Florida Stories May 12, 2016

iphone-sea

Apple has told the families of two teenage boys lost at sea that it has been unable to recover any data from the iPhone belonging to one of them. The families had hoped that content on the phone might have provided clues as to what happened.

14-year-olds Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen failed to return from a boating trip last July, but their 19-foot boat was boat was found drifting 100 miles from Bermuda back in March, and on it was an iPhone belonging to Stephanos. Apple agreed last month to attempt to recover data from the phone, but the SunSentinel reports that the company’s efforts were unsuccessful …

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Florida Stories August 13, 2014

Murder suspect really did ask Siri for advice on hiding a body

One of the best-known Siri easter eggs is its response to the question “Where’s a good place to hide a body?” Siri’s usual response was to ask “What kind of place are you looking for? Swamps. Reservoirs. Metal foundries. Dumps.”

In a story you really couldn’t make up, Kirotv reports that ‘a Florida man’ on trial for a 2012 murder seriously did ask Siri for this advice, according to evidence presented in court yesterday.

New evidence presented Tuesday in the trial of a man accused of killing his roommate showed he apparently asked Siri on his iPhone, “I need to hide my roommate.”

Pedro Bravo is accused of killing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar in 2012.

The Huffington Post reports that the query no longer works, but trying it myself today, the response I got from Siri was “What, again?”.

It was reported in June that Apple is looking to replace Siri’s Nuance-powered back-end, while the former Siri team are working on a next-generation virtual personal assistant.

Update: Bravo’s lawyer argued in court that while the query was made out on the defendant’s phone, it was not done on the night of the murder and is ‘not evidence’ that Bravo was the one who made it. The detective in the case agreed.

Florida Stories July 30, 2014

Apple lets customers in nine states know how to buy Macs and/or accessories tax-free

Apple is emailing customers in nine states that offer sales tax holidays to let them know they have an upcoming opportunity to buy Macs and/or accessories tax-free.

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, South Carolina and Tennessee all offer dates on which you can buy at least some Apple gear free from sales tax.  The email provides a link to a webpage where you can click on your state to find out the dates, qualifying products and the maximum spend.

Missouri appears to offer the best deal, with a wide range of products qualifying and a maximum spend of $3500. Several states require a computer to be one of the items purchased.

If you’re not fortunate enough to live in one of the qualifying states, hit up 9to5mac.com/products to find the lowest prices on Apple gear (many only charge tax in states where they operate).

We also noted yesterday that Retina MacBook Pros had dropped to their lowest-ever prices in the refurb store, and you can find more Apple deals over on 9to5Toys.

Florida Stories May 14, 2013

iPhone-4-power-button

Nearly three years after the device first launched, GigaOm points us to a recently filed class action lawsuit that claims Apple’s iPhone 4 has a defective power button. The lawsuit claims that a defective flex cable typically causes the on/off switch to fail shortly after the device’s one year warranty has expired. It also claimsApple is aware of the problem, which is costing users around $149 to fix off of warranty.

Apple of course still sells the iPhone 4 through a number of carrier partners as its low end, $0 down iPhone option.

According to the lawsuit, “thousands of iPhone 4 users have suffered” from the issue that Apple allegedly knew existed before manufacturing and selling the device. The problem has never received a lot of mainstream media coverage or a response from Apple, but the lawsuit notes that a support forum on Apple’s website boasts over 800K views since first popping up in January 2011.                                                                                                         expand full story

Florida Stories May 9, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-05-09 at 10.09.43 AM.

As we reported last week, AT&T today launched its new pre-paid wireless MVNO called Aio Wireless with the iPhone 5 on offer, front and center. Currently, the service is only available in Houston, Orlando and Tampa but it is expected to roll out nationally over the coming months.

The company will offer 4 plans: Aio Basic, Smart and Pro phone plans at $35-40 for 250MB, $55 for 2GB and $70/month for 7GB data respectively. Each plan will shift to lower speed data after data is used up and also offers unlimited calls and text on AT&T’s network. They will also offer a tablet plan that starts at $15/month for 250MB.

The MVNO will carry Android, Windows and Apple smartphones including iPhone 4S for $499 and iPhone 5 for $649 without subsidy. They also cap 4G data at 4Mb/s so LTE speeds shouldn’t be expected.

Clearly this, as well as Verizon’s upcoming MVNO-like service, will address the competition from T-Mobile and other pre-paid carriers.

