple ahead of settlement talks

With court moderated settlement talks between Apple and Samsung executives set to take place within the next 90 days, Samsung has now filed a counterclaim in a California federal court alleging Apple’s iOS devices are infringing eight patents. The counterclaim is part of an original patent infringement lawsuit initiated by Apple in February. Foss Patents reported:

It comes as no surprise that Samsung retaliated with infringement claims. Samsung owns roughly 30,000 U.S. patents. It has from the outset of its dispute with Apple demonstrated its belief that a good offense is the best defense. So far, none of Samsung’s infringement claims against Apple has succeeded anywhere on Earth, despite efforts in nine different countries, but Samsung keeps on fighting.

Apple is also in the middle of patent infringement cases with HTC, which just told a court in London that its touchscreen devices, specifically its “slide-to-unlock” functionality, do not infringe on Apple’s patents. Bloomberg reported today that HTC’s lawyers described the functionality in question as “extremely simple implementations of commonly known techniques.” Apple’s lawyer Simon Thorley argued HTC is “attacking the validity of four patents” and claimed, “It is clear the inventions make the requisite contributions.”

If HTC is successful, it could have an impact in ongoing patent infringement related cases with Apple in Dutch and German courts. The report described the functionality Apple claims is covered in the patents:

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US government sues Apple in eBook price-fixing antitrust suit

Bloomberg is reporting that the United States has filed an antitrust lawsuit in a New York district court against Apple and publishers Hachette SA, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster over alleged eBook price-fixing. The news follows reports from Reuters yesterday that the U.S. Department of Justice was preparing to launch a lawsuit against Apple and five major publishers accused of colluding to fix and increase the price of eBooks.

According to the report, all the parties named in the suit—except Macmillan, Penguin, and Apple— are willing to settle to avoid legal costs. The Department of Justice could announce “unspecified” settlements as early as today.

At the core of the settlement discussions is the agency model introduced with the iPad in 2010. The deal with publishers was described by Steve Jobs to biographer Walter Isaacson:

“We told the publishers, ‘We’ll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway…. They went to Amazon and said, ‘You’re going to sign an agency contract or we’re not going to give you the books.’ “

The model allows publishers to set their own prices as long as Apple gets a 30 percent cut and a guarantee that the same content is not offered lower elsewhere, but the Department of Justice is trying to return to Amazon’s wholesale model by giving retailers like Amazon control over pricing. Bloomberg explained: Read more

How much Apple CEO Tim Cook really made last year

Apple’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook was the highest-paid CEO in the United States during 2011, according to a report from The New York Times (via Bloomberg). The report cited data from research firm Equilar who tracked executive compensation throughout the year.

To take home the top spot, Cook received about $378 million. That number includes his salary, perks, and bonuses of $1.8 million in addition to a one-time stock grant of $376.2 million that vests in 2016 and 2021. The report noted that stat works out to roughly a million dollars a day. However, many are taking issue with the number, because the majority of the money requires Cook to stay with the company for 10 years before receiving it…

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