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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Tim Cook to appear as opening-night speaker at D10 conference

AllThingsD just announced Apple’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook would appear as the opening-night speaker at this year’s D10 conference. The 10th D: All Things Digital conference will be Cook’s first time speaking at the event, and AllThingsD noted this is his first-ever appearance onstage at a non-Apple event since becoming CEO last year. Past D conferences were notably a stage for many in-depth discussions and interviews with Steve Jobs. Jobs last appeared at the event at D8 in 2010.

Walt Mossberg and I could not be more thrilled to announce that Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, will be the opening-night speaker at our 10th D: All Things Digital conference.

The D10 conference is slated for May 29 to May 31, 2012 at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
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Former Apple exec Bob Borchers talks Apple marketing, packaging, and his time at Apple

Update: Apple had these videos taken offline.  We will make an effort to see if they exist somewhere else. Help us out in the comments if you find them.

Former Apple marketing executive Bob Borchers, who was part of the original iPhone team and helped lead the Nike+iPod partnership and third-party iPod integration with car manufacturers, recently gave a talk at a school in California to discuss his experiences at Apple (part 2 below). In case you are unfamiliar, you might remember Borchers from several “guided tour” videos for iPhone and other Apple products a few years back. He has also been a source for many of the interesting stories coming from Adam Lashinsky’s new book “Inside Apple.”

At the starting of his talk to students, Borchers surveys the crowd to find out the ratio of Android users to iPhone users, leading him to joke: “Alright that’s good. I’ll keep my Apple stock.” As a former marketing executive, Borchers showed and talked about a few ads, but also discussed the AT&T partnership, as he noted, “We broke rules in terms of how we worked with folks like AT&T”:

“AT&T as a company… they buy the cellphones and then they sell them to you and I… we said, ‘no we don’t want to do that’. We want to be able to sell the iPhone. We want to be able to talk directly to the customer. That was a big, big change for the industry.” 

Other than telling some recent stories that have debuted in “Inside Apple,” Borchers also talked about Steve Jobs’ initial mission to create the iPhone, describing the late CEO as wanting to create “the first phone people would fall in love with.” He also discussed how important the multitouch display and having the full “Internet in your pocket” was to the original concept. Before wrapping up his speech, Borchers talked about how the iPhone was developed from his point of view on the product marketing/product management team and the importance of Apple packaging:

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Apple, Google, and five other companies must face lawsuit over no-poaching agreements

Late last week we told you that the U.S. Justice Department apparently had evidence that Apple, along along with Google, Adobe, Intuit, Pixar, Intel, and Lucasfilms, entered “no-poach” agreements as part of an antitrust investigation from 2010. U.S. District Judge Lucy H Koh made a statement yesterday at the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., confirming the companies must face a lawsuit. According to the report from Bloomberg, Koh said she would allow plaintiffs to re-file their complaint even if an initial request by the defendants to dismiss the claims is granted.  

Judge Koh’s decision yesterday will result in Google and the other companies having to provide a detailed account of the agreements made with other companies. They must also allow lawyers to take depositions. One lawyer representing the plaintiffs, Joseph Saveri, said, “We get to see what really happened,” claiming the case could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Google provided statements to Bloomberg claiming they have “always actively and aggressively recruited top talent,” while the others have declined to comment.
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Samsung requests Apple reveal terms of Qualcomm partnership, might reveal next LTE chips

Samsung made a formal request with the U.S. District Court in California for Apple to reveal the intricacies of its contract with wireless chipmaker Qualcomm, who currently supplies chips for the iPhone 4S, CDMA iPhone 4, and iPad 2. Qualcomm is currently in a cross licensing agreement with Samsung, bringing up the question of whether “Apple’s buying Qualcomm chips is as good as paying for the patents.” The documents could potentially reveal Apple’s plans to move to Qualcomm LTE chips in future iOS devices.

Specifically, Samsung defense lawyer Dylan Ruga wants to know if Apple is considered a “Qualcomm Customer,” a term that is “defined in certain licensing agreements between Samsung and Qualcomm.” The request was discovered in court documents by Korea Times and later confirmed by Samsung Electronics spokesperson Lim Yoon-jeong. Korea Times reported:

Samsung Electronics is alleging that Apple has infringed on Samsung-owned patents that relate to technology embodied in chipsets used in Apple’s iPhones and iPads. The documents are expected to determine whether Apple is in fact a direct customer of Qualcomm — and potentially immune from Samsung’s suits — or whether it purchased its chips through an intermediary.

Here is an excerpt from the document that has not been released by the courts: Read more

Unlocked iPhone 4S working in some T-Mobile USA’s network pockets, Apple smartphone utilizes HSPA+ 1900MHz spectrum

Although T-Mobil USA wrote in the September letter to customers that they were “interested in offering all of our customers a no-compromise iPhone experience,” the fact of the matter remains that the carrier’s network bands are not supported on the iPhone 4S.

