WWDC 2012 tickets sell out in under two hours

Apple announced this morning that its 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference is set to take place June 11 at the Moscone Convention Center, but the event’s $1600 tickets are now listed as sold out within two hours of going live. In 2010, it took roughly a week for tickets to sell out, and last year it took about half a day. Tickets were limited to one per person, or five per organization, and are non-transferable and non-refundable.

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Report: Apple building thinner and lighter Liquidmetal next-gen iPhone

A new report from Korean publication ETNews.com claimed industry sources confirmed Apple will use “liquid metal” technology to make a thinner and lighter next-generation iPhone. Apple acquired rights to the patented amorphous metal alloys from Liquidmetal Technologies’ in August 2010.

According to industry sources, the next flagship phones of the companies are expected to adopt unprecedented materials for their main bodies, that is, ceramic for the Galaxy S3 and liquid metal for iPhone5, both being thin, light and highly resistant to external impacts. The new phase of the rivalry is because neither one of them can get a decisive edge over the other solely with its OS and AP specifications, features or design.

Apple has been rumored in the past to be using Liquidmetal in batteries and SIM card tools, but no solid evidence has backed these claims. Today’s report continued to assert that the iPhone 5, as ETNews.com referred to the device, is expected to launch at WWDC in San Francisco this June. However, the publication does not cite a source for the location and timeframe, so it is possible it is just basing this expectation on a rumor. As MacRumors pointed out, the website has a less than perfect track record. Many industry analysts expect Apple to move its iPhone release window to September or October due to the launch date of the iPhone 4S in 2011.

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Apple and Samsung CEOs to meet in court for patent dispute settlement talks within 90 days

According to a report from Foss Patents (and confirmed by Reuters), Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and Samsung Chief Executive Officer Gee-Sung Choi will meet within the next 90 days for settlement talks over ongoing patent disputes. Judge Lucy Koh, who is presiding over the two cases in California, initiated the meeting after ordering the companies to submit their CEOs and legal counsels to an Alternative Dispute Resolution.

“As directed by the Court, Apple and Samsung are both willing to participate in a Magistrate Judge Settlement Conference with Judge Spero as mediator. At Apple, the chief executive officer and general counsel are the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Apple during the upcoming settlement discussions. At Samsung, the chief executive officer and general counsel are also the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Samsung during these settlement discussions.”

The report called the talks “semi-voluntary,” because the companies did not have to submit to the Alternative Dispute Resolution. However, as pointed out by Foss Patents, “if only one of them had made the CEO available, the other one would have appeared to be less than constructive.” Apple and Samsung executives will meet in San Francisco with U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero sometime over the next three months:
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Apple unveils new Apple TV: Streamlined UI, 1080p video output, full HD iCloud movies, same $99 price

Apple just announced at a media event occurring in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts that an updated Apple TV set-top box is capable of 1080p video output. Of course, 9to5Mac was the first to call that one. What is better: iCloud now streams movies in 1080p—an upgrade from the previous and often criticized 720p video resolution. Even more importantly, you can now access purchased movies in iCloud any time you want, just like with music and television shows.

Also updated is the Apple TV’s user interface. It is now more streamlined and taking advantage of the full 1080p video resolution. The new interface takes clues from iOS with its shiny new icons and the beautiful Cover Flow view. The new Apple TV has the same low price of just $99 and is available for pre-order today with shipments beginning March 16. In addition to the new Apple TV, Apple has tweaked its pricing matrix for movies and television shows on iTunes to reflect 1080p content. More on that below.

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Tim Cook: Post-PC devices made up 76 percent of revenues

Apple is having a media event underway at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco to unveil its third-generation iPad tablet. The company’s CEO Tim Cook just took the stage to share news about the new iPad. The executive noted that Apple has three post-PC products: The iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad.

“Now any company would be thrilled to have just one of these devices,” he said. “At Apple we’re fortunate to have all three.”

In total, 172 million post-PC devices were sold last year, accounting for 76 percent of Apple’s revenue. He remarked:

We have our feet firmly planted in the post PC future.

Apple now has 362 retail stores that greeted 110 million visitors just during the holiday quarter of last year alone. The company sold a whopping 62 million iOS devices last quarter and 315 million in total—the same numbers Apple shared while announcing the winner of the 25 billionth App Store download.

