August 1, 2012

Apple leads global PC shipments with 19 percent share, primarily due to the new iPad

Global client PC shipments rose 12 percent year-on-year in Q2 2012, with the new iPad recognized as the primary influence on growth rates, according to the latest data report from Canalys, who treat the iPad as a PC (and with the ability to operate without being tethered and to use external keyboards and monitors and the like, why wouldn’t you?)

Apple lead the overall charge, boosted by strong iPad sales, with an estimated 19 percent share of global PC shipments. Canalys explained: 

Growth in pads more than compensated for disappointing sales of Ultrabooks. The new iPad had the biggest single impact on growth rates in the quarter, but Asus and Samsung made progress with their Transformer and Galaxy Tab product lines. Total pad shipments increased 75% to 24 million units, representing 22% of all PCs.

“There is now a large base of replacement buyers that simply must have the latest Apple product, and the decision to continue shipping the iPad 2 at lower price points has opened up new customers, for example in education,” added Canalys Research Analyst Tom Evans.

Samsung lead as the “Android pad vendor” in Q2. It more than doubled its Galaxy Tab shipments compared to Q2 2011, and Canalys said the company is “Apple’s chief challenger” in the tablet sector.

Get the full report at Canalys.

July 31, 2012

Verizon iPhone Personal Hotspot settings (Image: TechCrunch)

Verizon was fined a measly $1.25 million today for blocking access to tethering apps mostly on the Android platform. That does not apply to most iOS users (currently), however. That is because this ruling —for now— only affects LTE 4G devices. With the next-generation iPhone, which will launch in mid-September, heavily rumored to be the first iPhone to include LTE access, this will affect those choosing to go with Verizon Wireless for their fancy new iPhone.

The ruling asserts that Verizon must not charge an additional fee for tethering on its devices—so long as they are not on the grandfathered unlimited data plans. The iPhone has included tethering support since iOS 3.0, and the feature was taken to the next level by Apple and Verizon Wireless with the launch of the Verizon iPhone 4 and the wireless Personal Hotspot feature in early 2011. The feature was soon spread to iPhone carriers globally with iOS 4.3.

Earlier this year, Apple brought the Personal Hotspot feature to its tablet with the LTE iPad. Something notable with Apple and Verizon’s agreement for the iPad is that the wireless tethering feature is included in the pre-paid data plans. If a user pays a certain amount for data, they will not have to pay anything extra to access the wireless tethering system. With the LTE iPhone, according to today’s FCC ruling, users will have the same, great experience.

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Apple and Samsung appeared in a San Jose federal court today, where U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh presides, to give opening statements starting at 9 a.m. PST.

Apple filed the first suit in this monumental case in April 2011. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company claimed Samsung infringed its patents by “slavishly copying” its iPhone. Samsung, a South Korea-based Company, promptly countersued.

This is one of the important cases to go to trial among a slew of other litigations on smartphone patents. If Apple wins, Samsung could suffer a financial blow and the ability to sell its infringing products in a large market. If Apple loses, its “thermonuclear war” against Android smartphone manufacturers could essentially wither away as Samsung collects royalty fees.

This morning’s most notable highlights are below (continually updated).

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Amazon Cloud Drive’s gets ‘scan and match’, higher bit rates, much more

A huge update today from Amazon:

Amazon Cloud Player is a service that enables customers to securely store music in the cloud and play it wherever they are on a Kindle Fire, Android phone, Android tablet, iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac, or PC. Amazon Cloud Player now has more benefits, including:

  • Faster music import for Cloud Player using scan and match technology
  • Upgrade of matched files to high-quality 256 Kbps audio
  • Delivery of future Amazon MP3 purchases directly to Cloud Player
  • Delivery of eligible past Amazon MP3 purchases to Cloud Player without having to import them
  • Ability to edit song and album information (such as title and track number), and the ability to import that information for matched files directly from Amazon’s catalog
  • Support for more music file types

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It would not be a modern political race without a couple new apps from the President and his Republican challenger, and the campaigns behind both parties are eager to spread the word with information-laced tech now that Election Day is less than 100 days away.

A new Obama for America app for iOS landed yesterday, with the Android counterpart coming soon, and it essentially provides users with facts on President Barack Obama’s policies, help for finding local events, coverage of breaking news, information for volunteering, and access to voting and registration rules by state.

