Hilton revolutionizes hotel experience with digital check-in, room selection and customization, and check-out across 650,000-plus rooms at more than 4,000 properties worldwide. Hilton's promotion states that they're the first hospitality company to enable room selection and customization via mobile and web-based floor plans; Company also announces that guests will be able to use their smartphone as their room key in majority of hotel rooms by 2016. The new services will be made available on a future Apple iPhone Hilton Honors app, referred to as an HHonors app. Many of these services were forecast in Apple patents going back to 2010.
Apple opened a new store in Chongqing Municipality in southwest China on Saturday, bringing the number of Apple stores in the Chinese mainland to 11. Another Apple store is expected to be opened on Aug. 2 in Wuxi in east China's Jiangxu province, about a one-hour drive from Shanghai. Apple CEO Tim Cook said last year the company will open more than 25 stores in China in the future. In other news, Foxconn's Terry Gou is pumped up over the next generation of iPhone's and is personally involved to ensure that their production lines are ready for mass production.
Samsung is obsessed with Apple. Who doesn't know that by now considering that they've lost two consecutive patent infringement trials that exposed their obsession? Samsung has become a two-faced monster. Their public face is constantly creating anti-iDevice ads in an effort to somehow convince the market that their products are vastly superior to Apple's. The other face is the real Samsung that few of their fans want to know about. Despite putting on a brave face against Apple, the facts remain that their latest smartphones are failing, that they're cutting back Galaxy S5 orders for Q3 and that management is so angry about the Galaxy S5's real world sales performance that they're punishing their executives by cutting back executive bonuses. This week we found a new patent application from Samsung for a crazy tablet pouch wherein they're prior art is Apple's Smart Cover. They can't help themselves. Their whole corporate culture is about being the next Apple, hailed for innovation that's original. This report highlights Samsung's latest tablet pouch patent in all its glory.
Apple's engineers have been exploring ways to bring a better game controller experience to future iDevices, especially the iPad. The first is the smartest approach by bringing cool backside touch controls to the iPad. The second is with an attachable gamepad accessory. This week the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Microsoft that reveals that they're thinking of introducing an Xbox-like gaming controller that could be split in two so that each half can be clipped to future Surface tablets. Bringing Xbox gaming to mobile devices with a familiar controller might be a way to boost Surface tablet sales that are slumping. So the race is on. Who'll be first to deliver their mobile gamepad solution to market? Only time will tell.
In 2012 the Nikkei Business Daily reported that Japan's Sharp Corp would supply technological know-how to Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co for a plant in China that would produce panels for Apple Inc's iPhone and other consumer electronics products. Flashing forward to today we see that a new rumor has reportedly surfaced at Taiwan's United Daily News which states that Foxconn is currently in negotiations to enter an agreement with Sharp to use their technological advantages that would help secure iPhone and iPad display orders. Whether that rumor will ever pan out in the future is unknown at this time, but what we do know is that Sharp has a new technology that will dramatically improve the brightness of LCD's that could match or better OLED technology. This could be of interest to Apple and Foxconn who would manufacture it in the future and so this report takes a quick look at this promising new technology.
Former Apple CEO John Sculley, who recently launched low-cost smartphone brand Obi in India, plans to take his products to other emerging markets next year. Scully stated that "Our aspirations are to build an international brand with India being the beachhead and to go to all of the emerging markets, learning from our experience here with differentiation around branding and marketing."
The Law Offices of Adam Wang on behalf of Plaintiff Chen Ma is bringing an action on behalf of herself and a proposed class of similarly situated individuals against Defendant Apple Inc. for their damages arising out of Apple's blunt violation of iPhone user's privacy. Ma's case points to China's Central Television (CCTV) report on July 11 concerning location services despite Apple's clear notifications of how to turn location services off. We reported on the CCTV complaint on July 11 as well as Apple's response on July 13. Is this lawsuit being blindly filed to help CCTV save face for a poor report that they brought to China's public? Only time will tell.
In 2012 Apple quietly introduced the iPad Smart Case. The new case covers iPads from front to back, but still includes the typical Smart Cover functionality found on the original iPad cover. Today, China has granted Apple four iPad Smart Cover design patents that will be protected until 2019. The design patents numbered 1400734.2M001-004 were officially registered on Tuesday and made public today.
On Wednesday we posted a report titled "An iWallet Rumor Surfaces Pointing to it debuting with iPhone 6." In that report we noted that Amir Efrati, Senior Reporter for The Information reported that "Conversations between Apple and payments-industry companies have heated up in recent months, with several people briefed on the talks saying that Apple executives have discussed launching a mobile wallet as soon as this fall for people to use their iPhones to pay for goods in physical stores." It now appears that this news emanated, to a certain degree, from a Visa press release that came to light less than 24 hours later. Visa announced the creation of Visa Digital Solutions, a comprehensive suite of offerings that facilitate secure payments across a broad range of Internet-connected devices and wearables.
Intel will launch 14nm-based Core M series processors specifically for use in fanless notebook/tablet 2-in-1 models in the fourth quarter of 2014, with many models to be exhibited at the Intel Developer Forum to take place in San Francisco September 9-11, 2014, according to supply chain makers. The one thing missing here of course – is that Apple's MacBook Air won't be invited to Intel's party.
Samsung Electronics' wireless business unit is reportedly seeing infighting between the manufacturing and purchasing departments since the manufacturing arm is gradually increasing the adoption of in-house-made components, edging out the purchasing arm's presence in the business unit, according to a Korean-language ET News report.
IDC is reporting today that the worldwide tablet grew 11.0% year over year in the second quarter of 2014 (2Q14) with shipments reaching 49.3 million units. Although shipments declined sequentially from 1Q14 by -1.5%, IDC believes the market will experience positive but slower growth in 2014 compared to the previous year. As for Apple, they remain the number one tablet vendor in the world with close to 27% market share for Q2.
