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June 2013

Apple Invents New System to Strengthen Thin Glass for iDevices

1 - Cover - Apple EU patent on strengthening glass
Patently Apple has discovered a new patent application in Europe that's quite fascinating. Many assume that Apple is using Corning's Gorilla glass for the iPhone 5 but Apple's latest patent puts that into question to a certain degree. Especially in light of Apple's use of thinner In-Cell glass, Apple may have used a new process for strengthening their thinner glass. The patent doesn't confirm if the patent pending process was used in the manufacture of the current iPhone 5 or is one destined for future iDevices. But it's abundantly clear that Apple has a new process for strengthening thin glass that involves the use of a very sophisticated "Glass Ion Exchange Bath" system. While those who love Apple products can feel the magic of using their iDevices, most will never know the depth and lengths that Apple will go to get a product just right. Apple's latest patent is proof of Apple's dedication to excellence.

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Rumor: Apple Plans to Diversify the Size & Variety of iPads

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In Asia, following supply chain players carefully seems to be the hottest trend in tech reporting. At times, reading about these leaks provides us with a glimpse of possible new product trends in the pipeline or supplier shifts that could affect the market in one way or another. In today's rumor report we cover an off-beat observation made by Korea's IT News filed late yesterday. 

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Apple Files for New Trademark Covering FaceTime Logo/Icon

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Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple's latest trademark filing for their redesigned "FaceTime" logo. Apple originally filed for the new design earlier in the week. Due to Apple's redesigned iOS 7 UI going flat, many icons will have to be updated with the US Patent and Trademark Office in the coming months.

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Apple Granted 8 Apple Store Design Patents in Hong Kong

1. Cover - Apple Granted 8 Design Patents in Hong Kong for Apple Store Fixtures
Late on Friday, the Hong Kong IP Office granted Apple eight new design patents. All of the eight designs relate to the Apple Store and/or Apple's In-Store displays and cabinetry found in retail stores such as Best Buy, Future Shop and others worldwide. Noteworthy are two of the tabletop stand-designs that are aimed for Apple Stores. They appear to present a new design. The new stands are designed to be viewed in portrait mode rather than the traditional landscape mode. Additionally, the tabletop stands contain new distinct slots that appear at the bottom and/or top of the new designs depending upon the model chosen.

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Half of all tablets are sold in the US with the iPad at Number One

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According to new market research from ABI, more than 39 million tablets shipped worldwide during the first calendar quarter of 2013. That represents the second largest volume of shipments to date; only bested by the previous quarter ending calendar year 2012. The spending power of the largest three world regions is continuing to drive market growth.

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Logic Devices Alleges that Apple's iOS infringes their Patent

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Logic Devices, who has provided high performance application-specific circuits for industrial and defense systems for nearly 30 years, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. The patent infringement lawsuit concerns Apple's iOS and more.

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Samsung Experimenting with IPS LCD Displays for Note III

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The color on the iPhone's IPS LCD Retina display is sharp, crisp and bright. Samsung's S4 display may be bigger, but AMOLED displays in general can't match the quality of Apple's Retina. Apple's CEO Tim Cook recently described the color saturation of OLED as being awful. Some may argue pixel counts are higher on some Android phones, but Apple re-engineered the pixel to accurately fit in four times the density of color in the same space. So pixel counts don't tell the full story. The interesting thing that we learned today is that Samsung may be experimenting with an IPS LCD display for a portion of their next generation Note III smartphone lineup.

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Samsung loves it! The Smartphone Market is entering a Price Phase away from Innovation and Value, Cites ABI

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ABI Research reports today that the average US implied subsidy for Samsung devices is 84% as compared to Apple 74% and HTC 80%, although absolute value of subsidy is $110 higher for the average Apple product. OEMs and their carrier partners increasingly have to continue to employ highly tactical methods to make sure that their devices are subsidized to a competitive price point in order to help prevent consumers acting to avoid their product on price point alone.

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Motion Tracking Coming to iOS 7 looks a Little Gimmicky

1. Cover - Head Tracking for iOS 7
Apple received a Granted Patent relating to a user interface that uses motion tracking back in 2012. They've been working on this since 2009. In some circles, this is considered a head tracking user interface.
According to Apple's patent, the technology takes advantage of Apple's built-in iSight camera through a process described in the patent in which the camera sets your face up as a profile that replaces the mouse and obviously touch in iDevices. It now appears that Apple is finalizing this technology for use in iOS 7 according to Scott Buscemi reporting for Mac 9to5.

