App Annie is a business intelligence company and analyst firm, co-headquartered in Beijing, China and San Francisco, USA. It produces a range of business intelligence tools and market reports for the apps and digital goods industry. Today, App Annie posted a brief report on the Apple – IBM partnership. They reflected back to Apple's Q3 2014 earnings call on July 22 and the prior announcement of the partnership with IBM on July 15 in an effort to create more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions. Some of these included native apps developed exclusively from the ground up for iPhone and iPad. During the earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook repeatedly emphasized the importance of enterprise apps.
Apple Files Inventions Regarding In-App Programs, Fingerprint Scanning Enrollment and Two that Support the Disabled
Only a few Apple inventions per week out of dozens filed present fresh ideas of things to come. Today we published an interesting one about future iWallet security features. Beyond this main invention, we noticed a few other inventions that might interest a few Apple fans. In March Apple was sued in a class action lawsuit by the blind and we pointed out how Apple has done more for the disabled than any other tech company. Then a report in July surfaced about how the disabled wanted Apple to do more for them. Today, two new inventions have come to light that will assist the disabled in different ways at some point in the future on both iDevices and Macs. Another hot topic of late has been the EU's blind attack on Apple regarding In-App transactions. Today a new patent application surfaces that covers the inner workings of Apple's In-App program. And lastly, another invention was published today covering more about Apple's Touch ID fingerprint enrollment feature.
On July 31, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals new security control features for their future iWallet application. The new security system will work with an iPhone and Apple's iTunes Store on a Mac. The controls will allow parents to set boundaries for spending and track all purchases. Apple's patent also introduces us to the digital wallet processing engine. Last week a new rumor surfaced that discussed Apple's iWallet working with Visa's Digital Solutions sometime in the next year. Whether Apple's iWallet will make it to the iPhone 6 is unknown at this time.
Samsung Reports Mobile Division Profits Fell 30% while Hinting of an All-New Type of Smartphone Coming this Fall
We reported on July 8 that "Samsung Profits Plummet 24% on Slow Smartphone Sales." The numbers were based on preliminary estimates of what was to be announced later in the month. A report that we posted yesterday presented Samsung's decline in smartphone market share in Q2. Today, Samsung's official Q2 financial results were announced in Korea and it was actually worse than expected. Samsung said its net profit fell for the first time in nearly three years in the second quarter on weaker-than-expected smartphone sales.
According to a new Korean report, Samsung Electronics will be unveiling its new phablet ― the Galaxy Note 4 in Berlin on September third. The executives at Samsung's top-tier suppliers further noted that Samsung is apparently looking to rush the Galaxy Note 4 out the door in an effort to combat Apple's next generation iPhone 6 which is to debut later that month.
The Westboro Baptist Church, an insane cult that is widely described as a 'hate group', will picket Apple's headquarters on August 12th from 1:15 – 1:45 PM, reports iClarified. Westboro Baptist Church often protests military and celebrity funerals as well as public events because of people's tolerance to homosexuality.
Patently Mobile, our other IP blog, covered a very important Samsung patent application this past June regarding the future of their smartwatch development in a report titled "Samsung Reveals New Circular Interface Smartwatch with Rotating Ring Controller, 3 Gesture Levels, new Charger & More." It was a meaty patent filing that you could really sink your teeth into and get a real feel for where Samsung wants to go with their smartwatch. Yesterday, the US Patent and Trademark Office published four new smartwatch related design patents from Samsung that directly supports their in-depth patent filing. It appears that Samsung is clearly open to altering their Gear interface design should Google's Android Wear watch design prove to be more popular than theirs in the coming year. I also chuckled thinking that Samsung probably wanted to make sure that they had at least one distinct smartwatch design patent on record that was defined with "rounded corners" – just in case their smartwatch design is ever challenged by those in Cupertino.
Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly sat down with Walt Mossberg today. One of the top topics on the table was tablets. He noted that "the tablets boomed and now are crashing. The volume has really gone down in the last several months." Yet on a positive note, Best Buy's CEO thinks that the laptop has something of a revival because it's becoming more versatile. "So, with the two-in-ones, you have the opportunity to have both a tablet and laptop, and that's appealing to students in particular. So you have an evolution. The boundaries are not as well defined as they used to be."
On July 11, we posted a report titled "China's CCTV Raises NSA Fear Tactics against Apple's iPhone." We posted a follow up report days later covering Apple's official response to the allegations. According to a new report, "Russia has proposed that Apple and SAP hand the government access to their source code to make sure their widely used products are not tools for spying on state institutions."
We reported on July 16 that Apple had signed up with a new supplier which has already solved the battery design bottleneck for Apple's larger 5.5 inch iPhone 6. The supplier who provided Apple with a flexible battery solution was Simplo. Today we've learned that Apple's largest OEM Foxconn is now planning to enter the battery business in an effort to gain more contracts from Apple.
It's being reported today that South Korea's tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. saw its market share in the smartphone industry plunge in the second quarter from a year earlier, data showed Wednesday, dented by the rise of Chinese players vying with low-end models.
On June 24 we posted a report titled "Bringing ABC's Live News to Apple TV is a Monumental Move." In that report we noted that the introduction of "live" news with ABC could have been the the end of the buzz or just the very beginning of something much bigger to come. We asked the question: "Will other 'live' news channels be coming to Apple TV like CNN, MSNBC and others?" Well, today Apple answered that question by adding CNBC and Fox Now channels to Apple TV. The steady addition of new channels, and especially live channels, could be leading to a larger Apple TV announcement later this fall.
Today, Apple updated their MacBook Pro with Retina display lineup with faster processors, double the memory in both entry-level configurations, and a new, lower starting price for the top-of-the-line 15-inch notebook. MacBook Pro with Retina display features a stunning high-resolution display, an amazing design just 0.71-inches thin, the latest processors and powerful graphics, and up to nine hours of battery life, delivering unbelievable performance in an incredibly portable design. Apple today also lowered the starting price of the non-Retina 13-inch MacBook Pro, a very popular system with Windows switchers, by $100 to $1,099. (Click the images above to enlarge).
Apple was Granted 33 Patents Today Covering the iPad Case's Fiber Composite Structure, Security & More
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 33 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover granted patents relating to security, the iPad Case's fiber composite structure, five design patents and wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 33 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's invention relating to an aesthetically pleasing universal dock that has the ability to support a wide variety of iPod and iPhone sizes.
Apple Granted a Surprising Patent for an Advanced Multi-View Video Conferencing System for the Enterprise
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 33 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover an invention that relates to an advanced video conferencing system that includes a multi-view camera system that employs scalable video encoding. On July 15 we posted a report titled "A New Landmark Partnership between Apple and IBM is about to transform the Way Work gets done." Apple's surprising video conferencing system is to compete with Microsoft's Round Table Conferencing device and it's a system that Apple might be able to get IBM to promote in the enterprise.
On July 29, 2014, the US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 33 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover a granted a patent relating to a possible future e-book that provides two displays. One display is on the front of the device and the second is on the backside. The content of either side of the device is only active when it's facing the user.
Following the launch of the OS X Yosemite public beta on July 24, 2014, North American Web traffic data show associated usage rates rising significantly. Pre-release figures hovered between 0.2% and 0.3% before promptly jumping to more than 0.6% on July 25.
Hilton Introduces Revolutionary Digital Services that include opening your Room Door with an iPhone App
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 opens a new Store in China while Foxconn's Terry Gou is Personally Overseeing the Preparation of iPhone Production
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. Report Update August 13, 2014: new photos of the Samsung Tablet Cover are now presented.
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.
It's being reported today that Apple is expected to become the largest client for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) as the Taiwan-based foundry house has begun to ramp up production of A8 processors and is likely to continue to fabricate the vendor's A9 CPUs in 2015.
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.