iPhone, News/Rumors

Chinese company claims Apple copied its design for iPhone 6

A Chinese intellectual property bureau required Apple to stop the sales of its popular iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, after finding out that the Cupertino company infringed the patent right of a little-known local device maker.

Beijing Intellectual Property Office ruled that Apple and its Chinese distributor Zhongfu Telecom infringed the patent of Shenzhen-based Baili, which is suing the iPhone maker for copying the exterior design of its 100C device.

Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have minor differences from Baili’s 100C. The differences are so tiny that the average customer could not notice. So, this case falls into the patent rights protection category,” the ruling reads.

Apple didn’t comment on the matter, but  according to some reports, the Cupertino company has already filed a lawsuit calling for the ruling to be annulled. Bird and Bird partner and IP specialist Ted Chwu noted that Apple has some legal options open to it.

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Apple has a problematic relationship with the Chinese government. In April, Chinese authorities abruptly closed Apple’s iBooks Store and iTunes Movie just six months after they started in the country. There were no comments on the ban from authorities. In addition, this year the company lost exclusive rights to the “iPhone” name, and in 2012 it was required to pay out $60 million to settle a dispute over the “iPad” trademark.

Accessories, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Pokémon GO may come to iOS in July

Pokémon Go — the crazy, augmented reality Pokémon title for iOS/Android built by the team behind Ingress, will be available this July.

Nintendo announced the release window during its second-day E3 live stream, but didn’t provide a specific release date. 

Nintendo has also mentioned a piece of hardware that will allow users to play the game without using their smartphones. This device will connect to your mobile device via Bluetooth and will run $35. 

The Pokémon Company, and Niantic Labs, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto demonstrated the Pokémon GO Plus device, which is a Bluetooth wearable accessory that will let users receive alerts for nearby Pokémon without the need to check their iPhones constantly. 

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During the presentation, Miyamoto said that the GO Plus device will hit the market by the end of July, meaning players will need to launch the game during that same timeframe.

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Tsunekazu Ishihara, president and CEO of The Pokemon Company also confirmed that players won’t be able to trade Pokemon at launch, but the feature will be added sometime in the future.

Pokémon GO is currently in an ongoing Beta stage for the past few months or so in the US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

In the game, you can take the role of a trainer and travel to different places to capture pokémon and battle at gyms, which are located at notable landmarks.The gyms will be controlled by one of three groups, the Red, Blue, or Yellow team. Players can control gyms by battling their own pokémon, and joining others in the real world increases your chances to win. The game features hundreds of Pokémon to discover through exploring and evolution. 

iPhone, News/Rumors

Bluetooth 5 with 4x speed and better range to be announced on June 16

Bluetooth Special Interest Group has revealed that its next generation of Bluetooth standard, Bluetooth 5, will be officially announced on June 16.

Executive director of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, Mark Powell, shared the news in a published message sent to UK health and monitoring company Blue Maestro. The SIG, which works with such giants like Apple, Intel, and Microsoft, will officially lift the lid on Bluetooth 5 on June 16th in London.

Bluetooth 5 is promised to be an important upgrade over the current version of the wireless standard, offering double the range and quadruple the speed of the current low-energy wireless protocol.

Bluetooth 5  is expected to add “significantly more capacity” for advertising transmissions and provide significant new functionality for connectionless services like location-relevant information and navigation.

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There are no details on if the new Bluetooth will come to existing devices as a firmware update or need new hardware. Earlier, Bluetooth 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 items were not upgradeable to newer versions of the standard, but Bluetooth 4.0 devices could be upgraded to Bluetooth 4.1 via software patches. 

Last year, the Cupertino company quietly added Bluetooth 4.2 support to such devices like  iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPad Air 2, offering 2.5x faster speeds and up to ten times higher data capacity to the devices.

News/Rumors

Apple hiring wireless power engineers from uBeam

Multiple reports indicate that Apple has hired two engineers with an expertise in wireless charging from uBeam.