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Apple Invents New Combo-Port for MacBooks & iDevices to accommodate an SD Card + USB and/or Lightning Connector

1. Cover - New Combo port - SD Memory Card + Lightning and or USB

On June 27, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a key new combination input port. The new port will save on space as the MacBook Air continues to get thinner. But where the invention really gets interesting is when the combination port could be used in Apple's hot iPhone and iPad designs. Until Apple launches their iPad Mini with Retina, I bought my wife an 8GB HP Slate the other day and purchased a 32 GB SD Data Card. The first thought that came to mind was why doesn't Apple provide this option? Today we know why. Apple's Jony Ive will be able to design his future iDevice magic without having to take up space for an SD Card Slot. That's Apple, the innovator – dong what they do best: Create cool devices with features that drive the copycat competition crazy.

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Apple Introduces New Features in iTunes Radio Patent

1. Cover - Apple Patent for iTunres Radio

On June 10, 2013 Apple introduced a peek at iOS 7 and one of the highlighted features was their new iTunes Radio service. Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals that they've been seriously working on this project since December 2011 – though there's evidence dating the project back to at least 2010. Revelations found in our report today cover such matters as dynamic playlists, a user feedback system, an easy drag and drop feature to readjust playlists quickly and more including eight detailed patent figures clarifying many of the noted features.

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Apple to Add Third Supplier for iPad mini Production & More

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Apple has visited factories of Taiwan-based ODM Wistron and has qualified Wistron for OEM production of iPad mini, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers. Since Apple has released iPad mini orders to Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) and Pegatron in 2013, Wistron may begin production in 2014 or 2015 at the earliest.

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Apple Lightning is now a Registered Trademark

1. Cover - Apple Lightning now a RTM - June 26, 2013

On June 26, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple's latest registered trademark for "Apple Lightning" under registration number 4,359,316. Apple first introduced their new Lightning connector during the introduction of the iPhone 5 in September 2012. Lightning is an all-digital eight-pin connector (with the metal shell serving as a ninth conductor, for ground) that can, unlike the 30-pin dock connector, Micro USB, or most other similar connectors, be inserted into the device with either side facing up. Apple originally filed for their trademark on September 11, 2012.

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Curiously, Foxconn's Coming HDTV will include a Set Top Box

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A new Asian report published late yesterday stated that the Foxconn Technology Group showed off a brilliant 70-inch 4k2k LCD HDTV along with other 40 and 60 inch models last week at a Taiwan based display tradeshow. The twist to this story that happened to catch my eye was that each HDTV will be shipping with a set-top-box.

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A New Study Shows that Apple's iOS holds a Staggering Stranglehold on Smartphone and Tablet App Profits

1. Cover - Apple's iOS a Vastly Superior Value for Developers

During Apple's successful World Wide Developer Conference held earlier this month in San Francisco, Apple's CEO Tim Cook pounded home statistics proving that iOS is an incredible profit generating machine for developers. To back that fact up even further, a new report published by ABI Research today projects that the mobile app market will be valued at $27 billion in 2013 and that Apple's iOS is by far the leading OS in terms of profit. The stats claimed by ABI are staggering in stark contrast to reports that Android is the number one OS. In volume, Android may very well be the leading operating system in the world – but if you're a developer, Apple's iOS is the only game in town that will deliver home the profits needed to get ahead in this business. The statistical game of "Volume" is nothing more than a marketing shell game if it can't make developers money.

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The War against Patent Trolls has Just Begun

1a. Cover - The war against patent trolls has just begun

We first reported on patent trolls about a year ago in a report titled "Patent Trolls have the Smartphone Industry in a State of Emergency," which covered an important study from the Boston University School of Law. The study found that "patent trolls" or "non-practicing entities (NPEs) cost the U.S. software and hardware companies US$29 billion in 2011. In May Apple's CEO Tim Cook pushed the patent troll issue with President Obama who has since called upon Congress to further assist US tech companies against this threat. Yesterday, one of the first blows against the patent troll industry were delivered.

