Reuters Stories November 28, 2013

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Reuters is reporting that Lucy Koh has today dismissed a data privacy lawsuit against Apple that dates back to 2011. The plaintiffs were suing on the basis that (in iOS 4.1) Apple collected WiFi hotspot and cell tower location data even though Location Services were disabled.

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Reuters Stories October 2, 2013

Reuters is reporting that problems with the rumored retina display for the iPad Mini 2 mean that it will be available only in limited quantities when it launches this year, with full-scale production pushed into 2014.

Apple Inc will be unable to widely roll out a new version of the iPad Mini with a high-resolution “retina” display this month, people who work in the company’s supply chain said […]

Given the time required to ramp up screen production, a retina display-equipped iPad Mini would not be available in large volumes until early next year, the sources said.

The delays are said to be due to the display suppliers – believed to be Samsung, LG and Sharp – having difficulties meeting the strict power-saving specifications laid down by Apple …  expand full story

Reuters Stories October 1, 2013

Carl Icahn “pushed hard” for $150 billion buyback at Cook meeting, talks to continue in 3 weeks [Update: Video]

After taking an undisclosed “large position” in Apple last month, rumored to be in excess of $1B, prominent investor Carl Icahn said he thinks Apple and CEO Tim Cook should do a larger buyback. Now, following a scheduled meeting with Tim Cook in New York yesterday, Icahn says he “pushed hard for a 150 billion buyback” during a “cordial dinner”:

While Apple announced earlier this year that it would return around $100 billion to shareholders by the end of 2015 as part of its $60 billion buyback program and increased dividend, Icahn previously told Reuters he thinks Apple is capable of doing a $150 billion buyback by borrowing the money at 3 percent:

“If Apple does this now and earnings increase at only 10 percent, the stock – even keeping the same multiple currently – should trade at $700 a share,” Icahn said in a phone interview. Apple has “huge borrowing power, little relative debt and trades at a low multiple.”

As noted in his tweet above, Icahn says he will resume talks with Cook regarding the buyback in three weeks.

Update: we’ve embedded the CEO’s conversations on video to CNBC below:

Reuters Stories September 9, 2013

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?

Reuters Stories June 21, 2013

Blind Chinese dissident at NYU given iOS devices loaded with tracking software and spyware

not an iPad

Reuters has an interesting story on Chinese dissident/activist Chen Guangcheng who currently is at NYU on a Fellowship. Apparently he was given an iPhone and an iPad with tracking and spying software aboard.

The devices were screened by NYU technicians within a few days and were found to have been loaded with hidden spying software, said Cohen, who arranged the fellowship for Chen at NYU Law School, helping defuse a diplomatic crisis between the United States and China after Chen took refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

“These people supposedly were out to help him and they give him a kind of Trojan horse that would have enabled them to monitor his communications secretly,” said Cohen.

The iPad was eventually cleaned up and returned to Chen at his request, the second source said.

NYU is pointing the finger at Heidi Cai, the wife of activist Bob Fu who gave Chen the iOS devices (along with other electronics).

Among the first visitors in May 2012 to the New York apartment Chen had moved into with his family after a dramatic escape from house arrest in China was Heidi Cai, the wife of activist Bob Fu. She brought an iPad and iPhone as gifts.

In examining the iPad and the iPhone, [NYU] found software that allowed a third party to secretly connect to an inbuilt global positioning system, essentially turning a device into a tracking device, said the second source. The technicians also found hidden, password-protected software that backed up the contents to a remote server, the source added.

“It’s perfectly consistent with their desire to manipulate and control the situation and know whatever confidential advice he is getting,” [NYU’s] Cohen said.

Bob Fu is of course denying the accusations, saying that it is some sort of “007 thing”.

Asked about the gadgets, Fu told Reuters that his wife had given two Apple devices to Chen shortly after the dissident had settled in New York. Fu runs a Christian group called ChinaAid that supports underground churches in China and victims of forced abortions.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of spyware,” said Fu, who was in southeast Asia when his wife delivered the devices. He called the allegations “ridiculous” and “like a 007 thing.”

“We knew that the first thing after they arrived, they’d want to call their family members, so we wanted to provide communication devices, iPhone and iPad,” Fu said by telephone from Texas.

Chen is accusing NYU of forcing him out of his fellowship due to pressure from the Chinese government which is also allowing NYU to build a campus in Shanghai. So really, everyone is a suspect.

Reuters Stories May 29, 2013

Text-selectionBack 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.  expand full story

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