Google Drive goes live [Video]

After all of this time, Google has now unveiled the Google Drive. Mac Client downloadable here. (Bonus: Gmail bumped to 10GB.)

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Apple LTE chip supplier Qualcomm unable to meet demand, could push back next iPhone launch

According to a report from Reuters, Apple’s LTE chip supplier Qualcomm is having “trouble meeting demand” for smartphone chips and will continue experiencing manufacturing constraints throughout the rest of the year. Qualcomm Chief Executive Paul Jacobs told analysts on a conference call yesterday, “At this stage we cannot secure enough supply to meet the increasing demand we are experiencing.”

With Apple’s next-generation iPhone expected to include LTE capabilities like the recently launched third-gen iPad, many are speculating Qualcomm’s supply issues could lead to delays. It would also make the rumored September or October unveiling and holiday launch all the more likely opposed to June. Is it possible Qualcomm’s supply constraints have anything to do with Apple buying up its capacity?

Apple recently began internally seeding prototype N96— a faster iPhone with 1GB of RAM and an A5X variant to test the performance of the new chip on iPhones.

Qualcomm’s Chief Financial Officer Bill Keitel told Reuters the constraints have lead to increased operating expenses: Read more

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

Reuters: Apple will unveil an LTE iPad tomorrow

Backing up rumors that Apple’s next-generation iPad—set to be unveiled tomorrow, March 7—would be LTE-capable, Reuters reports “a source familiar with the product” confirmed it “will be capable of operating on a high-speed 4G LTE” network:

The newest iPad will be capable of operating on a high-speed 4G “LTE,” or Long-Term Evolution network, according to a source familiar with the product. At speeds roughly 10 times faster than current 3G technology, that may go a long way toward banishing the sometimes shaky video quality of older devices.

Reuters said Apple hopes customers will be more inclined to “pay extra” for a LTE iPad due to high-quality video. Adding to the reports, iMore claims the same source that called the March 7 unveiling date also informed them the “iPad 3″ will include “4G LTE networking.” Both reports support The Wall Street Journal’s sources who said in February that an LTE-equipped next-generation iPad would land on Verizon and AT&T. Read more

Apple finally talks, says Proview refuses to honor agreement to transfer iPad trademark

Numerous online stores in China took the iPad off their shelves after Proview said Apple was breaking its trademark on the term “iPad.” The fight continues in court, but Apple released a statement today to China Daily about Proview’s allegations on Apple allegedly breaking the trademark.

“We bought Proview’s worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago. Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple, and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter,” according to the statement, which also said the case is still pending on the Chinese mainland.”

Apple said it purchased Proview’s iPad trademark over several years ago in 10 different countries. Proview is refusing to transfer the trademark, but Hong Kong courts have already sided with Apple, according to the statement.

Many accuse the Mainland Chinese government of favoring local companies in these types of matters, so it may not be easy to clear this hurdle for Apple. Chinese customs already said the iPad is too powerful to be banned; although, Proview tried to block iPads from coming in or going out of China earlier this week.

Proview countered the Hong Kong situation:

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Apple sues Motorola in the U.S. over Qualcomm patent license

Apple, today, has filed a lawsuit against Motorola over their use of Qualcomm technology, as reported by Reuters. Apple explains that Motorola has breached a contract pertaining to their use of a patent license and “asks this Court to enjoin Motorola from prosecuting and 4 enforcing its claims against Apple in Germany.”

Specifically, Apple is suing Motorola over their claims that Apple is illegally using Qualcomm’s baseband chip. In its lawsuit, Apple asks the court to ban Motorola from being able to sue Apple over Apple’s use of Qualcomm’s technology:

Permanent injunctive relief restraining Motorola and its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, agents, employees, servants, licensors, successors, assigns, and all those acting in concert with them, from prosecuting patent infringement proceedings against Apple based on Apple’s use of the Qualcomm MDM6610 chip and other Qualcomm components licensed under Motorola patents in any forum other than this Court

The root of the lawsuit is essentially Apple’s strike-back at Motorola for attempting to stop sales of Apple’s 3G products in Germany. The lawsuit’s referencing of Qualcomm’s chips is a nod to the iPhone 4S, which uses a Qualcomm baseband chip, not being removed for that short amount of time when Apple won a temporary injunction of Apple’s 3G products in Germany.

The full lawsuit filing can be viewed here.

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China Mobile is the T-Mobile of the East with 10 million iPhone users, an incompatible high speed network and no contract

China Mobile doesn’t officially offer the iPhone yet. But it is carrying 10 Million iPhones on its network according to Reuters.

“We have not yet got agreement with Apple,” Wang said on the fringes of the ITU World telecoms fair in Geneva. “Apple promised to provide, when they develop the iPhone for LTE, that it will include TD-LTE. We are discussing the details.”

There had been rumors that Apple would offer a TL-LTE version of the iPhone 4S earlier this year with China Mobile going as far as saying:

China Mobile and Apple hope to find a solution for close collaboration. We discussed this issue with Apple. We hope Apple will produce a new iPhone with TD-LTE. We have already got a positive answer from Apple.

It appears that positive answer wasn’t for this round of devices, though the CDMA Verizon iPhone arrived off schedule in January. TD-LTE will require some separate chips which could be hard to fit inside the iPhone 4S’s enclosure. Apple however has to look longingly at that 600 million+ subscriber base, however.

While T-Mobile USA is on the opposite end of the subscriber spectrum (China Mobile has around the same amount of subscribers as the populations of Europe and the US combined), T-Mobile is the #4 carrier in the US in the midst of AT&T attempting to swallow it.

