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 gets a break as EU antitrust watchdog launches full-blown probe into Samsung over essential 3G patents

European Union regulators today announced the launch of a formal investigation of Samsung over mobile patents to determine whether the South Korean conglomerate breached EU antitrust rules in its legal dealings with competitors. The investigation is focused on so-called FRAND patents, a common rule that stipulates a patent applying to the standard must be adopted on “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms” (FRAND). According to the press release, EU regulators want to figure out whether Samsung “used certain of its standard essential patent rights to distort competition in European mobile device markets, in breach of EU antitrust rules.”

The Commission reminds that Samsung a decade ago promised to let rivals license its mobile patents under FRAND terms. The full-blown investigation comes in the light of the lawsuits Samsung filed against Apple at courts in Germany, France, the Netherlands and other countries around the world, asserting copyright infringement related to patents essential to wireless telecommunications standards.

The case is “a matter of priority,” the document reads. Patent blogger explained, “The European Commission can’t wait until Samsung finally wins a ruling based on such a patent and enforces it, potentially causing irreparable harm.” The full text of the European Commission Antitrust Commission announcement can be found below.

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First Bluetooth 4.0 accessory helps you find your car, as Microsoft launches Bluetooth keyboard for iPad

The iPhone 4S is one of the first devices to support Bluetooth 4.0. Today, the first accessory to take advantage of the new technology is a new Kickstarter project called Find My Car Smart.

Find My Car Smart uses a Bluetooth 4.0 powered dongle to transmit the location of a car that can then be picked up by an iOS app, letting a user find a car in a busy parking lot on a map. Due to it being a Kickstarter project, it will need to get enough backers to see the light of day. It’s pretty cool, nonetheless. So, if you’re interested make sure you pledge.

Microsoft is also getting in the Bluetooth accessory game with the release of a new tablet keyboard. The Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 5000 is portable and it will hook up with an iPad, Android tablet or any other device that supports Bluetooth.

Microsoft makes the Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 5000, available for $49 on their hardware store. If you can’t look past that Windows logo, you could always just buy an Apple wireless keyboard for $68,or even try Apple’s iPad Keyboard dock.

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Despite no new device last quarter, iPhone made up over 56% of AT&T’s Smartphone sales (2.8 million activations)

AT&T just released its earnings and showed strong iPhone sales despite having a 16-month old device on hand with updates looming.  The carrier reported activating 2.7 million iPhones in the quarter out of a total of 4.8 million total devices.  Android device sales doubled year over year.

Non-iPhone Smartphone Sales Increase. AT&T continues to deliver robust smartphone sales. (Smartphones are voice and data devices with an advanced operating system to better manage data and Internet access.) In the third quarter, the company sold 4.8 million smartphones, representing nearly two-thirds of postpaid device sales. Sales of Android devices more than doubled year over year, and almost half of all smartphone sales were non-iPhone devices. During the quarter, 2.7 million iPhones were activated.

Our polls show that significantly more than half of all US iPhone users go with AT&T, due mostly to the higher data rates and ability to talk and use data at the same time.

Press release follows: Read more

Obama could override ITC in any device import blocks by Apple or Google

Didn’t know this:

But another peculiarity of the ITC is that its rulings can be waived by the president. Verizon thinks it would be great if President Obama, in a blanket statement, made clear he would not let stand any decision blocking importation of consumer wireless devices. The parties then would have to recur to normal patent litigation, and whatever rights and wrongs are discovered could be settled by exchanges of cash. Mobile is a rare industry exhibiting growth, job creation and animal spirits. Who needs a paralyzing meltdown?

It will be interesting to see if the President will override if Apple wins any of the blockades it is seeking against Android devices in the ITC.  IF he does, Apple/Google/Microsoft/whoever will have to go through the longer patent dispute process.

Both iPhones and Android devices could be blocked by pending ITC rulings.

Some background: Read more

Fring adds native iPad 2 to its 4-way video conferencing device list

We’re expecting Skype’s iPad client at any moment now, but old Skype collaborator and new foe Fring already has lept ahead with the ability to video conference between four people, right in the iPad 2 window, at the same time.

The 5.1.1.2 update also includes bugfixes, drag and drop navigation, Bluetooth support and connectivity improvements.

More shots below: Read more