Apple's Lightning connector is a proprietary power connector that was designed to replace their previous proprietary 30-pin dock connector, used to connect Apple mobile devices like iPhones, iPads and iPods to host computers and so forth. Lightning is significantly more compact and can be inserted with either side facing up. While Lightning is recognized as a connector advancement for mobile devices, the European Parliament recently ruled that Apple must use the Micro-USB Standard Port for European iDevices by 2017. Today, an Apple patent has surfaced describing a newly invented reversible USB connector with the very same convenience as Lightning. Whether Apple's invention will satisfy the EU Commission is unknown at this time - though I wouldn't count on it.
There's a reason most cheap in-ear headphones sound the way they do – they only use one driver in each ear, which limits the audio range. To get more life, more spaciousness, and more oomph out of your favorite tracks, dual-driver earbuds are the answer and Apple has offered In-Ear headphones with dual-drives for some time. A dual-driver design is also especially good for listening to high-quality audio from lossless rips, to HD videos and other high-bitrate sources. In a new patent application published today by USPTO we see Apple describing possible changes to the internal audio design as well as talk about a three-way driver for the first time. According to Apple, their new invention relates to earphones or earbuds that have multiple speaker drivers and a cross-over network.
Back in 2009 Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple TV to Take Sporting Events to a Whole New Level" which covered a sophisticated heart rate monitor and other highly advanced sporting event based monitoring sensors. The technology that Apple acquired could one day be a part of a "Body Area Network" that was introduced by Dr. Topol back in 2010. While Apple slightly tweaked this patent in 2013, we see today that Apple has submitted a continuation to this crucial patent by changing only the patent claims, in fact, all of the patent claims. Apple's first patent and claims focused on a "Personal Items Network." Apple's latest patent application published today by USPTO carrying the same title, has a new set of patent claims focused on a communication module whereby two devices could be synced together. Considering that Apple has just released their developer HealthKit that is likely to be followed by a possible new health related device this fall, Apple revisiting this patent at this time is important to note.
On July 24, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple titled "Liquid Activated Failsafe for Portable Computing Devices. Apple's invention generally relates to computing devices such as next generation MacBooks incorporating new failsafe mechanisms that are designed to prevent electrical shorts in the event that it comes in contact with any liquid.
In early 2013 we reported that Apple had recruited a former senior researcher at LG Display, Dr. Lee Jeung-jil, who was in charge of researching OLED printing technology. So it's obvious that Apple is staying on top of this technology so that they can bring this to market when the time is right. To date Apple has several OLED inventions on record (One, two and three). Apple's current invention clearly acknowledges that OLED has better contrast ratios compared to LCDs while continuing to invent supporting technologies to correct certain OLED weaknesses and/or to fine tune the technology for specific applications or devices. Today's patent application relates to processes for realizing a variable optical path length for one or more microcavities in an AMOLED display. In the shorter term, we reported earlier this week that Apple placed orders for new power reducing Oxide LCD Displays for next year's iPad Air.
There have been rumors of an improved fingerprint sensor in the works for the iPhone 6 and perhaps the next versions of the iPad of late. The rumors hinted that Apple's next batch of fingerprint sensors would be more durable than the Touch ID home button on current iPhones. Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple titled "Finger Sensor including Encapsulating Layer over Sensing Area and related Methods" that may very well support the latest rumors. According to the patent filing, the improved biometric sensor could advantageously have the ability to reduce packaging while providing mechanical robustness.
Amir Efrati, Senior Reporter for The Information is reporting today that "Conversations between Apple and payments-industry companies have heated up in recent months, with several people briefed on the talks saying that Apple executives have discussed launching a mobile wallet as soon as this fall for people to use their iPhones to pay for goods in physical stores.
Earlier this month we posted a report about Apple's iPhone 5S being the number one smartphone in the world. Yet despite its popularity, it wasn't number one in China where they were beat out by Xiaomi's Redmi smartphone model that sells for well under US$200. Out of the top ten smartphones in China, Xiaomi, Apple and Samsung took nine of them. So in China, there's a strong three-way race taking place. Today Xiaomi raised the bar well ahead of Apple's iPhone 6 in order to drive sales their way. The new Mi 4 will be competing with both Apple's 5.5 inch model and Samsung's upcoming Note 4. The pressure is now on Apple to deliver their larger iPhone on time this fall in order to at least maintain their status in the Chinese market. Our report provides you with a look at the full specifications of the new Mi 4 that Apple will be competing against in China this current quarter and into the Holiday season.
The Financial Times makes a great point in a new report today about Apple's Research and Development spending. The report notes that "Rumours, supply-chain leaks and 'sources familiar with the situation' are one thing. But earnings reports do not lie. So when Apple's third-quarter results filing revealed a 36 per cent jump in research and development spending compared with the prior year, it means that something more than just the annual iPhone refresh is coming soon."
Earlier this year Microsoft introduced their Surface 3 tablet and insisted that it was really a hybrid notebook. We reported on this in a May report titled "Microsoft's New Surface Pro 3 Thinks it's a Notebook." I was perplexed at how aggressive Panos Panay, Microsoft's Corporate VP for Surface was by insisting that the Surface 3 was better and lighter than Apple's MacBook Air. Today, news has surfaced out of Taiwan that may shed some light as to why Panay focused so hard on competing with the MacBook Air.
Apple's rumored iWatch is in the news again today. According to a new supply chain rumor, "Universal Scientific Industrial (USI), an affiliated company of Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE), has reportedly landed SiP module orders from Apple for its iWatch wearable devices."