A report from The Verge reveals that the iPhone maker has recently hired Jonathan Bolus and Andrew Joyce, two engineers who formerly worked at uBeam, a startup that specializes in wireless charging technology.

UBeam is developing wireless energy from ultrasound, using high-frequency sound to power devices. The company’s technology utilizes a high frequency transmitter that emits inaudible ultrasonic sound through the air. The highly focused beam then targets receivers actively requesting power.

“Like a microphone, the receiver picks up the sound and converts it into usable electrical energy using our proprietary energy-harvesting technology,” says uBeam.

However, the company has recently been the subject of controversy as one former engineer criticized its technology in a blog post, noting it doesn’t work as promised.

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Earlier this year Bloomberg reported that Apple was planning to add wireless charging to the new iPhone it releases in 2017. The Cupertino company desires to implement a much more advanced technology that could allow users to walk around a room and have their device charging the entire time.

Apple isn’t a newcomer to wireless charging and has filed patents in the past, according to which, phones would be charged wirelessly up to three feet.

News/Rumors

Apple invests $1B in Chinese ride sharing service Didi Chuxing

Apple is investing $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing.

The step is a strategic investment that will help the Cupertino company better understand the Chinese market, CEO Tim Cook said to Reuters.

“We are making the investment for a number of strategic reasons, including a chance to learn more about certain segments of the China market,” Cook said. “Of course, we believe it will deliver a strong return for our invested capital over time as well.”

Didi currently provides different transportation services in the country, including taxi and private car hailing, designated drivers and peer-to-peer products like ride-sharing. Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal revealed the Chinese company was planning to raise a total of $1 billion from investors in a bid to compete against global ride sharing technology powerhouse Uber.

Didi currently controls China, facilitating more than 11 million rides each day. The firm rely on apps as a key mode of connecting passengers with drivers.

“That is what we do today in the car business, so we will have to see what the future holds,” Apple’s CEO, referring to Apple’s CarPlay infotainment platform.

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Didi Chuxing claimed that the investment by Apple is the single largest investment it has ever got. The firm also added that it now holds more than 87 percent of the private ride-hailing market in China.

Apple is rumored to be developing  an electric car under its Project Titan initiative. The iPbone maker is also working to revitalize itself in China.

News/Rumors

Foxconn reportedly deals to open $10 billion iPhone manufacturing plant in India

According to a new report from The Economic Times of India, Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn is close to signing a deal with the Indian government to open an iPhone manufacturing plant in the country.

Foxconn is reportedly interested in 1,200 acres of land in Maharashtra, India. The manufacturing plant built on this land plot will reportedly focus mainly on iPhone manufacturing and would cost $10 billion.

Foxconn is reportedly planning to open 10 to 12 manufacturing plants in India by 2020. The firm previously manufactured Nokia products in India, but stopped production after losing Nokia as a client in 2014.

The iPhone maker has also been working to open Apple Stores in India, a step that would help to increase brand visibility and provide buyers first-party purchasing and service options.

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India has been very strict when foreign firms want to open retail stores in the country, but the government has been loosing up on those regulations over the past year. Apple has reportedly been given approval to open retail stores in the country thanks to its “cutting edge technology,” although the government did reject its plan to sell used devices.

Additionally, Apple is also planning to open a development center in Hyderabad, India. Work is expected to involve 150 employees, although 4,500 people will be employed during the construction process.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple Music introduces student membership subscription at 50% discount, $4.99 per month

Apple is today introducing an Apple Music student plan that allows students to subscribe to Apple Music for $4.99 per month. This discount is available for those who are enrolled in an eligible college or university. 

The offering will be accessible today in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and more countries. Prices may differ from region to region but the discount should be around 50% of the normal Apple Music price.

The new plan lets any academic student in the United States get an individual Apple Music membership for $4.99 a month, rather than pay the standard $9.99 subscription rate.

The student discount can be used for up to four continuous or non-continuous years after sign-up, so students can take gap years or breaks between semesters and still sign up again when they return to study. Moreover, the plan is offered to all students of all ages, regardless of degree. 