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Apple reportedly planning late-January event in New York, media to be the focus

AllThingsD reported that Apple is planning an event for late January to be held in New York, not in Cupertino or San Francisco, Calif. The event will not be huge nor will it cover any iPad or Apple TV related announcements.

But, for sure, several sources underscored that the event is not related to an upcoming version of the iPad 3, the next iteration of the popular tablet device that many expect to be available in 2012. Also unlikely,?the rollout of Apple’s large-scale rethinking of its interactive television initiative currently in the works. While the company is expected to launch a new Apple TV product later in 2012, such an event would also certainly be held in the heart of the industry in Hollywood or at least in Silicon Valley. That leaves some kind of advertising or even publishing announcement…

Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Services and Software Eddy Cue is said to be involved in the event, and the event is reportedly “media-related.” On a side note, Apple has an office for their iAd business in New York, the business that Cue is now in heading.

Update: Jim Dalrymple from the Loop seems to agree with a “yep.”

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AT&T still commands a (shrinking) majority of U.S. iPhone base, says Localytics

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According to Localytics, AT&T continues to be the dominant iPhone carrier in the US, even with the Verizon entering the market strongly last year, grabbing 40% of the users in half the time.

As the 4S was launched on Sprint as well with truly unlimited data plans, one would have thought more of AT&T’s marketshare would have been diminished.  However, it appears that sprint is taking more away from Verizon.

Sprint’s share of the 4S market now stands at 12% according to the figures.  AT&T, though coverage is spotty in urban areas like New York and San Francisco, does have a significant speed advantage over Sprint and Verizon’s 3G as well as the ability to talk and use data at the same time.

Looking at iPhone 4 distribution as a comparison, Sprint seems to have eroded more of Verizon’s market share than AT&T’s – of the previous-generation handset, 60% are on AT&T versus 40% on Verizon.

A likely driver for these differences is the fact that AT&T can mine its existing base of iPhone users. Because all Verizon iPhone users are in the first year of their wireless contract, the cost of upgrading will be high. However, many longer-term AT&T users, especially those holding iPhone 3GS and earlier devices, are off-contract or nearing the end of their contract. AT&T has been aggressively leveraging the iPhone 4S to sign these customers to new two-year contracts, and the data in this study suggests that tactic may be working.

That data strongly lines up with our poll which we’ve been tracking since before the iPhone 4S launch…

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Apple Ship to Store goes live in San Francisco

Yesterday it was revealed that Apple would begin to offer a ship to store option on its online store and it appears that it has just gone online. We heard it would be hitting San Francisco first:

…now we’re hearing it’s going live tonight/tomorrow (depending on your time zone) in the San Francisco area. The pilot program will reach other parts of the Bay Area within the next couple of days or so, and will gradually make its way throughout the United States over the upcoming weeks and months.

As you can see from the screenshot above, it is now live. Apple Store online shoppers now have the option of sending their item(s) to a physical Store in San Francisco. Others soon will follow leading up to the holidays.

Can you imagine how great this will be for the new Apple Store inside Grand Central Terminal?

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Apple begins new program lending iPads to retail employees

It pays to work at Apple! As CNET mentions, Apple has begun testing a new program that lends iPads to Apple Store employees. The new program works like a library book: retail employees can take an iPad home for one week, but then have to return it for other co-workers to use. For now, this program is only taking place at the San Francisco Apple Store. But just wait, there is more coming with Apple Store employees and iPads.

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SFPD launches investigation into how officers assisted Apple in search of missing iPhone

In search of the missing iPhone, a man claimed Apple came to his home impersonating police to conduct a search. It was later reported by SFWeekly that Apple didn’t impersonate officers, and was rather accompanied by four member of the San Francisco Police Department, as two Apple security guards entered the home. Interestingly, there was no police report filed as such. Today however, Cnet is reporting that the SFPD has begun an investigation to determine what role the officers actually played in the search.

Lt. Troy Dangerfield, of the San Francisco Police Department told CNET today that an internal investigation has begun into learning how officers assisted two Apple security employees search a home for the handset in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood in July.

There’s definitely some sketchy areas around this case that we’d like to be uncovered, and we’ll let you know when we hear more. Check out SFPD’s statement from this weekend after the break:

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