Check it out: Obama for America by The Democratic Party | Free

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July 30, 2012

Judge rules Walter Isaacson notes on Steve Jobs can’t be used as evidence in price-fixing lawsuit

The plaintiffs in the massive eBook price-fixing lawsuit involving Apple and five publishers sent a subpoena in May to famed Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson. They demanded he turn in his notes that were taken while writing his biography. The notes, of course, include quotes and ideas from the late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs. The plaintiffs believed the notes could show Jobs orchestrated a cabal against Amazon, which in-turn would be used as strong evidence in the case against Apple.

Isaacson rejected to turn-in his notes as evidence. His lawyers asked the District Attorney to rid of the subpoena two-weeks ago, citing the journalist Shield law. A judge then ruled that Isaacson does not have to turn-in his notes as evidence, reported Publishers Weekly. Interestingly, Isaacson’s lawyer noted his notes and recordings do not contain any talk about eBook pricing with Jobs.

This is not the first time Isaacson’s work has been called into the courtroom. A judge recently ruled that Jobs’ thermonuclear comments, which appeared in the biography, could be used in the Motorola vs. Apple patent case. Samsung also hopes to use the quotes in its legal fight against Apple that began this week.

With the Isaacson business out the way, the case still has a long way to go. Three of the five accused publishers already settled, while Apple and others plan to fight the case. Apple issued a fiery response on the matter earlier this year: [Publishers Weekly via PaidContent]

In a related note, the Jobs bio is $15.97 today only—an all time low if you do not consider the free Audible deal.

Samsung objects to ‘gratuitous’ images of Steve Jobs in trial, prefers thermonuclear quotes instead

Samsung vehemently objected to pictures of Steve Jobs in Apple’s opening slides for today’s massive trial, but U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh struck down the objections over the weekend.

The South Korea-based smartphone manufacturer claimed the “gratuitous images have no evidentiary value,” as it filed 14 objections to Apple’s opening slides.

The company further noted, as FOSS Patents reported, if Apple is given permission to use these slides, Samsung will “request that the Court allow it to use the quotes from Mr. Jobs — which do have nonprejudicial evidentiary value — and yet were excluded by the Court’s ruling on Apple’s Motion in Limine No. 7.”

In other words, Samsung wants to use the “thermonuclear war” quotes from Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs biography” if Apple can use images of the company’s late founder. The contentious quotes from the biography were previously deemed hearsay and inadmissible in this litigation.

According to FOSS Patents, Apple explained the use of the pitcures in its responsive filing:

  • Three of the images are “from a joint exhibit – 1091 (the MacWorld 2007 video), which Samsung itself relies on in its opening demonstratives (at Samsung slide no. 148)”, so “Samsung cannot complain about Apple’s use of the same video” that shows “the public introduction of the iPhone on January 7, 2007, which launched the fame that the iPhone trade dress has acquired”. Also, “[b]ecause they demonstrate Apple’s notice of the 200+ patents covering the iPhone — including the asserted patents, they thus are relevant to willfulness”.
  • Another slide refers to an exhibition relating to Steve Jobs’s patents, which was organized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. “Among the highlighted patents at the PTO exhibit are at least two patents at issue in this litigation — the D’677 and D’889” — and Apple argues that “[t]he Patent Office exhibit demonstrates praise by others to rebut non-obviousness”.
  • The fifth image of Steve Jobs in the presentation is “a screenshot from the announcement of the iPad in July 2010” and, therefore, “relevant to the introduction of the iPad and its acquisition of fame and secondary meaning”, Apple says.

Judge Koh overruled Samsung’s objections on Sunday and said the images are “relevant to Apple’s iPhone design patent and trade dress claims and is not unduly prejudicial.”

Get the full report at FOSS Patents.

July 27, 2012

According to a 139-page 10K form filed today, Apple is acquiring a 230-employee mobile security company called “AuthenTec” for $356 million. Apple’s $8 per-share offer is at a premium of 58 percent over AuthenTec’s Thursday close of $5.07.

On July 26, 2012, AuthenTec, entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger with Apple, and Bryce Acquisition Corporation, a Delaware corporation and a wholly owned subsidiary of Parent, providing for the merger of Merger Sub into the Company, with the Company surviving the Merger as a wholly owned subsidiary of Parent. The Merger Agreement was unanimously approved by the Company’s Board of Directors.

