Apple offers royalty-free licensing of proposed nano-SIM to competitors (Updated)

Update: Nokia has responded to reports that Apple is offering to license its nano-SIM patents royalty-free by claiming Apple does not have patents “essential to its nano-SIM proposal” (via ITworld):

“We are not aware of any Apple Intellectual Property which it considers essential to its nano-SIM proposal. In light of this, Apple’s proposal for royalty-free licensing seems no more than an attempt to devalue the intellectual property of others.”

In recent weeks, reports popped up that suggest Apple is attempting to push a new standard for miniaturized SIM cards. In May 2011, Reuters reported Apple “submitted a new requirement to (European telecoms standards body) ETSI for a smaller SIM form factor.” More recent reports from the Financial Times confirmed other companies, including Motorola and Nokia, were attempting to push their own “nano-SIM” design. At the time, FT said Apple had support from “most of the European operators.” Ahead of the Smart Card Platform Plenary meeting with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute this Thursday and Friday, Foss Patents reports Apple is promising the ETSI it will license any Apple-owned patents related to nano-SIM free of charge to its competitors:
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Apple’s Time Capsules go missing from retail stores globally

Shipping times for Time Capsules are increasing steadily across regional online Apple stores in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, France and other territories. While the 3TB version of Time Capsule is in stock at certain online Apple Stores, most now list the wireless backup appliance with up to one to three weeks delivery time. Meanwhile, 2TB Time Capsules in some stores take one to two weeks. Over at Amazon (temporarily out of stock) and Best Buy (sold out) things are not looking peachy either.

This is similar to the AppleTV shortages we noted over the weekend but may not be for the same reason.

Time Capsule constrains could be linked to the Thai floods that have led to global shortages of hard drives and subsequent jacked prices by as much as 28 percent. A disruption in the hard drive supply already affected the 27-inch iMac. That, plus the fact that other AirPort-branded products stay in stock only reinforce the notion that constrained supplies of Apple’s Time Capsule is likely caused by global hard drive shortages.

According to an unnamed tip that 9to5Mac received this morning, several Apple outlets in Australia no longer have Time Capsules in stock:

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Apple is the only PC brand making progress in Europe (and that’s without iPad)

Research firm Gartner just released its estimates for PC shipments in the Western Europe region during the holiday quarter, and only Apple and Asus made any meaningful progress, with Apple recording the strongest gains in France and the United Kingdom.

While the Mac maker remained absent from the Top 5 rankings in Western Europe and Germany, it was a sole first-tier PC brand to grow sales in the United Kingdom during the holiday quarter. Specifically, Apple’s Mac business in the country grew 17.2 percent, enough to rank fourth with a 9.1 percent market share.

Everyone else’s business shrunk: Hewlett-Packard (No. 1) was down 27 percent, Dell (No. 4) declined by a whopping 32.2-percent, Toshiba (No. 3) fell 5.4-percent and Acer (No. 5) was by far the biggest loser with a 62.4-percent year-over-year decline. The same story is in France where Apple placed No. 5 by growing 15.3-percent for an 8.2-percent market share. Only Asus (No. 2) grew slightly faster than Apple at 17.4-percent, while shipments of PC desktops and notebooks from HP, Acer, and Dell plummeted.

If you include the iPad, Apple easily beats its rivals to the PC punch across the board.

More notes and charts are after the break.


Shipments of notebook and desktop PCs in the United Kingdom. Source: Gartner, February 2012

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Apple extends iPhone and iPad recycling program to UK, France, and Germany

Apple expanded its recycling program in the United States in August to give customers an opportunity to —well— recycle their used iPhones and iPads for Apple gift cards, and now the technology giant is extending the program  even further by launching a similar initiative in the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

According to its German website (Google translation),  Apple will not offer payment in the form of an Apple gift card, but rather as cash deposited into customers bank accounts in exchange for returned devices. Macworld UK  and Macerkopf.de (Google translation) confirmed that these same rules apply for the programs in France and the U.K.

“With the Reuse and Recycling Programme, you could turn your old equipment into a brand-new Mac, iPod, iPhone or iPad,” announced Apple. “Whether it’s an iPhone, iPad, Mac or PC computer, working or not, we’ll take it and determine if it qualifies for reuse and has a monetary value. If it does, the amount will be credited directly into your bank account. If it doesn’t, you can recycle it responsibly through one of our free recycling programs.”

The recycling program is made possible through a partnership with Dataserv, and the  green measure contributes to Apple’s existing programs —as noted by its website— for recycling Macs, PCs, iPods, mobile phones, and batteries…

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Does Siri handle thick accents well? Not really…

We stumbled across this video on YouTube… and Siri clearly should not yet be used by non-native speakers of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, France, or Germany. As you can see in the video, the speaker is talking in English but with a foreign accent, and Siri does not understand one command. “Read dick”.

Update: Australian accent tested by Gizmodo AU below:

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Apple readying new web-based diagnostic tool for iOS devices?

France-based Hardmac reports that Apple is readying a remote iOS device testing tool for deployment to its service personell.  It is web based and will send the diagnostic information, relatively anonymously, to Apple technicians.  A tool of this sort is already in use by Apple technicians but Hardmac claims that this once can be used remotely.

Apple announced (internally) that they have put the final touch to the tools that will facilitate a diagnostic. It will be simple to use and can be used remotely.  In effect, this systems operates entirely online.  An email is sent to the device containing a URL (this can also be entered by hand) and the device will connect via Mobile Safari and the telephone to start internal checks and sends the result of it to the Apple servers to which the service centres are connected.

This would be a pretty clever and powerful tool to do basic diagnostics on iOS devices which could help technicians diagnose and fix  device problems over the phone, saving both the customers and Apple time and effort. Obviously, the diagnostics would only work on devices that were booting up and running Mobile Safari -which isn’t the case in most device repair situations.  The test can only identify the following information:

  • Health, level of load of the battery, duration passed since the last complete charge, 
  • Minimum level to which the battery was discharged,  
  • iOS version installed,
  • To know if the mobile was turned off normally the preceding time.

The tools should be available in the coming months and Hardmac doesn’t speculate whether the test will be able to detect if a device is jailbroken. Read more