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Businesses

Tech Breakthroughs Take a Backseat in Upcoming Apple iPhone Launch (reuters.com) 114

Stephen Nellis, reporting for Reuters: The new iPhone is expected to include new features such as high-resolution displays, wireless charging and 3-D sensors. Rather than representing major breakthroughs, however, most of the innovations have been available in competing phones for several years. Apple's relatively slow adoption of new features both reflects and reinforces the fact smartphone customers are holding onto their phones longer. Timothy Arcuri, an analyst at Cowen & Co, believes upwards of 40 percent of iPhones on the market are more than two years old, a historical high. That is a big reason why investors have driven Apple shares to an all-time high. There is pent-up demand for a new iPhone, even if it does not offer breakthrough technologies. It is not clear whether Apple deliberately held off on packing some of the new features into the current iPhone 7, which has been criticized for a lack of differentiation from its predecessor. Still, the development and roll-out of the anniversary iPhone suggest Apple's product strategy is driven less by technological innovation than by consumer upgrade cycles and Apple's own business and marketing needs.
AT&T

Apple Will Fight 'Right To Repair' Legislation (vice.com) 310

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Apple is planning to fight proposed electronics "Right to Repair" legislation being considered by the Nebraska state legislature, according to a source within the legislature who is familiar with the bill's path through the statehouse. The legislation would require Apple and other electronics manufacturers to sell repair parts to consumers and independent repair shops, and would require manufacturers to make diagnostic and service manuals available to the public. Nebraska is one of eight states that are considering right to repair bills; last month, Nebraska, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, Kansas, and Wyoming introduced legislation. Last week, lawmakers in Illinois and Tennessee officially introduced similar bills. According to the source, an Apple representative, staffer, or lobbyist will testify against the bill at a hearing in Lincoln on March 9. ATT will also argue against the bill, the source said. The source told me that at least one of the companies plans to say that consumers who repair their own phones could cause lithium batteries to catch fire. So far, Nebraska is the only state to schedule a hearing for its legislation.
Books

Apple Releases $300 Book Containing 450 Photos of Apple Products (theverge.com) 146

Apple has a reputation for releasing "revolutionary" products that carry higher price tags than competing products. Today, the company hasn't made that reputation any better as it has released a "$299 coffee table book" that contains 450 photographs of Apple products. The Verge reports: It's a hardcover edition, bound in linen, and is available in two sizes: $199 for a smaller 10.20" x 12.75" version, and $299 for a larger 13" x 16.25" edition. The book is simply titled Designed by Apple in California -- a name that somehow manages to be both humble and incredibly pretentious at the same time. The photos inside are all new images shot by Andrew Zuckerman, and will show off 20 years of Apple design "in a deliberately spare style." In a press statement, chief designer Jony Ive described the book as "a gentle gathering of many of the products the team has designed over the years," and hoped that it would serve as a "resource for students of all design disciplines." The book is published by Apple itself, and is dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs. It is, undeniably, an act of corporate vanity publishing on an impressive scale, but it's one Apple deserves to get away with more than pretty much any other tech company. No one denies that when it comes to industrial design, Apple earns the praise it gets. That aside, though, the book's publication does show a certain amount of self-interest, navel-gazing, and even arrogance from Apple -- themes that were also present in September's unveiling of the new MacBook Pros. It's all very well to feel proud of the successes of the past, but we'll be interested to see if the company can justify releasing another such book 20 years from now.
Patents

Apple Patents a Paper Bag (theguardian.com) 202

mspohr writes: Continuing its leadership in innovation, Apple has patented a paper bag. We all remember the groundbreaking "rounded corners" innovation, now we have a paper bag! Just try to make your own paper bag and you'll be speaking with Apple lawyers. (Note: In fairness to Apple, this is a "special" paper bag which is stronger due to numerous improvements on your ordinary recycled paper bag -- just don't try to copy it.) The patent application summarizes the bag as follows: "A paper bag is disclosed. The paper bag may include a bag container formed of white solid bleached sulfate paper with at least 60% post-consumer content." Apple's patented paper bags are designed to be sturdy, while remaining "both pearly white and environmentally friendly." Let's just hope they don't remove the handles...
Portables (Apple)

Apple Explores the Idea Of Killing Headphone Jack On the MacBook Pro (thenextweb.com) 495

Less than two weeks after Apple unveiled its headphone jack-less iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the company is already exploring the idea of doing the same on its flagship computing lineup. An anonymous reader shares a report on The Next Web: Apple might be going all-in with the wireless revolution as the company is now allegedly considering killing the headphone jack on the MacBook Pro. Users are reporting that as of recently Apple has been asking them to fill in a survey about the way they use their MacBook Pro and one of the questions pertains particularly to the headphone jack. Shared by Blake A. via Twitter, the question reads "Do you ever use the headphone port on your MacBook Pro with Retina display?", suggesting Apple is exploring going jackless with its laptops in the future. Given the Cupertino company just ditched the audio jack on the iPhone 7, the change is likely to eventually come to other Apple products too -- the real question is when.Several Slashdot readers have also confirmed that they have participated in a similar survey with some noting that Apple also asked them about the removable of headphone jack on some of its other computing lineup including the iMac.
DRM