The company owns 200 patents covering fingerprint sensors and sensor packaging, software, and end use. AuthenTec makes a variety of security tools, including a number of fingerprint scanners like the ones on the Motorola Atrix phone sold by AT&T, and it is responsible for the security behind the HBO Go app. The products range from secure networking and content and data protection to access control and fingerprint security on PCs and mobile.

Apple could use Authentec’s products in wallet applications, or just as a secure authentication mechanism for future products, which many businesses demand.

Just last week, AuthenTec entered an agreement with Samsung to implement secure VPNs for its Android hardware. (more on that at 9to5Google) Whoops.

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July 26, 2012

Former Sun employees bring Java to iOS with cross-platform SDK

Codename One is an SDK launched by former Sun employees that allow developers to create a single native mobile app for multiple platforms (iOS/Android/Windows Phone, etc.) using Java and an optional GUI builder:

“Ex-Sun employees did what Sun/Oracle failed to do since the iPhone launched. They brought Java to iOS and other mobile devices. They are getting major coverage from Forbes, DDJ,hacker news and others. They are taking a unique approach of combining a Swing-like API with a open source and SaaS based solution.”

In other Apple Java news, a recent Apple job listing is looking for a Senior Java Engineer to join the Siri Server Platform team. Candidates should have experience in Java API design and will “lead and extend the core software infrastructure, algorithms, and APIs that let Siri move, understand, plan, learn, speak, and remember.” Like most huge Server Side Applications, Siri’s backend appears to be Java-based.

Image CNET

Update: The Google Earth iOS app has now been updated to version 7.0.0 with the expected 3D imagery and Tour Guide feature.

What’s New in Version 7.0.0

• Tour guide: Explore places you never thought to search for with new tours of your favorite cities, historic landmarks and natural wonders. • 3D imagery: Take flight above entire cities in 3D. Get started with Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Geneva or Rome and look for new additions in the coming weeks. Available for iPhone 4S and iPad 2 or later.

About 12 percent of 9to5Mac readers are now on iOS 6 with Apple’s in-house 3D Maps. The larger population of iOS users, however, can only get a fix of 3D maps by heading to Google Earth, which today gets an update to 3D maps, according to CNET. The 3D maps for iOS were formerly announced at Google I/O last month, and it appears the feature will go live today.

Just like iOS Maps, the 3D stuff only works on recent hardware like the iPhone 4S and the second- and third-gen iPads. Meanwhile, 3D was enabled on Android Maps at Google I/O.

iOS users are getting those same 14 regions, including Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston and others. As Google adds more 3D cities to its database, both those platforms will get them at same time.

So just how soon will Google get some more 3D cities in its repertoire? It’s in the works says Peter Birch, a product manager on Google’s geo team.

“By the end of this year, we’re targeting getting coverage for 300 million people, and that’s really just this year,” Birch said in an interview with CNET. “We’re looking to add and expand to that.”

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July 24, 2012

AT&T just released its quarterly numbers, and the company’s smartphone sales are still completely dominated by the iPhone. The company activated 3.7 million iPhones for the quarter, which represents 73 percent of all the smartphones sold (if each is taken as a new iPhone sold – there is likely a negligible difference). Additionally, 22 percent of the new iPhones sold were to new AT&T customers.

Strong Smartphone Sales Continue. AT&T sold 5.1 million smartphones in the second quarter. Smartphones represented 77 percent of postpaid device sales. At the end of the quarter, 61.9 percent, or 43.1 million, of AT&T’s postpaid subscribers had smartphones, up from 49.9 percent, or 34.1 million, a year earlier. AT&T’s ARPU for smartphones is twice that of non-smartphone subscribers, and about 88 percent of smartphone subscribers are on FamilyTalk® or business plans. Churn levels for these subscribers are significantly lower than for other postpaid subscribers. More than one-third of AT&T’s postpaid smartphone customers use a 4G-capable device.

Android, iPhone and Windows device sales were supported by AT&T’s 4G network. Only AT&T’s 4G network lets iPhone 4S download three-times faster than any other U.S. carrier’s network. In the quarter, the company activated 3.7 million iPhones, with 22 percent new to AT&T.

The percentage would represent a slight downturn for AT&T over last quarter, where iPhone represented around 78 percent of smartphone activations with 4.3 million cumulative. The number is also up slightly over the year ago. AT&T activated 3.6 million iPhones in Q2 2011. Note: Sprint did not sell iPhones at the time.