 

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In May, Apple's iPad extended its Web Traffic Leadership

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In the three years since Apple's iPad became the first modern web tablet available in the US, the tablet market has continued a steady growth. Tablets have worked themselves into both our daily and workplace lives, and the iPad in particular remains the king of this personal computer segment. New stats that were just released by Chitika actually show that the iPad increased its lead in web traffic for tablets for the month of May by more than a full percentage point. 

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Apple Granted 35 Patents Covering a Revolutionary MacBook Concept, 3D Trackpad, Mysterious Icon Design & More

1. Cover - Notebook with transparent work area & 3D Trackpad

The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 35 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our summary report we specifically cover a revolutionary MacBook concept patent from Apple which also covers an advanced 3D trackpad for future CAD and/or gaming applications. Apple was also granted three new design patents today covering a never before seen icon.

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Trends Show PC & Tablet Markets in for a Rocky Ride

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Worldwide devices (the combined shipments of PCs, tablets and mobile phones) are projected to reach a whopping 2.35 billion units in 2013, a 5.9 percent increase from 2012, according to Gartner, Inc. The market is being driven by sales in tablets, smartphones, and to a lesser extent, ultramobiles, as PC shipments are on the decline at the moment. Our report covers more of Gartner's industry stats while questioning their position on the coming wave of hybrid notebook-tablets.

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How Embarrassing: Samsung's New "One 5" Desktop is DOA

1. Cover - Samsung Get's out of Desktop Market

On June 20, 2013 Samsung introduced their all-new all-in-one desktop called the One5 as noted in our cover graphic. In less than a week the Korean press is now reporting that it's dead on arrival. Samsung, who didn't' make the top five PC brands sold in the US in 2012 have officially called it quits for the desktop market. Samsung's desktop computers were never able to gain any traction in North America and they recently complained about Windows 8 not driving sales. In less than a week Samsung has gone from being excited about the desktop PC to dumping it. How embarrassing.

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TSMC Lands 3 Year Contract with Apple for A8 Chips & Beyond

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Industry sources have claimed today that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and its Integrated Circuit Design service partner Global UniChip have secured a three-year agreement with Apple to supply foundry services for the next A-series chips built using 20nm, 16nm and 10nm process nodes. This confirms our May report.

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Apple wins new Design Patents while Huawei Follows Apple's Hardware Philosophy

1. Cover - Apple wins 4 design patents + Huawei ...

Apple's iPad mini is a hot product that launched with a new tri-fold Smart Cover design back in Q4 2012. On Friday, the Hong Kong IP Office officially granted Apple four distinct design patents covering the iPad mini Smart Cover. On another front, Huawei is saying that Apple is slipping in the market in the hopes of shaking things up and capturing the number three spot away from LG. The thing about Huawei is that they've taken a page right out of Apple's playbook which makes this copycat one to keep an eye on going forward.

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Apple Takes the Lead in the Next Battlefront: Advanced Eyes-Free Services for the Car

1. Apple's Next War Front - iOS in the Car

In 2012 Apple's VP of software and iOS Scott Forstall announced that nine car companies had signed on to eyes-free Siri services with Hyundai signing on as the tenth in January. Then came Eddy Cue's announcement at this year's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) that "iOS in the Car" was going to be available in cars in calendar 2014, which translates to new 2015 models debuting in late Q3 and early Q4 2014. Apple appears to have the lead in one of the next battlefronts in the market: eyes-free digital services for the car. Patently Apple has discovered that Microsoft is also "eyeing" this market. A new patent filing published this week by the US Patent and Trademark Office revealed one of their projects for eyes-free services for the car, and our report will give you a peek at what they've got on the drawing board. Yet at the end of the day, Apple has made a firm announcement as to when iOS in the Car will be ready whereas Microsoft is still in the dream state with nothing concrete in sight.

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Taiwan's MemSmart Semi Sues Apple for Patent Infringement

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Taiwan's MemSmart Semiconductor Corp. has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. The patent infringement lawsuit concerns the iPhone's use of their suspension microstructure technology.

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Consumer Backlash over Samsung's Launch of Faster Galaxy S4

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Korean consumers are increasingly voicing their great displeasure over rumors that Samsung Electronics is set to soon roll out a new variation of the Galaxy S4, the latest version of its flagship Galaxy smartphone line-up, which will access the so-called LTE Advanced network. 

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