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March 2014

Apple to Ramp-Up New Robotic Production Lines for iPhone 6

1. Mac Pro built in the USA using Advanced Robotics
Last October Apple revealed the new Mac Pro in greater detail at a Special Event. There we learned of their state of the art automated assembly plant in Texas. Today we're learning through Apple's supply chain in Taiwan that Apple is now planning to begin new a automated manufacturing process for iPhone batteries.

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Could China's new Search Engine be a Google Killer?

1. Cover - China launches ChinaSo.com to take on Google
A new Chinese-language online search engine - Chinaso.com - was launched Friday, marking China's first search service set up by the country's major news organizations. China is the world's largest market and it looks like they're trying to rid itself of Google. Though to be honest, there's an emerging trend in China that is out to challenge, if not eventually marginalize, traditional US based software kings.

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Music to Apple's Ears: the iPhone is Mobile China's Leading 4G Smartphone

1. Cover - Apple iPhone # 1 with Mobile China
Yesterday we reported that China Mobile had reported their first financial loss in 14 years as they surge ahead with their buildout of their new 4G network. We also noted that Mobile China only began selling Apple's iPhones very late in December which couldn't boost their yearend profits. Today, news has come to light about a comment that China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua made during his conference call that is certainly music to Apple's ears and it bodes well for Apple in 2014 and the iPhone 6 that will be released later this year.

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China Mobile Posts First Loss in 14 Years as they focus on Building the World's largest 4G Network

10. News
As the saying goes, "Short term pain for long term gain." It's the philosophy that China Mobile has to take as they've just reported their first financial loss in 14 years as they surge ahead with the buildout of their new 4G network. Mobile China only began selling Apple's iPhones very late in December which couldn't boost their yearend profits. If Apple's future iPhone 6 is a winning design, it will be most welcomed by China Mobile as it needs to pay for their buildout of the largest 4G network in the world.

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Google Takes their Glass Vision to Smart Contact Lenses in the Blink of an Eye

1. Cover - Google patent news
Yesterday, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Google that reveals a new multi-sensor contact lens computer system that could work with many future devices including Google Glass and/or other future wearable devices, an Android smartphone, a television, a gaming system, navigation and/or car stereo and beyond. You may not be a fan of Google, but it's always interesting to see what the competition is doing. And in the blink of an eye, the market can shift if you're found sleeping in this fast past business. If you want to keep an eye on the future, then you just might find Google's latest invention interesting. Until Apple brings a wearable computer of their own to market, we may as well keep on top of what others in the industry are doing. 
 

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Korea's DRAM Market Suffers as Google Delays Android 64-bit

1AA
Apple introduced the first smartphone in the world to run on a 64 bit architecture last September. The iPhone 5S lead the way. Thereafter it was simply expected to become the basic performance of premium smartphones. However, Android OEMs can't match Apple's offering because Android isn't 64bit compatible at the moment even though Qualcomm has a 64bit processor ready to ship. While Samsung is hoping to be the first Android OEM to deliver a 64bit based smartphone this fall, industry Insiders aren't so sure it'll be ready in time. In fact they believe that will be pushed into sometime in 2015.

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Apple Reveals the Wonderful World of Nano-Particle Inks & More

1. Cover for Apple patent re nano particle inks
On March 20, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals Apple's work with spherically shaped nano particles and pigment nano-particles in particular that could be used in inks or dyes and applied to devices via screen printing and spraying processes. If you're an industrial designer or student in this field, you may find this invention to be of great interest to you. For the rest of us, it's a little over our heads. Though admittedly, it's an interesting invention only because it's a coloring process that could be used with future products made of sapphire.

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Apple Invents an Extendable Stylus Tip for Artist Brush Strokes

1. Cover - Apple patents extendable tip for artist brush strokes
While the late Steve Jobs wasn't a big fan of the "dumb stylus" of yesteryear, that was basically a tiny plastic pencil, he knew that one day the technology would give rise to an advanced iPen. Apple has invested heavily in the modern iPen with over 24 patents to their credit thus far. Today we get to take a look at Apple's fourth and fifth stylus related patents for the first quarter of 2014 alone. In Apple's latest inventions, they describe a sophisticated stylus with an internal mechanism using electrically charged discs that could elongate the tip of the stylus. In standard mode it's a pen. In the extended mode it's a brush with brush-like fibers. Apple's invention will really be appreciated by artists as they've created a very unique feature just for them in respect to color matching. The different modes of operation are designed to provide a more realistic writing and painting experience. In recent weeks, Microsoft has filed for a similar invention using magnets to control the writing and painting experience. This is where the trend is headed. With Apple having invested thousands of man hours on a next generation stylus or digital pen, let's hope that one day soon Apple's CEO Tim Cook will finally give this project the green light to deliver a high-end iDevice accessory for artists and business people alike.