Perhaps most interestingly, with AT&T’s Smartphone numbers at 77% and  iPhones representing 73% of that, iPhones, over a half year after launch, still represent over 55% of AT&T’s total Phone sales. AT&T is truly dependent on Apple.

We will cover Apple’s quarterly announcement later today, where we will get total device numbers across Apple’s line of products.

AT&T

July 23, 2012

Since the first credible rumors of a 7.85-inch iPad started surfacing last October, we have been trying to wrap our heads around what is coming. Beyond what is already reported, our sources haven’t had much to say…yet.

But that gives us some time for some broad Mini iPad speculation:

A 7.85-inch iPad with a 3:4 screen ratio is not the same thing as a 7-inch 16:10 Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire. For better or worse, it is much bigger. Take these drawings from @trojankitten that were popular a few weeks ago:

Better, of course, being more screen real estate. While that will not help much for video content, which is generally in the 16:9 format, web pages will look better, Maps will be bigger, and, perhaps most importantly, books will be easier to read. Worse is that it is going to be much harder to fit in your pocket. In fact, as tight as the Nexus 7 is in those skinny jeans and purses, I am going to go ahead and say this form factory will be close to impossible to fit in pants pockets. So, forget that.

So, what is this thing good for?

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July 20, 2012

Australian airline Qantas previously announced it is dropping BlackBerry in favor of Apple’s iPhone and issuing iPads to pilots, but now it is rolling out iPads to passengers to compliment a new in-flight entertainment streaming service.

Qantas is abandoning RIM due to a recently conducted employee survey that indicated airline staffers prefer Apple’s smartphone offering. CIO Paul Jones told The Sydney Morning Herald that the iPhone offers a “user-friendly interface and simple access to emails, contacts and calendars, as well as meeting all Qantas’ security requirements.”

Staff members can also carry Android devices under the airline’s bring-your-own-device policy. The move to Apple’s iPhone will save Qantas millions of dollars, as will transitioning to the iPad to replace costly paper in the cockpit, according to NewStraitTimes. The airline will dole 2,200 iPads to pilots to improve communication and cutback on printed charts and manuals. The 64Gb iPads with 3G will save the airline about $1.5 million annually.

“Transition from the BlackBerry to the iPhone is part of Qantas’ broader mobility strategy and, once complete, will result in significant cost savings,” said a Qantas spokesperson.

With the full-scale shift to iOS in progress, Qantas further announced it plans to launch QStreaming across its B767 fleet. Qantas Domestic CEO Lyell Strambi revealed customers travelling on a Qantas’ B767 aircraft would now experience “in-flight entertainment streamed direct to iPads in every seat.”

“Following the successful trial of our QStreaming service this year, we will partner with Panasonic and use their eXW solution to provide over 200 hours of on-demand IFE content via iPads to every passenger in Business and Economy travelling on our B767 fleet,” Strambi explained. “QStreaming will be available free of charge to all our passengers across the B767 fleet.

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The iPhone 4 and 4S are available as prepaid devices for as low as $399 and $499, respectively on Cricket, but now Apple is making available its iPhone 3GS on India’s Aircel for just $180 with a $55 deposit on airtime/data. This corresponds with the global market pattern that has developed over the past few months, where the iPhone 3GS is trending toward $200 unsubsidized.

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July 19, 2012

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Verizon announced its quarterly earnings today (slides), which saw the company decrease its iPhone subscribers to 2.7 million iPhones, and 45 percent of Verizon’s smartphones from the holiday quarter of 4.3-million (55 percent of Verizon’s smartphones) and last quarter of 3.2 million (50 percent of Verizon’s smartphones). The number drop is cyclical as Apple approaches a hardware refresh and will probably be down even more in the current quarter…as expected.

The year-ago quarter saw Verizon activate 2.4 million iPhones. Verizon is said to be pushing its 4G network—which gives more attention to tablets like the new iPad and Android phones as well.

Notice the pattern from previous quarters:

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July 17, 2012

A German court ruled this morning that the “popular” Android-powered tablet does not violate the patented look of Apple’s tablet. The Duesseldorf court discarded one claim by the Google-owned manufacturer, however, about the iPad’s design patent being inapplicable.

