As of today, 78% of Apple iPhone users have updated to the new iOS 7. And when there's an update or fix to be had, users easily get it when on iTunes charging up their devices. On Friday we reported on HTC's head designer being indicted for leaking trade secrets and in that we report we presented a ridiculously lengthy graphic from HTC illustrating the long and tedious maze that the Android OS goes through just to get OS updates to Android users. Today, a premier mobile industry news site in Canada has published a new report titled "The Anguish of Updates" wherein the author bemoans the snail-like pace of OS updates for users, especially outside the US.
Apple Granted 43 Patents Today Covering the MacBook Pro's Unibody Design, a Micro SIM Smart Card and Much More
On New Year's Eve 2013, the US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 43 newly granted patents for Apple. In our overview summary of today's granted patents, we specifically cover five inventions including Apple's unibody MacBook Pro, their Micro SIM smart card and more. We also cover two design patents and conclude our report with our traditional list of the remaining patents that were granted to Apple today for those wishing to explore them further.
Microsoft once branded their mobile device user interface for use with Surface tables and Windows smartphones as "Metro." The concept is now in play and is based on moveable, resizable live tiles. It was meant to challenge Apple's iOS winning interface that is more App icon centric. Their plan never quite worked out for them as they first planned, and a new patent filing strongly suggests that they may actually be thinking of reinventing their mobile OS once again. Then again, one has to wonder if it's a real plan or just a corporate fantasy.
In November we reported that Samsung and Apple would restart top tier efforts to try and meet a court-ordered Jan. 8 deadline to find an amicable solution to their patent dispute. U.S. federal judge Lucy H. Koh, who presided over the case, ordered such a meeting. Today, a Korean report confirms that the negotiations between the two companies have now resumed.
Yesterday we posted a report titled "Apple's iPhone Success Points to a Bad Q4 for Samsung," wherein we stated that Apple's iPhone scored a hat trick of key online retail sales victories in December that likely contributed to the estimates for Samsung Electronics' fourth quarter operating profit being revised downward by more than a billion dollars US. Today we learn that the Samsung's Galaxy S4 is one of the key burdens dragging Samsung's financials down. In fact, the Korean press describes it as shocking at just how bad the numbers are likely to be for Q4. Yet the news shouldn't really surprise anyone.
News out of Taipei today states that Taiwanese prosecutors have indicted a chief designer and five employees at smartphone maker HTC for allegedly leaking crucial trade secrets to China and breach of trust. Specifically, Chien Chih-lin, vice president of product design, was charged with leaking information relating to "highly valuable" designs for a yet-to-be-launched smartphone interface to unidentified individuals in Beijing in an attempt to set up a joint new company in China, prosecutors said.
In light of Apple's iPhone sales surge worldwide and their hat trick victory in online sales this holiday season, the South Korean Press is now predicting that Samsung Electronics' fourth-quarter operating profit will likely fall short of 10 trillion won (roughly 9.4 Billion US). The news is sending Samsung Electronics' stock price in a downward trend. As this news hits the wires, we hear that Samsung is preparing to push Tizen OS hard in early 2014. Whether Samsung's move to push Tizen based smartphones will have any bearing on future profits is unknown at this time.
Apple's iOS has scored a perfect hat trick against Google's Android this holiday season. It began with iOS destroying Android in the battle for Black Friday mobile shopping sales followed by its crushing victory on Cyber Monday. Today, IBM is reporting that Christmas Day sales show that Apple's iOS Obliterated Android. This is why developers flock to Apple's World Wide Developer Conferences annually to stay ahead of the game with the latest and greatest iOS upgrades. Even with a much smaller user base than Android worldwide, it's a proven fact that Apple's iOS iDevices are purchased by a distinguished and advanced customer base. It's a fact that continually puts more profits into developers' hands than Android hands down.
On December 26, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of 28 new patent applications from Apple. This particular report covers Apple's second invention relating to a 3D printer in the last month along with a spattering of links to patents covering everything from 3D navigational maps to the technology behind Apple's EarPods and more.
On December 26, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple revealing a new and unique anti-counterfeiting solution for future hardware such as an iPhone, iPad or even MacBook Pro. The proposed invention will utilize a 3D variable depth coding system on various parts of products that could either be visible or invisible to the naked eye. Whether Apple has gone to the trouble of inventing such a sophisticated anti-counterfeiting system to combat current or future Black Market activity is unknown at this time.
Taiwan Authorities Hit Apple with Fine for Interfering with iPhone Pricing with Three Telecom Providers and Threatens more Action
News out of Taipei today is stating that Taiwanese authorities have slapped Apple with a $667,000US fine for violating a fair trade law over local iPhone pricing. The Fair Trade Commission said an Apple unit in charge of Taiwan sales has interfered in the pricing and mobile phone payment rates of three local telecom service providers, despite selling them the distribution rights to the phones.
Google Files Action in California Court Claiming that the Rockstar Consortium is out to Destroy Android
It's come to light that on Monday Google filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit in the Northern District of California against Rockstar and its MobileStar Technologies subsidiary over the seven patents-in-suit in the Android OEM cases. Google believes that Rockstar's campaign against them is designed to harm, if not destroy, Android. Google cranks up the volume in their complaint before the court against the Rockstar Consortium in the hopes of getting the trial transferred from Texas to California. A patent expert weighs in on the matter and finds that Google is clearly hypocritical when the shoe is on the other foot.