Press release and rate plans follow: expand full story

Florida Stories April 16, 2013

Several job postings looking for both hardware and software engineers reveal that Apple is looking to begin its own chip development in Orlando, Florida.

Last week we learned that Apple is hiring software engineers to work on fingerprint technology at Authentec in Melbourne, Florida, which is about one hour south of the future site of the company’s development labs.

The job posting are interesting as Samsung, which works with Apple to develop the custom chips used in iPhones and iPads, continues to compete with Apple in the smartphone and tablet space.

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Florida Stories April 11, 2013

Judge says Apple and Google are using litigation as a business strategy, have ‘no interest’ in settlement

In an ongoing case in which Apple and Google’s Motorola have accused each other of infringing various mobile related patents since 2010, U.S. District Judge Robert Scola said in an order yesterday that the two companies have no interest in reaching a settlement. Bloomberg reports Scola said in his order that both companies are using the litigation as a “business strategy that appears to have no end”:

“The parties have no interest in efficiently and expeditiously resolving this dispute; they instead are using this and similar litigation worldwide as a business strategy that appears to have no end,” U.S. District Judge Robert Scola in Miami said in an order dated yesterday. “That is not a proper use of this court.”

“Without a hint of irony, the parties now ask the court to mop up a mess they made by holding a hearing to reduce the size and complexity of the case,” he wrote. “The court declines this invitation.”

The result is Apple and Google will now have a four month period to narrow their claims related to the case that now includes over 180 claims for 12 patents. Bloomberg notes that Scola said the case currently includes “disputes over the meaning of more than 100 terms,” and that the case would be put on hold until the disputes are resolved if the two companies are unable to come up with a solution before the four month timeframe expires.

Back in November there were reports that Apple and Google’s Motorola were considering a settlement and even submitted “proposals on using binding arbitration to reach a licensing agreement” for standard essential patents to courts in Wisconsin. At the time Apple said “such an agreement could lead to a global settlement of all of their patent disputes,” but the two companies couldn’t come to an agreement on the arbitration process.

Last year Apple and HTC announced they reached a global settlement in multiple patent-related cases that some analysts estimated could be worth as much as $180 million to $280 million annually. When it comes to Samsung, many reports quoted Samsung’s Shin Jong-kyun as claiming the company does not “intend to (negotiate) at all” following the HTC settlement.

Florida Stories April 8, 2013

Fingerprint-scannerA new job listing on Apple.com could add fire to the rumors that Apple is considering including fingerprint technology in upcoming devices.

The job posting seeking a software engineer to write “low-level code to configure and control hardware” is the only listing on Apple’s site located at the “Melbourne Design Center” in Melbourne, Florida. Not only is the position looking for someone familiar with testing various sensors with LabTool and FA software, but Melbourne is also the home base of Authentec, the company Apple acquired fingerprint technology from last year for around $365 million.  expand full story

Florida Stories April 20, 2012

Florida Stories April 17, 2012

Florida Stories November 1, 2011

iPhone 4S lands on C Spire network in the U.S. on November 11th

C Spire confirmed via press release today after announcing it last month, that Apple’s iPhone 4S will be available on their network on November 11th in the Southeastern United States. C Spire will keep with Apple’s pricing, offering the 16GB version for $199, 32GB version for $299, and the 64GB version for $399. The carrier […]

Florida Stories August 8, 2011

More patent fun today as a small Florida company that may or may not be an LG spinoff called OSS systems sues Apple according to Patently Apple.  The Patent was originally filed by LG in 1999 and describes…

“A method for fast booting a computer system, comprising the steps of: A. performing a power on self test (POST) of basic input output system (BIOS) when the system is powered on or reset is requested; B. checking whether a boot configuration information including a system booting state which was created while executing a previous normal booting process exists or not; C. storing the boot configuration information from execution of the POST operation before loading a graphic interface (GUI) program, based on the checking result; and D. loading the graphic user interface (GUI) program.”

As far as Android competitors go, LG and Apple have a pretty cordial relationship  having signed a $500 million display deal a few years ago.  Displays in Apple’s popular devices, from 27-inch iMacs to retina iPhones are made by LG. LG could have spun the patent off as its own company, in an attempt to avoid locking horns with Apple in the courts.  Apple has been suing what seems like every other Android manufacturer over patent disputes. expand full story

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