iPhone 5 scores ‘low concern’ in chemical analysis of 36 smartphones

Together, with HealthyStuff.org, our friends at iFixit have just completed a chemical analysis of 36 smartphones, including the iPhone 5 and previous generations of the device. Each device was ranked from 0 to 5 (with 0 being best) based on a number of common hazardous materials including lead, bromine, and mercury. In the image above, we see a breakdown on which components of the iPhone 5 have the highest concentration of those chemicals. The findings show Apple is making good in its commitment to greatly reduce harmful chemicals in its products, with the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 ranking significantly better than previous generations. For instance, the iPhone 2G lands itself at the bottom of the list with a “high concern”—not far from Nokia’s N95.

The iPhone 4S was able to outrank the iPhone 5; indicating Apple was not able to significantly reduce hazardous chemicals in the new device. However, all iPhone models were behind the Motorola Citrus—a device Motorola specifically markets as an eco-friendly option. While iPhone 4S came in second behind Citrus, the inexpensive LG Remarq and Samsung Captivate were able to beat out the iPhone 5. When it comes to Apples’ biggest competitors, such as Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S III and higher-end devices from HTC, the iPhone 4/4S/5 all outrank the competition.

As noted by iFixit, each year only about 8 percent of the 130 million discarded cellphones make it to proper recycling facilities. With Apple likely to build a 100 million new iPhones in the year to come, Apple’s commitment to make the “most environmentally responsible products in our industry” is certainly an important one.

iFixit explained the method used to rank the phones:

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Google’s attempt to block U.S. imports of iPhone and iPad thwarted as ITC remands investigation of one patent

Following the verdict in the Apple vs. Samsung trial today, where Samsung was found guilty of infringing various Apple patents related to the case, Apple is also coming out a winner, at least temporarily, in Google/Motorola’s attempt to block imports of iPhones and iPads to the United States.

In late June, we told you about Google’s attempt to block U.S. imports of iPhones and iPads based on a previous ruling that Apple infringed on one standard-essential Motorola patent. The initial ruling was under review by the ITC, which has power to block U.S. imports of Apple devices from Asia, with a decision expected at a hearing scheduled for today.

The ITC has now concluded its review (via paid blogger FossPatents), finding no violations for three of the four patents in the initial suit (including the one mentioned above), but remanded an investigation on a fourth, non-standard essential patent to Judge Thomas Pender. The result? According to FossPatents, there might be a violation and import ban related to the patent, but a remand and ITC review could take up to a year:
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Motorola Xoom does not violate iPad design patent, rules German court

A German court ruled this morning that the “popular” Android-powered tablet does not violate the patented look of Apple’s tablet. The Duesseldorf court discarded one claim by the Google-owned manufacturer, however, about the iPad’s design patent being inapplicable.

FoxBusiness explained:

  • Apple initially sued Motorola for allegedly infringing three iPad designs with the Xoom. It sought to have the device banned across Europe.
  • Although the judges ruled Motorola’s Xoom doesn’t infringe on the iPad, the court rejected a counterclaim brought by Motorola alleging the iPad’s design patent is invalid, a spokesman for the court said.
  • As the court ultimately rejected both parties’ claims, it ordered Apple to pay two-thirds of costs and Motorola to pay a third, the spokesman added.
  • […] During two hearings prior to the ruling, the presiding judge had indicated the court was leaning in Motorola’s favor. Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann said in March that the court considered the evenly bent back and shaped edges on the front of the Xoom tablet sufficient to give the product individual character.

Apple is also suing Motorola in a Mannheim court for allegedly breaching a patent on multi-touch enabled devices.

Get the full report at FoxBusiness.

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Report: Judge who dismissed Apple’s case against Motorola disputes legal protection for tech industry

Reuters interviewed the U.S. judge today who dismissed Apple’s patent court case against Motorola, and the details behind the jurist’s reasoning for tossing the lawsuit are as interesting as they are controversial.

Richard Posner sits on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago and disputes whether software and related tech industries should even have patents for their products.

“It’s not clear that we really need patents in most industries,” said Posner, referring to the slew of features in smartphones that are legally protected. “You just have this proliferation of patents. It’s a problem.”

Posner, 73, argued the pharmaceutical industry better deserved protection for its intellectual property because of the, as Reuters coined it, “enormous investment it takes to create a successful drug.” He tossed Apple’s lawsuit against Google’s Motorola Mobility last month and denied an injunction against the sale of Motorola devices using Apple’s patented technology.

The judge attributed Apple’s scramble to attack competitors allegedly using its technology to a “constant struggle for survival.”

“As in any jungle, the animals will use all the means at their disposal, all their teeth and claws that are permitted by the ecosystem,” Posner contended.

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ETSI selects Apple’s nano-SIM design for new 4FF standard?

We already knew that Apple is pushing hard to have the European Telecommunications Standards Institute select its nano-SIM card design over competitors like Nokia and Motorola, who proposed their own alternative design with RIM. While it was rumored that Apple had support from the majority of European operators, the ETSI confirmed today that it has selected a form factor for the new 4FF SIM Card:

The fourth form factor (4FF) card will be 40% smaller than the current smallest SIM card design, at 12.3mm wide by 8.8mm high, and 0.67mm thick. It can be packaged and distributed in a way that is backwards compatible with existing SIM card designs. The new design will offer the same functionality as all current SIM cards.