To qualify, students must be members of any eligible university or college.  Apple has cooperated with UNiDAYs to verify those who sign up to the student plan are legitimate students attending a school.

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The company stated it has reached 13 million paying Apple Music subscribers as of last week. Apple’s music service is also reported to get a significant design overhaul with iOS 10  with an emphasis on black and white backgrounds and text as well as more of a focus on album art.

In addition, the “New” tab in Apple Music will be replaced with a “Browse” option with improved organizational tools for finding new content, and the company will ask users to use a simplified “For You” category. The new Apple Music app is expected to launch at WWDC in iOS 10 and will be introduced through an iTunes update on the Mac.

iPhone, News/Rumors

TIME: Apple’s iPhone is most influential gadget of all time

TIME Magazine published its list of the 50 most influential gadgets of all time and Apple’s iPhone sits in the No. 1 spot.

The magazine reported that the iPhone is the most influential gadget of all time because of it “fundamentally changed our relationship to computing and information.”

“The iPhone popularized the mobile app, forever changing how we communicate, play games, shop, work, and complete many everyday tasks,” TIME says, noting that iPhone marked a fundamental shift in computing. 

Meantime, Apple’s products appear on the list more than once. The company’s original Macintosh and iPod also made the top 10, coming in at No. 3 and No. 9, respectively. 

The Macintosh appears in the list thanks to its graphical interface, user-friendly mouse, and “overall friendly design.” “It forever set the standard for the way human beings interact with computers,” TIME reports.

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Apple’s iPad sits at No. 25 and iBook at No. 38. TIME praises iBook for being the first laptop to offer WiFi:

“The iBook’s brightly-colored, plastic trim may look dated now, but it was the first laptop to offer wireless networking.”

Sony took two top-5 spots with the No. 2 Trinitron television set and No. 4 Walkman, a gadget on which iPod iterated.

News/Rumors

FBI reportedly paid less than $1 million to unlock San Bernardino iPhone

A new report claims the U.S. Federal Bureau of investigation paid less than $1 million for the tool it used to unlock the San Bernardino gunman’s iPhone 5c.

The FBI had to go through a third-party to gain access, as Apple refused to create a tool to do it. They now will be reportedly able to apply the technique to unlock other iPhone 5C models running iOS 9 without additional payment to the contractor who gave it.

However, even Comey doesn’t know who his agency contracted for the job.

It was first rummored that the FBI spent at least $1.3 million to get access to the device, as FBI director James Comey announced it cost “more than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months.”

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently examining the contents of the device attempting to find information to fill gaps in their investigation of the shooting last December which killed 14 people and wounded 22, two U.S. government sources. Investigators are trying to find out if shooters Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, had associates or co-conspirators.

The FBI and the iPhone maker once again faced off in Congress last week to discuss encryption.

iPhone, News/Rumors

Apple may release iPhone with glass casing and AMOLED Screen in 2017

Apple will reportedly switch to non-aluminum casing, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed.

He noted some Apple’s competitors now offer smartphones with aluminum casings, and he believes next year’s iPhone will be provided with a glass back to stand out from the competition.

In a new report, Kuo said, that the iPhone will receive a major redesign in 2017, returning to the glass chassis. The company already adopts OLED technology in the wearable Apple Watch, but its iPhone lineup has relied on LCD technology since it first released in 2007.

“Apple already uses glass casing for iPhone 4/ 4S, and non-Apple brands have also been using glass casings. We therefore think a drop test will not be problematic for glass casing. A glass casing may be slightly heavier than an aluminum one of the same thickness, but the difference is so small that the use of the thinner and lighter AMOLED panel will compensate for that.”

Kuo suggests, a new AMOLED display panel will be thinner and lighter to compensate for the slight weight increase of glass compared with metal exteriors. Last week, the company reportedly reached a $2.6 billion agreement with Samsung to supply OLED panels for iPhone displays.

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A number of sources have already stated that Apple will introduce an OLED-based iPhone as early as 2017, with possible suppliers eventually including Samsung, LG Display, AU Optronics, Japan Display, Foxconn-owned Sharp, and others.