FoxBusiness explained:

  • Apple initially sued Motorola for allegedly infringing three iPad designs with the Xoom. It sought to have the device banned across Europe.
  • Although the judges ruled Motorola’s Xoom doesn’t infringe on the iPad, the court rejected a counterclaim brought by Motorola alleging the iPad’s design patent is invalid, a spokesman for the court said.
  • As the court ultimately rejected both parties’ claims, it ordered Apple to pay two-thirds of costs and Motorola to pay a third, the spokesman added.
  • […] During two hearings prior to the ruling, the presiding judge had indicated the court was leaning in Motorola’s favor. Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann said in March that the court considered the evenly bent back and shaped edges on the front of the Xoom tablet sufficient to give the product individual character.

Apple is also suing Motorola in a Mannheim court for allegedly breaching a patent on multi-touch enabled devices.

Get the full report at FoxBusiness.

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July 16, 2012

Good Deal: Sling Player iPad and iPhone app half off today at $15

From 9to5Toys.com:

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Sling Player [App Store: iPad and iPhone/iPod] is being offered today at half price: $15. That’s the first time we’ve seen a discount.

You’ll need a Slingbox Solo (best price $139.99 but seen as low as $85) or Pro (Best Price $250 but seen as low as $199) and can then stream to your iOS devices (or Blackberry/Android) over wifi or 3G/4G mobile network

July 13, 2012

Target offering $25 gift card with new iPads, $20 on iPhones. Best Buy has everything Apple on sale.

We have seen a lot of third-gen iPad deals recently in 9to5Toys offering the entry-level 16GB model, for instance, in the neighborhood of $460 to $470, approximately $30 to $40 off the normal retail price. Those deals usually go quick, but one big retailer plans to offer a similar deal this coming week. Starting July 15, Target will offer a free $25 gift card with the purchase of any iPad 2 or new iPad. The deal will last all week until July 21, and, as always, Target REDCard users can get an additional 5 percent knocked off their purchase, giving the iPad 2 an effective price of $355. New iPads will start at $450 with the discounts. Find a location with stock here.

Target will advertise the deal in its flyer this weekend, we are told, which features a number of Apple products on its cover (pictured above). Other deals include the 16GB iPhone 4S discounted slightly to $179, a free $20 gift card for the 8GB iPod touch priced at $195, and a free $10 gift card for the 8GB iPod nano at $129.

Additionally, this week Best Buy knocks a few bucks off of just about every Apple product in its catalog.

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Nielsen needs to work on its graphics (Update)

Nielsen released smartphone purchasing data yesterday that depicted Apple grabbing more than a third of the total smartphone market in the most recently surveyed month. Android was over 50 percent. That is almost 85 percent of the market together, which is a striking number (and over 90 percent in the last three months). But, you would not know it when looking at Nielsen’s graph:

RIM at 9 percent seems to have almost the same share as Apple. Windows Mobile, Windows 7, Symbian, and Palm only come up with 5.8-percent of the market, but together they have a much larger piece of the pie than Apple. Well, we did a little Photoshopping and put their portions into proportion (Again, the disparity is growing with iOS and Android now over 90 percent):

^That is an entirely different story.

July 12, 2012

NBC just unveiled two Adobe-powered mobile apps for its 2012 London Olympics coverage.

The NBC Olympics Live Companion app will act as a second display for stats and other details so users have a full bevy of data to compliment their television-watching experience. Meanwhile, the NBC Olympics Live Extra app will pipe live-streaming video to on-the-go users. It can handle multiple camera angles, social features, and the ability to seamlessly switch between both Olympics apps.

The free apps will launch on both Apple’s App Store for iOS devices and the Google Play Store for Android smartphone and tablets. They will also support “TV Everywhere” authentication with cable providers for unlimited access to all the premium content. Users simply need to login to their pay-TV subscription to tap into 3,500 hours of Olympic events.

“To make it as easy as possible, you only need to go through the sign-in once and won’t have to “re-authenticate” every time you want to watch a live event,” explained Adobe on its Digital Media Blog. “For the first time in Olympics history, mobile apps will give you the opportunity to view live broadcasts of all Olympic events in the palm of your hand.”

NBC Olympics is also using Adobe technologies to serve ads, measure and monetize content, and provide digital analytics in both apps.

This article is cross-posted on 9to5Google.

The press release is below.

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