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Apple Advances their Work on Radial Menus for iDevices & Macs

30. Patent Application
On March 20, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their ongoing work on bringing a common radial styled menu system to both iOS devices and Macs. Just last week Google filed a patent for an advanced radial menu design for possible use in a future version of Android. At the moment, Samsung is the only one that has successfully launched a radial menu on a portable device. 

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Apple Reveals Laser Cutting Techniques for Processing Sapphire

1. Cover - Apple Sapphire Processing Patents
In early February we learned about Apple's new Sapphire manufacturing equipment arriving at their new Arizona plant for processing sapphire materials. We learned days later that Apple's Arizona Plant could manufacture synthetic sapphire at two times the current worldwide capacity. And at the top of this month, Apple's CEO Tim Cook stated that their new sapphire plant wasn't for creating iPhone display covers but rather reserved for a secret project. Today we learn more about Apple's sapphire processing methods and systems through two new patent applications published by the US Patent Office. The patent covers special laser cutting techniques and specialized furnaces. And while the Arizona plant may not be used for making sapphire iPhone display covers, some other plant will, as the patent clearly illustrates the process in context with the iPhone as noted in our cover graphic.

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Apple Reinvents the Vehicle Owner's Manual

1. Cover Apple Vehicle system
At the top of the month Apple introduced CarPlay at the International Motor Show in Geneva. Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a possible future advanced interactive vehicle manual. The patent titled "Identifying and Presenting Information based on Unique Vehicle Identifier," will in effect reinvent the in-vehicle owner's manual. It will be able to provide users with the exact part numbers needed for their vehicle and via GPS tell them what dealers or auto shops nearby carry them. The system could provide users with video instructions about problems occurring in the vehicle and may even use Siri to converse with the manual. While at the time of this patent filing Apple focused on the manual being run on portable devices like the iPhone and iPad, the patent hints of it being used in an auto's radio which will likely now translate into being accessible via CarPlay.

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Apple Sued for Over $1.7 Billion in new Copyright Infringement Case

50. Patently Legal
Roland Chambers from South Carolina has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Apple, Amazon and CD Baby over 12 original pieces of copyrighted sound recordings and two pieces of original artwork for the album cover. Chambers is looking for Apple to pay the larger amount. In total, the plaintiff is seeking an insane amount of over 5.2 billion dollars. I don't think that the Rolling Stones entire collection would cost that much. Then again, everyone has the right to have their day in court.

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Rev. Jesse Jackson Pushes Apple and other Leading Tech Companies to Appoint Black Board Members

1. Rev. Jesse Jackson's Push for leading tech cos to Appoint Black Board Members
Writing to Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Hewlett Packard, Google and other iconic Silicon Valley technology companies, Rev. Jackson said, "Technology is supposed to be about inclusion, but sadly, patterns of exclusion remains the order of the day. Rev. Jackson met with Apple and others yesterday in East Palo Alto to address the fact that leading tech companies are not including enough blacks on their Board of Directors.

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Apple's Brand Value Higher than the Cost of the Apollo Space Program

1. Apple brand value more than the cost of Apollo space program
In February Patently Apple reported on Brand Finance's Global Top 500 companies list where Apple was shown to be the top brand. Today a new chart from Infographics champions the fact that Apple is also the number one brand in the US. The loud and colorful Infographic chart tells us that Apple's Brand Value is more than the cost of the Apollo Space Program in today's dollars.

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Google's Android Wear Developer Preview Launched Today

1. Google Wear - watch
We reported on March tenth that Google planned to release a software development kit based on Android for makers of wearable devices, such as smartwatches. Google plans to release their own smartwatch manufactured by LG Electronics this June. Today, Google followed through on that promise with their new developer preview.

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Apple Quietly Ramping up iPhone 6 Display Orders

10A News - Rumor
The news just keeps sneaking out of Apple's supply chain about the ramp up for iPhone 6 displays. We reported earlier today that Pegatron is opening up new factory space and recruiting workers to meet orders for the iPhone 6. Production is to start early next quarter – way ahead of the traditional ramp up to September launches of the iPhone. Now another supplier is shifting gears quickly to jump on production of the displays for iPhone 6. What's the urgency? 

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Apple Granted 38 Patents Today Covering the iTunes Video Rental System, a Remote Camera Accessory & Much More

1. Cover -  Apple granted 38 patents Mar 18, 2014
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 38 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's video rental system for iTunes, a remote camera system that could double as an entry level security system and a series of technically important patents that Apple may be able to tap into in for future patent infringement cases. Apple was also granted four design patents today covering their original iPad and more. The report wraps-up with our traditional list of the granted patents that weren't highlighted today, just in case you want to check them out.

