One of the bigger questions remaining about Apple’s event tomorrow is the price point of the iPhone 5C. Some, including Reuters, have put the price point very low, in the $100 Android range. Others have put it higher at $500 and above. Assuming Apple goes with a 16GB base model, I’d personally guess about $450 or slightly lower. How about you?
Back in April we noted that the International Trade Commission had handed down a preliminary ruling that Samsung infringed an Apple patent related to a text-selection feature in a number of its Galaxy devices and other smartphones. Today, Reuters reports that an ITC trade panel will now reconsider the decision in a review of the previous ruling ahead of a final decision in the patent battle:
The International Trade Commission said late Tuesday it would take a second look at an ITC judge’s decision that Samsung had infringed one Apple patent for a text-selection feature in its smartphones and tablets.
Bloomberg adds that the panel is looking for “additional arguments on three of the four patents that Judge Thomas Pender said were infringed, and comments on how an import ban would affect the public.”
The panel will also reconsider a decision in the same case that Samsung didn’t infringe a different patent related to detecting when other devices are plugged into a microphone jack.
The ITC, which could impose an import ban on accused devices, is expected to deliver a ruling in Samsung’s case against Apple on May 31. A final decision in Apple’s case against Samsung is expected on August 1st. Read more
BioShock Infinite: Mac game developers Aspyr announced today that it will be bringing Bioshcok Infinite to the Mac following its release on PC and consoles next week on March 26. It will take Aspyr until the summer to get the third instalment in the Bioshock series up and running on OS X, but the company promised us more details on pricing, preorders, and release dates in the near future. The game follows lead character Booker DeWitt and takes place in the lost, floating city of Columbia. It’s the first title in the series that doesn’t take place under water and also sees the return of the game’s original developer Ken Levine.
Amazon Send to Kindle: Announced by Amazon today, website owners can now add a “Send to Kindle Button” to allow visitors save content directly to Kindle devices and apps. That means that iPhone and iPad users can now use the function on supported sites to send content to the Kindle iOS apps. Some sites such as The Washington Post, TIME, and Boing Boing have already added the button.
Final Fantasy V: The FF-Reunion website is reporting that Final Fantasy V is making its way to the App Store, at least in Japan, by the end of March. The title is said to get the usual overhaul for iOS, but until then you can always play the Game Boy Advance port through an emulator.
Garmin USA version 2.4: Garmin updated its USA version of its iOS app today alongside many other local versions with the ability to play voice instructions through your car’s speakers over bluetooth, a new Map Manager, points of interest from Wikipedia, and much more: Read more
Despite comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook last year about India remaining a lower priority than many other emerging markets, a report from Reuters today detailed how Apple is “aggressively pushing” the iPhone in India through payment plans and a new marketing campaign. Cook suggested last year that India wasn’t the biggest international focus for Apple and multi-layer distribution in the country “really adds to the cost of getting products to market.” According to Reuters, on top of an aggressive marketing campaign and payment plans, Apple also aims to increase the distribution channels Cook mentioned last year: Read more
On the strength of iPhone 5 sales, iOS has once again reached the top spot for smartphone market share in the United States, according to new data from Research firm Kantar Worldpanel Comtech (via Reuters). According to the report that tracked smartphone sales over the last 12 weeks ending Oct. 28, iOS now accounts for 48.1-percent of the U.S. smartphone market. That’s up 25 percent year-over-year, and it officially bumps Android into second place, but is still just shy of the record 49.3-percent it was able to capture earlier this year.
Android was down from 63.3-percent marketshare over the same 12-week period last year to just 46.7-percent today. As for the rest of the world, you can see from Kantar’s data for other countries in the chart below that Android still dominates in most other countries, including: 54.2-percent of the market in Britain, 81.7-percent of the market in Spain, and 73.9-percent in Germany.
Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, comments: “The last time we saw iOS overtake Android in the US was when the iPhone 4S was released and Apple managed to retain its lead for three consecutive periods. This time we predict that Apple will beat its previous high of 49.3% and achieve its highest ever share of the US smartphone market within the next two periods.”
The report also provided some data on iPhone 5 sales, noting 62 percent came from existing Apple device owners upgrading. Apple also captured 13 percent of iPhone 5 sales from Android switchers: Read more
According to a report from Reuters, citing a statement from Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou, Apple’s assembler is having a hard time keeping up with iPhone 5 demand. Gou confirmed previous rumors that the company is indeed “falling short” of meeting supply for iPhones and its other unit, Foxconn International Holdings, is assisting with production:
“It’s not easy to make the iPhones. We are falling short of meeting the huge demand,” Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou told reporters after a business forum.
Following the launch of the iPhone 5, reports claimed employees at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant went on strike over quality control concerns and lack of training. The same quality control issues were linked to scratching found out of the box on some iPhone 5 units, but it’s unclear how much these setbacks have contributed to iPhone 5 delays. Another unnamed executive speaking to The Wall Street Journal last month said the iPhone 5 is “the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled. To make it light and thin, the design is very complicated.”