T-Mobile’s 14.4 HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) GSM/UMTS network operates on the rather odd 1700/2100MHz frequency bands that are incompatible with iPhone 4S and other UMTS phones supported by standard 850/900/1900/2100MHz bands. However, some unlocked iPhone users are detecting 3G signals on parts of T-Mobile USA’s network utilizing the 1900MHz bands, according to Tmonews.com:

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Find My iPhone helps police arrest an armed robbery suspect

LA Times reports that Apple’s Find My iPhone app was used to assist in the arrest of an armed robbery suspect last Thursday. The male suspect entered a female’s home at gun point and took her purse, which held her beloved iPhone inside. The suspect left the home, and thought the coast was clear.

However, the victim then called police and remembered that she had Find My iPhone and notified them. Luckily for her, a random citizen on the street let police use his laptop to track the suspect down via Apple’s website. The officers later found the man and he was arrested on robbery charges. The LAPD told the LA Times how crucial it is to have tracking software installed whenever possible:

LAPD officials say computer and phone theft is a major contributor to crime in Los Angeles, and the theft — and its outcome — illustrate the value and benefit of using tracking applications and software for computers, cellphones and portable tablets.

Find My iPhone was also used in September to help sift through the wreckage in the terribly sad Chilean plane crash. Find My iPhone has important use cases everyday, and we’re glad to see the poor woman got her items back. This is a great reminder that you should have it installed (and to criminals to pass on taking Apple devices!)

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Watch out! Using Siri while driving is still illegal in California

MercuryNews was told by the San Jose Police that using Siri while driving is illegal. The San Jose Police Luitenant said that the actual act of talking to Siri isn’t illegal, but it’s the part when you use you’re hands to navigate through its functionality when things start getting setup for a nice ticket.

“It’s legal to talk to Siri, as long as the phone’s not in your hand,” says San Jose police Lt. Chris Monahan. “But if you have to push the phone to activate her, or if you ask for directions and she puts them up on her screen for you to read, then California’s hands-free law says your’re breaking the law.”

Where it gets murky is that the iPhone is also a GPS device and it isn’t illegal to use your fingers to use GPS devices, especially one that is mounted to your dashboard. Let’s just say: keep it safe.

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Apple posts full video of Steve Jobs’ celebration at Apple’s campus

Apple has posted the full video of the Steve Jobs memorial and celebration of his life at the Cupertino, California campus. The event was held on October 19th and was only streamed to Apple employees who were not physically attending the event. The full video can be viewed at Apple’s website.  Don’t come wearing any browser except for Safari.

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Apple unveils micro USB adapter for iPhones in Europe

It’s been long time coming and it’s finally here. The U.K. online Apple Store now lists the Apple iPhone Micro USB Adapter, available for £8.00 and shipping October 14. From Apple:

The Apple iPhone Micro USB Adapter allows you to use third-party micro USB cables and chargers to sync or charge your iPhone. Simply connect your iPhone to the Micro USB Adapter, then connect a micro USB cable or charger to the Micro USB Adapter

Standards bodies in Europe had agreed last year that all mobile phones sold in Europe should drop proprietary connectors in favor of standard USB jacks. Apple’s been ignoring the initiative up to the point when some watchers questioned whether the European Union should fine the Cupertino, California-based gadget maker.

As it turns out, Apple has elegantly addressed those concerns with this dongle. What it does for Apple is it lets them follow the letter of the law without redesigning the iPhone or, worse, risk incompatibility problems with a billion dollar ecosystem of accessories that take advantage of Apple’s 30-pin dock connector.

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How the teardrop iPhone design wound up in the hands of every case maker in China

The idea of a next-generation iPhone shaped like a teardrop dates back to a report published by This is my next in late-April, describing a 3.7-inch iPhone with edge-to-edge glass and striking new design shape akin to the late-2010 MacBook Air, meaning thicker to thinner from top to bottom. Piggy-backing on the story, agile Asian vendors followed up with teardrop-shaped cases. Or so we thought.

While we will ‘talk iPhone’ next Tuesday, M.I.C. Gadget reveals that an iPhone 5 prototype had recently gone missing from the Shenzhen district. “This should explain why we are seeing a whole lot of iPhone 5 cases in China today”, the publication concludes.

Much like the widely publicized iPhone 4 prototype that had gone missing at a German beer bar in California, the missing handset was camouflaged in an iPhone 4-like case (strange because the teardrop phone is wider and taller). Inside: A test model with a finalized iPhone 5 chassis sporting the teardrop design. The publication then builds on this tip by speculating that the device houses “slightly modified iPhone 4 electronics” plus the A4 chip “and even the same amount of memory”.

If this is true, then the tear drop iPhone may be the low end device, and the one inside the iPhone 4 case might be the high end.

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