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Apple Wins Patent for a Surprisingly Futuristic Version of Siri that Includes Distributing Sensors throughout your Home or Office

20. GRANTED PATENTS
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 38 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover a powerful new invention that has come out of the blue. It could apply to a future version of Siri that is designed to work with distributed sensors that a user could place throughout their home, Office or beyond. It's an advanced reminder system that could notify you that it's time to take your medications or that you have appointments or meetings in any room equipped with the appropriate sensors. The application has no limits. It could apply to reminding users of TV programing or any other reminder type users deem important. This wild invention coming to light right after Jonathan Ive's recent statement that Apple is at the beginning of remarkable time, is impeccably timed.

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Microsoft Releases Free OneNote for Macs, to release Office for iPad next Thursday & Pegatron Expands for iPhone 6 Early

Microsoft Corp has released a version of its OneNote note-taking software for Macs, is planning to release a new Office suite for the iPad next Thursday and Pegatron prepares for the iPhone 6 early.

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Video Interview with B. Weiler on Apple and Europe's Parliamentary Decision on micro-USB Chargers

1.
On Friday Patently Apple posted a report about the European Parliament ruling that Apple and others would have to adopt the micro-USB standard by 2017. Barbara Weiler, a German socialist MEP and rapporteur on the dossier, made the announcement. Moments ago Patently Apple received a brief video interview with Barbara Weiler on this matter where she specifically mentions Apple. What will this mean for Apple? "Well, if they want to sell on the European market, they'll have to follow the European law," replied Weiler. The European commission will meet with industry leaders to discuss the directive, but admits that innovation could change in that time frame. This could be the perfect moment for Apple to put a final push on their wireless charging system. Could Apple's new solution be ready for 2017? Only time will tell.

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Jonathan Ive: We're at the Beginning of a Remarkable Time

1A - Jonathan Ive Designs Tomorrow
While there was somewhat of a debate on Sunday as to whether Apple could still be thinking of a next-gen HDTV or not, a new Time interview with Sir Jonathan Ive surfaced early this morning that packed quite a punch. It provided us with Ive's most stark quote to date: "We're at the beginning of a remarkable time." Was the timing of Ive's interview coincidental or simply perfect timing? Ive is Apple's master Industrial Designer who meticulously pays attention to every possible detail of every product that Apple develops. So when he says "we're at the beginning of a remarkable time" – you have to smile knowing it's just another detail to another master plan. This time around, it's a positive marketing message to crank up the volume as they march towards their annual World Wide Developer Conference in June. With Tim Cook saying this was the year for new product categories to emerge, the excitement is beginning to mount.

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Are the Hopes for a Future Apple HDTV really Toast?

1A. cover, Tim Cook on TV
In December 2013, NBC's Brian Williams interviewed Apple's CEO Tim Cook. Williams asked Cook, "What can you do for television watching … what do you know that's going to change the game that we don't know yet. Cook's response: It's a market we see that's been left behind." He further noted that "It's an area of intense interest – I can't say more than that." Was Cook Lying or is a tale out of a new book titled Haunted Empire a make-believe accounting of what Steve Jobs said about making an HDTV? Do we trust Apple's CEO who recently stated that Apple TV is no longer a hobby, or a reported account that's about three years old at this moment in time? You be the judge.

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ITC Rules that HTC and others didn't infringe upon Patents from Apple's Spinoff Company, FlashPoint

10. News
The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled on Friday that HTC and others didn't violate digital camera patents owned by Apple Inc.'s spinoff FlashPoint Technology to make their smartphones.

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Cuddly Microsoft Seeks Patent for New Spy Cam

1. Cover Graphic - Msft Spy Cam patent
Yesterday, the co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak called Edward Snowden a hero for sacrificing his life for a principle. On the same day, Bill Gates being interviewed by the Rolling Stone made it clear that Snowden was anything but a hero. Gates went on to say that "some aspects of government surveillance are best left a secret." The Huffington Post further reported that "Microsoft has seen quite a bit of controversy regarding its alleged cooperation with the NSA. Last July, the Guardian reported that Microsoft had aided both the NSA and FBI in accessing user data, including providing video and audio conversations from Skype, Microsoft's video chat service." In that light, it should be noted that late last month Microsoft, the friend of the NSA and FBI, had one of their patent applications come to light regarding a new spy cam that they're working on that's bound to be very NSA friendly.

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European Parliament Rules Apple must use the Micro-USB Standard Port for European iDevices by 2017

10. News
It was just yesterday that we posted a report titled "Apple Invents new Dock with a Flexible Lightning Connector" wherein we concluded our summary by stating: "Here's to hoping that Apple will be able to not only design this new dock but also get it out to market soon. Then again, perhaps Apple is still waiting to see how the European consumer protection committee will rule before committing to this product." Well talk of the Devil. The European Parliament just handed down their ruling on this issue and they say that manufacturers including Apple will have to use a standard charger by 2017.

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