To speed up production of new iPhones, specifically the production of display components, Reuters suggested Apple could provide cash incentives to Sharp, one of its keep suppliers that was thought to have contributed to initial low supplies. Following rumors yesterday that Apple might even be considering making further investments in the failing company, Asymco’s Horace Dediu (via Fortune) speculated today that a $2.3 billion discrepancy in Apple’s 2012 financials might have already went to Sharp: Read more
According to a new report from Reuters, EU authorities are about to accept a deal with Apple and four book publishers in order to end an antitrust investigation into whether Apple conspired with publishers to prevent Amazon from undercutting Apple’s ebook pricing. The companies originally proposed the settlement in late August, and it would see Amazon go back to its original ebook pricing for two years. By making the deal, Apple and the publishers will be able to put an end to the antirust investigation and avoid related fines:
Apple, Simon & Schuster, News Corp unit HarperCollins, Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Livre, and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, the owner of German company Macmillan, made the proposal to the European Commission in September…Pearson Plc’s Penguin group, which is also under investigation, did not take part in the offer.
According to a report from Reuters, Google issued a statement that a Wisconsin federal court has decided to dismiss Apple’s “patent lawsuit with prejudice.” The report explained this particular case was brought on by Apple in part to determine what the courts considered fair and reasonable licensing terms for the patent portfolio Google acquired when purchasing Motorola.
Google said in a statement that it is still interested in making a deal with Apple “at a reasonable and non-discriminatory rate in line with industry standards”:
“We’re pleased that the court has dismissed Apple’s lawsuit with prejudice,” a Google spokeswoman said in an emailed statement on Monday…”Motorola has long offered licensing to our extensive patent portfolio at a reasonable and non-discriminatory rate in line with industry standards,” Google said in its statement. “We remain interested in reaching an agreement with Apple.”
Reuters explained the case being dismissed with prejudice means it is officially over at the trial court level. However, Apple can still appeal: Read more
Apple and Samsung’s legal fight continued on the world stage this morning, where the Britain Court of Appeal upheld a previous ruling that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab does not infringe on the iPad’s patents because it is not “as cool.” Reuters reported that after losing the appeal this morning, Apple has been instructed by the court to apologize to Samsung by running ads on its website and in newspapers saying Samsung did not infringe on patents in at least Arial 14 font.
As we all know, other courts around the world have ruled otherwise. On the ruling, Samsung gave the boilerplate: “We continue to believe that Apple was not the first to design a tablet with a rectangular shape and rounded corners.” A California court ruled this summer that Samsung owes $1 billion to Apple. Additionally, some of Samsung’s devices could be in jeopardy from being on the market.
Today’s ruling in Europe prohibits any other legal course regarding tablets and the iPad specifically. While the Court of Appeal denied Apple’s appeal today, the company can still appeal with the Supreme Court. The global legal battle is far form over, as it continues in roughly a dozen countries, with more trials scheduled for 2014. Read more
Apple and Samsung appeared in a San Jose federal court today, where U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh presides, to give opening statements starting at 9 a.m. PST.
Apple filed the first suit in this monumental case in April 2011. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company claimed Samsung infringed its patents by “slavishly copying” its iPhone. Samsung, a South Korea-based Company, promptly countersued.
This is one of the important cases to go to trial among a slew of other litigations on smartphone patents. If Apple wins, Samsung could suffer a financial blow and the ability to sell its infringing products in a large market. If Apple loses, its “thermonuclear war” against Android smartphone manufacturers could essentially wither away as Samsung collects royalty fees.
This morning’s most notable highlights are below (continually updated).
A quick Reuters report on an unsealed document in the Apple-Samsung trial reveals that iPhones are much more of a profit driver for Apple than its iPads. To the tune of double (!) per unit.
Apple Inc earned gross margins of 49 to 58 percent for U.S. iPhone sales between April 2010 and the end of March 2012…Apple had gross margins of 23 to 32 percent on U.S. iPad sales, the filing said.
That means Apple makes as much money on one iPhone as it does on two iPads (considering they cost roughly the same amount).
Who likes phone subsidies? Apple likes phone subsidies!
According to a report from iMore’s Rene Ritchie, Apple plans to release an adapter alongside the new iPhone that will allow users to connect accessories using the old 30-pin dock connector to the device’s new 19-pin connector:
iMore reached out to the original sources that gave us the new Dock connector story way back in February just to make doubly sure — and yes, there will be an adapter for the iPhone 5’s smaller Dock connector that will let it work with many of the accessories designed for the old 30-pin Dock connector.
The report noted there is no word on whether Apple plans to include the adapter in the box with the new iPhone or make it a separate purchase. Earlier today, a report from Reuters backed up the rumors and earlier reports that Apple plans to include the smaller, 19-pin dock connector on the new iPhone expected to launch in October. iMore originally reported the new iPhone would include the smaller connector in February, and several reports since followed up with similar predictions.
In May, we posted images of the next-gen iPhone‘s metal back (above) that clearly show the smaller connector.