The announcement from the ESTI does not flat-out confirm Apple’s design was chosen, but we are able to confirm that the new form factor does match up nicely with measurements of Apple’s proposed design thanks to a little bit of investigative work courtesy of The Verge. Unfortunately, Nokia and Motorola’s proposed design had almost identical dimensions. We will have to wait for more official information on the new standard from ESTI before we know for sure that Apple’s design was selected.

The ESTI explained the standard would be published in its TS 102 221 specification:

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German judge upholds ban on Apple push email, Apple must pay damages to Motorola Mobility

Apple suffered a significant blow in the ongoing patent battles with Android competitors today when a Mannheim regional court in Germany ruled against an Apple appeal.

The court backed an earlier decision that banned Apple from offering the service for synchronizing emails on Apple’s mobile devices that use iCloud.

The court said Apple must pay damages to Motorola Mobility, but didn’t specify the amount.

The judge adjourned a decision on mobile communication standards, which Motorola Mobility regards as standard-essential. He didn’t say when the court will rule on this patent case.

Thermonuclear. Read more

comScore: Android and iOS grab 80 percent US marketshare, Apple passes Motorola

Following Nielsen’s latest survey that showed over 90 percent of United States smartphone buyers are choosing iOS or Android, research firm comScore today released its data of the top smartphone platforms and OEMs in the U.S. The survey included more than 30,000 people over a three-month period ending February 2012. It found Android was up 17 percentage points from a year ago with 50.1-percent of the U.S. smartphone market. In comparison, Apple’s 30.2-percent accounted for an increase of 5 percentage points from the same period a year ago.

According to comScore, Google passed the 50 percent milestone for the first time during February 2012. The numbers represent a 3.2-percentage point increase over previous three-month period for Google, and a 1.5-percentage point increase for Apple.

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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 court woes: AppleCare in Italy; Motorola, lawmakers grill iOS devs

As we reported earlier this month, Apple was set to appeal a $1.2 million fine imposed by Italian anti-trust authorities Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato. The authorities argued Apple is misleading consumers by selling its one-year AppleCare warranties without informing customers of a two-year warranty mandatory by European Union law. Apple officially lost the appeal in court this week, which forced the company to pay the €900,00 fine and alter its AppleCare policies to properly inform consumers going forward. Apple can still appeal the decision, but consumer groups from 10 other countries are also requesting Apple change its policies—indicating this could soon be EU-wide. (via Repubblica.it)

Following the Path incident, a letter sent from lawmakers to Apple in February requested information on how the company collects personal data. The two congressional representatives behind the letter, Henry A. Waxman and G. K. Butterfield, sent letters to 34 app developers requesting similar information. One of the letters was sent to Tim Cook and Apple about the “Find My Friends” app. The letters are requesting that developers answer questions about their privacy policies and how they handle user data. In response to Path, Apple already confirmed, “Any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.”

Earlier this month, we reported that U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner ruled in favor of Apple’s request to view documents related to the development of Android and the Google/Motorola acquisition. Apple claimed, “The Android/Motorola acquisition discovery is highly relevant to Apple’s claims and defenses.” According to Bloomberg, Apple told the courts last week that Motorola has yet to fulfill the original request, but Judge Posner denied Apple’s request this week and said, “Motorola’s objections are persuasive.” Two patent infringement-related trials between Apple and Motorola are set for June, and Posner warns Apple will have to “narrow its request to a manageable and particularized set of documents” for any future production of data requests.
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Apple seeking to settle for up to $15 per Android device in patent disputes

Following a report from Bloomberg in December featuring advice from analysts, we asked you if Apple should settle for up to a $10 royalty per Android device and not keep paying its lawyers to fight patent disputes. Today, Dow Jones Newswiresreports that Apple is interested in seeking settlements. According to the report, Apple “indicated a willingness to cut deals with competitors,” including Motorola and Samsung: Read more

Apple goes directly after Google, secures full disclosure of Motorola purchase and Android roadmap

Apple’s latest cunning move in its Holy Crusade against Android involves getting a court order to force Google, the maker of Android software, to produce documents detailing the Android roadmap and its proposed $12.5 billion acquisition of handset maker Motorola Mobility. It was not immediately clear what data Apple was exactly seeking to uncover. This is notable, because Apple is actually going after Google with this request. It is the first direct in the ongoing legal war considering Apple fought Google by proxy in the past.

According to Bloomberg, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner ruled yesterday based on a patent lawsuit Apple filed in 2010 against Motorola that both Motorola and Google must spill relevant information to Apple, as “the Android/Motorola acquisition discovery is highly relevant to Apple’s claims and defenses.” Motorola, of course, opposed the request, offering the following argument.

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Motorola takes jab at Apple with Android Voice Actions vs. Siri comparison

Handset maker Motorola Mobility may have found itself in an uneasy place as both Microsoft and Apple are attempting to block its $12.billion sale to Google, but the company’s marketing department is as vigorous as ever. With this week’s spotlight on the latest mobile developments showcased at Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, Spain, the Razr-maker published three provocative clips on its YouTube channel.

The videos pit the iPhone 4S-exclusive Siri feature against Android Voice Actions running on three different handsets: The Atrix 2, Photon 4G and Electrify. In each instance, Siri runs notably slower (and therefore less useful) than Android Voice Actions on Motorola’s devices.

Both Android Voice Actions and Siri need a network connection to upload audio samples of spoken queries. The cloud does the rest–speech recognition, parsing your query and beaming down the results.

Two more clips are right below.

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