Archive for December 28th, 2011
The United States Patent and Trademark Office published on Tuesday that Apple won a core multitouch patent that describes how touch events are recognized by a touchscreen device. The patent blog Patently Apple also noted that this patent was one of the "200+ Patents for new inventions" Jobs lauded when the iPhone first debuted in 2007.
The newly granted patent focuses on the oscillator signal and circuit of a touchscreen-equipped device, an integral invention directly related to how users interact with their multitouch products.
Apple states in the filing: "In general, multi-touch panels may be able to detect multiple touches (touch events or contact points) that occur at or about the same time, and identify and track their locations."
One way to record multiple touches is to generate an oscillating signal circuit that can power and clock inputs over a substrate as in a capacitive touchscreen display. But it is difficult to create a precise circuit-based oscillator. According to Apple's patent, the solution to capacitive touchscreen problem is to calibration logic circuitry which compares the signal oscillation against a reference signal and tunes the clock frequency accordingly. The invention provides for an accurate capacitive display that can not only sense multiple touches, but also detect hover or near touches which are also recognized as "touch events."
Early this month the rumors suggested that Intel’s next-generation Ivy Bridge processors would launch in May. Theses mobile processors are expected to be used in Mac mini, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lines.
Recently Facebook introduced a new functionality for profiles called Timeline, which, as shown on the company’s promotional video above, places all you interactions, photos, status updates and more on a timeline starting from the opening of your Facebook account.
In the first 20 days of December, mobile device activations tracked by analytics firm Flurry were around 1.5 million each day. As for December 25, it indicated that devices running Apple's iOS and Google's Android platforms saw a huge spike in activations, growing 353 percent from average totals earlier in December. The previous record tracked by Flurry belongs to Christmas Day in 2010. On December 25, 2010 the users activated 2.8 million devices.
Flurry's statistics come from the company's analytics software, which is found in more than 140,000 applications. Peter Farago, vice president of marketing with Flurry, claimed that his company's statistics detect "roughly" 100 percent of new iOS and Android devices activated each day. Application downloads on both iOS and Android also grew by 125 percent on Christmas Day, reaching 242 million. For the first 20 days of December, downloads averaged 108 million.
Flurry expects that by the end of the year 2011 Apple's App Store will exceed 10 billion application downloads. Moreover, iOS applications rake in 300 percent more revenue than their Android counterparts. During Apple’s last quarterly earnings conference call Apple has not revealed daily iOS activations in over a year, but announced that more than 250 million iOS devices had been sold during the quarter.
Reuters reports that Apple has been fined 900,000 euros, or $1.2 million, in Italy in response to complaints of "unfair commercial practices" related to product warranty disclosures. Apple sold its products with a standard one-year warranty. The customers had an option to buy a second year through AppleCare, but local laws require companies to protect buyers with a free two-year warranty.
According to the report, Italy's antitrust regulators ruled that Apple has not been providing adequate disclosures about the two free years of product warranty assistance required under Italian law that is why Apple was fined 400,000 euros for not providing adequate information to customers about the length of product guarantees, and another 500,000 euros stemmed from Apple not giving customers enough information about its AppleCare extended warranty.
The authority said Apple Sales International, Apple Italia and Apple Retail Italia did not properly inform customers that they were entitled to two years of free assistance under Italian law. Three Apple spokesmen contacted by Reuters weren't immediately available for comment.
Information provided about an extra guarantee scheme, the "AppleCare Protection Plan," encouraged customers to buy the service without clearly explaining that it overlapped with the free assistance required by law, the competition authority said.
The Argentinean government has temporarily blocked sales of certain electronics including Apple's iPhone and RIM's BlackBerry. Such measures were attempted in order to stabilize the country's ailing economy, to slow rising inflation and correct the disparity between the pesos and U.S. dollar, while suggesting that companies must build plants in the country to resume sales.
In order to continue smartphone sales in Argentina, Apple must build a plant or partner with a local company to manufacture the iPhone. RIM is reportedly looking to partner with an existing plant so that it can continue sales in the region. Other handset makers like Motorola, Nokia and Samsung have already moved or built plants in Argentina's Tierra del Fuego free zone after the government passed the Internal Revenue Law of 2009, which added a 20.48 percent tax to the existing 21 percent VAT for certain imported electronic devices.
According to Argentinean site Fortunaweb, iPhone and BlackBerry sales comprised 60 percent of the total market in October. And to strengthen the Argentinean economy, the government made decision to support local manufactures, banning some electronics manufactures from sales in this country. The Economist reported in December article that "a slowing year-to-year GDP blamed on decreased demand for agricultural commodities and huge government subsidies have caused the country to enact tighter controls on capital flight".
China's People's Daily reported this week that Apple had met all of the requirements for the iPhone 4S to launch in mainland China, and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology granted China Compulsory Certification for the iPhone 4S on December 22. The report claims that the handset will be launched in mainland China before the Chinese New Year that takes place on Monday, January 23, 2012.
Filings with the Chinese government show a WCDMA phone manufactured by Apple was granted approval. Though it does not specifically reveal that the device is the iPhone 4S, it is listed as model number A1431, which is the same number Apple used to obtain a network entry permit for the iPhone 4S. The approval process and anticipated release of the iPhone 4S has dragged out in China as Apple has quickly launched its latest smartphone in other major markets around the world. It's been the fastest rollout ever for a new iPhone model.
Some regional branches of China Unicom have already started taking preorders for the iPhone 4S in anticipation of the device’s launch. Moreover, Siri, Apple's voice-controlled personal assistant application, is rumored to gain support for Mandarin by March of 2012 that will obviously drive sales of the iPhone 4S in China.
BGR claims that Apple is planning to launch a completely redesigned iPhone in the fall of next year. The new iPhone will haven an aluminum back panel rather than the glass one with the incorporation of a rubber or plastic bezel covering similar to that used on Apple's iPhone bumpers. The device’s antennas will be also covered with some protective bezel to avoid direct skin contact.
We have also learned that Apple is planning to use a rubber or plastic material — similar to the material used in the company’s bumper cases — that will be built into the new iPhone case. In all likelihood, this material will be used as a bezel surrounding the front edge of the phone (like the iPhone 3GS bezel) and it will serve two purposes. First, it will join the glass iPhone face with a new aluminum back plate. It will also cover a redesigned antenna system that surrounds the device, allowing Apple to build the rear case out of aluminum without having to use a large plastic insert above the antennas as the company does on its iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G.