But they both don’t officially offer the iPhone, yet have a significant number of iPhones floating around on their network. Both offer a different type of high speed 4G network that stock iPhone 4Ses can’t take advantage of. Both networks do offer EDGE/GSM speeds however which some may find valuable tied with reduced fees or better coverage. T-Mobile told us earlier this year that they had over a million iPhones on their network, a figure that is likely to go up with Apple sneakily offering iPhones 4S unlocked at launch.

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Potential Apple store in London financial district threatened by “rights to light” laws

While Apple’s London Covent Garden and Regent Street stores have given the company a prominent presence in the city centre, a proposed development at 100 Cheapside in London’s uber-rich financial district may be threatened by neighbours claiming rights to sunlight.

ifoAppleStore got their hands on a rendering of the proposed development which would cover 87,000 square-feet of office space, and 13,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. A report from Reuters notes that Apple is currently interested in moving in. Judging by the mock up above, an Apple retail space would fit nicely in that large windowed, street-level storefront.

However, it looks like if Apple is really interested in making it happen they might have to throw some of those billions to appease neighbours and get the job done. Reuters reports: Read more

PC head Todd Bradley tells Reuters HP could resurrect the TouchPad

You surely recall how computer maker Hewlett-Packard announced earlier this month it would exit the low-margin PC business, stop selling smartphones and tablets and sell out or license the webOS operating business. Well, less than two weeks later HP’s PC chief Todd Bradley tells Reuters that the TouchPad could make a come back:

Bradley said the company could resurrect HP’s short-lived TouchPad tablet computer, which was introduced on July 1 before being terminated only about six weeks later. ‘Tablet computing is a segment of the market that’s relevant, absolutely,’ Bradley said.

We’re not sure quite what to think of it. Was the whole “we’re killing the TouchPad” thing just a marketing ploy? Perhaps the news that Samsung wants to become the next HP and whispers that they are “considering purchasing webOS” prompted top dogs at Hewlett-Packard to second-guess CEO’s decision to focus on software and services instead on cool gadgets? Why else would Bradley tell Reuters that selling the PC division to a rival like Acer or Lenovo is “not a desirable alternative”?

Perhaps as interesting, HP claims to plan on building more TouchPads, they reported today.

Is $99 the new $499?  Well, no.  A tier one company can’t make anything close to the TouchPad and hope to break even at $99 yet.   But if anything, the $499 TouchPad that was plagued with a sell-through rate of just ten percent versus the $99 TouchPad that is seemingly flying off the shelves reinforces the notion that price matters in this game – perhaps more than any other feature. Consumers clearly appreciated iPad’s aggressive $499 price point. For a gadget you could do without in your life, price remains the crucial factor. For example…

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Apple’s EU Honeycomb sue-age may carry a huge risk

Yesterday, Apple blocked Samsung’s Galaxy Tab in the EU as it had in Australia previously. Today, it is blocking Motorola’s XOOM.

According to Reuters, this is a high risk strategy for Apple maintaining its market share lead. The cases could take months, if not years to come to court and Apple will have to provide more substantial evidence in subsequent court cases that the design of the Galaxy infringed its patents or copied their designs in order to make any bans permanent. So, they aren’t done deals. And if Apple Loses, it will owe Samsung a lot of money.

If Apple loses it will be liable for the business lost by Samsung in the meantime.

“Apple has a strategy of filing patents, getting some protection and trying to prevent other people from entering the market in the short-term,” said Nathan Mattock, an intellectual property lawyer at Marque Lawyers in Sydney. “If Apple’s wrong it will have to pay Samsung a considerable amount of damages, so it’s potentially quite risky.”

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Reuters: Could Apple be worth $1 trillion?

Apple passed Exxon today to become the most valuable company on earth.  The excitemnt only lasted a few hours until the market rally at the end of the day put Exxon back on top, however.  But, that didn’t stop people wondering: What’s next for Apple?

Enter Robert Cyran, Columnist for Reuters, who doesn’t understand why Apple isn’t headed straight towards being the first $1Trillion company.

Apple’s sales have been surging 80 percent a year, and its profit faster. What’s more, it trades roughly in line with the growing stock market — and at less than half the price-to-earnings multiple it fetched in 2006, when revenue growth was much slower. Apple now trades at about 11 times estimated earnings for the fiscal year ending September 2012. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index is valued at about 10 times next year’s profit. But Apple’s sales growth is nearly 10 times faster than that of the average company. Apple also holds $76 billion of cash and investments.

So, what’s the deal? Apple, if put on the same P/E multiple it traded on in 2006, would be worth $900 billion.

And who has brighter prospects than Apple right now? Read more

Second AT&T iPad hacker indicted

Reuters is reporting that the second hacker has been indicted in the case of personal data being copied from AT&T iPad infrastructure. Earlier this year, the two hackers breached AT&T’s servers and received 120,000 iPad users’ personal data.  They then reported that data to a media outlet who embarrassed AT&T.  Two weeks ago, the first hacker, Daniel Spitler, plead guilty last week and could wind up testifying against his accomplice to reduce his sentence.

The hacker indicted today, Andrew Auernheimer, is being charged with one count of conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers and one count of identity theft.

Andrew Auernheimer was charged by a Newark, New Jersey grand jury with one count of conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers and one count of identity theft, the office of U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman in New Jersey said.

Auernheimer is free on bail, while his partner Spitler is waiting sentencing September 28th. Spitler could face 12 to 18 months in prison.  Read more