Apple DRM Lawsuit Might Be Dismissed: Plaintiffs Didn't Own Affected iPods 141

UnknowingFool writes The lawsuit involving Apple and iTunes DRM may be thrown out because the plaintiffs did not own the iPods for which they are suing. The lawsuit covers iPods for the time period between September of 2006 and March of 2009. When Apple checked the serial numbers of the iPods of the plaintiffs, it appears they were not manufactured during this time. One plaintiff did purchase an iPod in 2005 and in 2010 and has withdrawn from the suit. The second plaintiff's iPod was manufactured in July 2009 but claims purchasing another iPod in 2008. Since the two plaintiffs were the only ones in the suit, the case may be dismissed for lack of standing.
DRM

10-Year-Old iTunes DRM Lawsuit Heading To Trial 246

itwbennett writes Plaintiffs in the Apple iPod iTunes antitrust litigation complain that Apple married iTunes music with iPod players, and they want $350 million in damages. The lawsuit accuses Apple of violating U.S. and California antitrust law by restricting music purchased on iTunes from being played on devices other than iPods and by not allowing iPods to play music purchased on other digital music services. Late Apple founder Steve Jobs will reportedly appear via a videotaped statement during the trial, scheduled to begin Tuesday morning in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Apple

Gabe Newell: Steam Box's Biggest Threat Isn't Consoles, It's Apple 191

silentbrad sends word of a recent lecture given by Valve's Gabe Newell to a college class. He had some interesting remarks about the future of games in the living room: "The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform," Newell said. "I think that there's a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging — I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily. The question is can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there, and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room? ... We're happy to do it if nobody else will do it, mainly because everybody else will pile on, and people will have a lot of choices, but they'll have those characteristics. They'll say, 'Well, I could buy a console, which assumes I'll re-buy all my content, have a completely different video system, and, oh, I have a completely different group of friends, apparently. Or I can just extend everything I love about the PC and the internet into the living room.' ... I think the biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together." There's another hour-long lecture from Newell posted on YouTube talking about productivity, economics, and the future of corporations. Speaking of Steam, reader skade88 points out an article at Linux.com about the current state of the Steam for Linux beta.
GUI

Apple Patents Page Turn Animation 192

An anonymous reader sends this quote from the NY Times Bits blog: "If you want to know just how broken the patent system is, just look at patent D670,713, filed by Apple and approved this week by the United States Patent Office. This design patent, titled, 'Display screen or portion thereof with animated graphical user interface,' gives Apple the exclusive rights to the page turn in an e-reader application. ... Apple argued that its patented page turn was unique in that it had a special type of animation other page-turn applications had been unable to create." The article doesn't really make it clear, but this is for the UI design of showing a page being turned, not the actual function of moving from one page to another. That said, the patent itself cites similar animations in Flash from 2004.
Android

Samsung Accuses Foreman Hogan of Misrepresentation 208

sfcrazy writes "Samsung is clearly accusing Hogan in its recent filing of influencing the jury in favor of Apple. Samsung said in its filing: 'Mr. Hogan's own statements to the media suffice if such a showing is required. Once inside the jury room, Mr. Hogan acted as a "de facto technical expert" who touted his high-tech experience to bring the divided jury together. Contrary to this Court's instructions, he told other jurors incorrectly that an accused device infringes a utility patent unless it is "entirely different"; that a prior art reference could not be invalidating unless that reference was "interchangeable"; and that invalidating prior art must be currently in use. He thus failed "to listen to the evidence, not to consider extrinsic facts, [and] to follow the judge's instructions."'"
Businesses

Samsung Hits Apple With 20% Price Increase 447

EthanV2 writes "The Wall Street Journal cites a report which quotes a 'person familiar with negotiations between the two tech giants,' apparently confirming this special price hike for Apple. The source said: 'Samsung Electronics recently asked Apple for a significant price raise in (the mobile processor known as) application processor. Apple first disapproved it, but finding no replacement supplier, it accepted the [increase].'"
Android

Samsung's Galaxy S III Steals Smartphone Crown From iPhone 348

zacharye writes "The best-selling smartphone in the world is no longer an iPhone. New data released on Thursday by market research firm Strategy Analytics finds that Samsung's Galaxy S III was the world's top-selling smartphone model in the third quarter this year, displacing Apple's iPhone for the first time in years. Samsung announced earlier this week that cumulative Galaxy S III channel sales reached the 30 million unit milestone and according to Strategy Analytics, 18 million of those were shipped in Q3 2012. During the same period, Apple shipped an estimated 16.2 million iPhone 4S handsets, slipping into the No.2 spot for the quarter..." Also at Slash Cloud.
Businesses

Sharp Warns That It Might Collapse 284

angry tapir writes "Japan's Sharp, a major supplier of LCD displays to Apple and other manufacturers, has warned that it may not survive if it can't turn around its business. The Osaka-based manufacturer said there is "material doubt" about its ability to continue operating in its earnings report filed Thursday. Sharp added, however, that it still believes it can cut costs and secure enough credit to survive. Its IGZO technology for mobile displays is likely to be a key element of its business strategy."
Cellphones

To Mollify Google on Moto Patents, Apple Proposes $1/Device Fee 582

An anonymous reader writes "Motorola feels that Apple is infringing on several FRAND patents that have to do with how every smartphone in existence connects to WiFi and cellular networks. Since Apple makes smartphones, and Google is looking to use their newly acquired Motorola as a weapon, the two companies are only a few days away from the courtroom. Apple has conceded that the Moto patents are valid by offering to pay Google/Moto $1 per device, but only going forward. Motorola wants 2.25% per device and for it to cover all Apple devices (back dated). If Motorola pursues the case and the court issues a per device rate that is higher than Apple's offer, Apple promises to pursue all possible appeals to avoid paying more than $1. Motorola could end this quickly, or watch as Apple drags this out for what could be years."

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