At Samsung's big smartphone event held in September prior to Apple's iPhone 5S event, they were to introduce a fingerprint scanner feature to beat Apple to market with a biometric security feature. The anticipation was high and yet in the end Samsung failed to deliver this forecasted feature. A month later they pathetically blamed US firm Validity for their failure to deliver a fingerprint scanning feature on time. Then a rumor surfaced that Samsung was testing a Retina Scanner for their next generation biometric security solution which was supported by a Samsung patent filing that surfaced a month later. In December we followed up with a report titled "Smartphone Players are scrambling to Adopt Fingerprint ID." The report covered a forecast by Sweden's Fingerprint Cards that fingerprint scanners would surface on Android phones in 2014. Today, it's being reported that LG Electronics is testing a prototype for its next flagship smartphone G3, equipped with fingerprint recognition technology.
Patently Apple would like to wish all of our fans, friends and industry colleagues from around the globe a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Whatever is beautiful; whatever is meaningful; whatever brings you happiness; may it be yours this holiday season and throughout the coming year. Cheers!
Earlier this month we reported that Counterpoint's Monthly Market Pulse published a report showing that Apple's iPhone 5S was the number one selling smartphone in the world for October. Adding to Apple's lead, the iPhone 5 took the number two spot which proved to be more popular than Samsung's Galaxy S4 which came in the number three spot. Apple's iPhone 5C, which most thought wasn't going to sell well at all, actually came in fourth ahead of Samsung's popular Galaxy Note 3. With that track record, Samsung is changing course for 2014 and aims to conquer the mid-range smartphone market by creating cheaper units. It's a move to protect Samsung's "volume" sales game against the rising tied of local smartphone brands in China as well as the iPhone 5C which is going to get a lot more traction due to the new Apple-China Mobile partnership. The move is going to hurt their profit margins without knowing if the strategy will even pan out.
The Shanghai Intermediate People's Court announced on Monday that it has accepted Shanda Interactive Entertainment's case against Apple and a Fujian-based information and technology company for copyright infringement.
Apple Granted 23 Patents Today Including an Embedded Heart Rate Monitor that could be integrated into a future iWatch
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 23 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover five design patents that were granted to Apple today in addtion to focusing on one key invention relating to an embedded heart rate monitor. The invention states that beyond it being embedded into a future iPhone, the heart rate monitor could be embedded into an accessory. Earlier this year Apple's CEO and other team members were spotted wearing Nike's Fuel band. This led to speculation that Apple's newly published wristband computer invention (that is popularly thought of as a future wearable computer or iWatch) would be an ideal device for embedding a health monitoring system. That makes this granted patent a possible key component of any such future device.
As far back as May of this year we reported on the rumor of Apple considering a larger 12.9 inch iPad for the educational market with the rumor resurfacing in August and again in October. Today, DigiTimes is once again hearing rumbles in Apple's supply chain about this larger iPad. Yet the timing of the unit for Q4 2014 doesn't really make much sense if it's truly for the "educational market" which is the angle that the unit is always being framed within. Perhaps the rumors are getting confused with Samsung's intentions.
News out of Abu Dhabi today has revealed third quarter sales of smartphones in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Out of the top five smartphones sold we see that Apple held strong with three models. The iPhone 5 was number one, the iPhone 4S as number three and the iPhone 4 as number four as confirmed by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.
As early as January 2013 we noted that Apple was preparing a lower cost iPhone when it wasn't a popular idea and later that month we were one of the first to report on China Mobile admitting to a confidentiality agreement with Apple. Reports ran wild this fall with false reports that the deal was done and we reported the contrary. The Soap Opera continued weekly until today. Apple has officially announced that China Mobile will begin selling the iPhone in China on January 17, 2014.
Apple is suing Oracle for breach of contract. By the terms of the Technology License Agreement, Oracle is and has been obligated to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless Apple from and against all claims of patent infringement related to the Ethernet technology supplied by Oracle to Apple. Oracle has provided no assurance that it will meet its indemnification obligations and has not met such obligations to date. Oracle has not defended or indemnified Apple in the Lawsuit. Apple had filed a "Third-Party" Complaint against Oracle a "Third Party" Defendant within the U.S. Ethernet Innovations case against Apple and some 16 other technology companies including the likes of Dell, Acer, Sony and Asus. The Judge in the Ethernet Innovations case is now severing the Apple vs. Oracle action from the main case.
When Apple introduced their iPhone in 2007, it was the beginning of the end for cell phone leaders of that day such as Motorola, Nokia and BlackBerry. In 2011 Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop warned his staff "we are standing on a burning platform," and announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft days later to compete with Apple's iOS and Android smartphones. BlackBerry is still in free fall and Google had to rescue Motorola. In October, The Verge posted a report titled "How long will Google keep burning money on Motorola?" Apple's iPhone changed the rules of what a smartphone was and the likes of Motorola couldn't turn their ship around quick enough to save the day as an independent company. Motorola under Google has to ensure they'll stay on top of new trends this time around and so they rushed a smartphone patent to the US Patent Office last year to do just that. But there's a saying in IT circles known as "garbage in garbage out." In this instance, the saying can easily be extended through to hardware and Motorola's vision for a smartwatch as you'll see in their patent graphic found in our report. Our cover graphic is just the beginning of this mess.