Florian Mueller, patent law expert and proprietor of the wonderful web site Foss Patents, passed along a note letting us know that the Federal Trade Commission recently sent a letter to the International Trade Commission asking the organization not to ban the sale of the iPhone, iPad or Xbox 360 related to complaints filed by Google.
A horrible story out of China details a double murder that happened after a man found out he'd been sold a counterfeit iPhone. A man in the Zhenzhou, Henan province of north-central China spent $330 on a device that he thought was an Apple iPhone. Later he realized that the phone was a fake and was furious. The man, identified in news reports only as "Feng," was out for blood. He came across a gang of men trying to sell the same fake phone to a young boy. At this point he apparently lost all sense of self control and pulled out a knife.
Apple's social gaming network currently on the iOS will be supported by Mac OS X with the release of Update 10.8 Mountain Lion, according to Edge. Update 10.8 Mountain Lion is a paid update that will be released this summer. Like its iOS counterpart, Game Center on Mac will include support for achievements, scoreboards, online play, game invites and matchmaking, and add cross-platform play and in-game voice chat.
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that his company is committed to working with manufacturing partners that offer its employees a "fair and safe work environment."
"Where they can earn competitive wages and they can voice their concerns freely. Apple's suppliers must live up to this to do business with Apple," he said.
In 2011 AT&T warned its heavy data using mobile customers that it would reduce their connection speed if said usage inched in to the "top five percent." AT&T is defining that metric as anyone who uses more that 2.1 GB of data a month. As chronicled in this NYT blog post, one of AT&T's customers hit the 2.1 GB mark and had his connection throttled. The problem, that customer says, is that he has a data limit of 3GB a month because a legacy unlimited plan.
Those who use jailbroken iPhones and enjoy pirating software are in for a rude awakening as Apple uses the DMCA to take out a frequently used service - Apptrackr. According to Apptrackr developer "Dissident," Apple has sent what he calls "huge takedown notices" to cut off access to pirated apps found through the software. Apptrackr has decided to move the physical location of its servers outside the United States to get around Apple's legal maneuvers and is also employing a form of redirection to avoid "direct" links to infringing content.
In a press release issued this morning video game retailer GameStop trumpeted the success of its iPod, iPhone and iPad buy-back / trade-in program. The company claims that in the months since it began accepting trades on iOS devices, it has seen "strong consumer enthusiasm for the program." GameStop customers trading in an iPod Touch get up to $180 in cash or in-store credit, up to $300 for an iPhone, and up to $400 for an iPad.
While Apple managed to get a number of preliminary injunctions against Samsung in other countries in their ongoing battle of trademark disputes related to iOS devices, it looks like the US courts aren't playing ball. US District Judge Judy Koh has denied Apple's request for a preliminary injunction that would have barred Samsung from selling its Galaxy brand tablets and smartphones on Friday. While thing could go Apple's way eventually after a full trial, the decision allows Samsung to continue to sell its Android-based devices without interference from the courts or Apple.
Apple announced today that its latest phone, the iPhone 4S, has broken sales records, with its latest offering enjoying 4 million in sales in its first weekend at retail. Apple started taking pre-orders for the iPhone 4S in the US, Canada, Australia, UK, France, Germany, and Japan on October 7. On the first day of pre-orders, over 1 million customers reserved the device for its October 14 delivery date. The iPhone 4S launched on Friday.
Apple is reporting that over a million pre-orders have been taken for its latest iPhone model, the new iPhone 4S. The company claims that these pre-orders came in the 24-hour-period after the company announced the new phone last week. The pre-orders came from its online store as well as third-party service providers that will offer the phone when it is released.
The third largest wireless carrier in the United States is betting on the iPhone 5 in a big way. Sprint Nextel Corp. will pay Apple a whopping $20 billion dollars to give its customers access to iPhone 5, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company's top executive told Sprint's board that he expects to lose money on the deal until sometime in 2014.
According to research from Strategy Analytics released earlier this week, the iPad captured 80 percent share of tablet shipments in North America during the second quarter of 2011. The research firm claims that Apple has a tight grip on the American tablet market that companies like Amazon will find hard to break.
As we reported last week, GameStop has launched an iOS device trade-in program that allows consumers to trade in their old iPad, iPhone, iPod, Mini, Shuffle, or Nano devices for in-store credit. GameStop is not saying how much they'll pay for each system, but they are saying what condition it has to be in order for consumers to sell it to them. The company said that it will not accept iOS devices in with the following issues:
- iPod, iPhone or iPad devices with dents, severe scratches or personal engravings on the casing.
According to a Bloomberg report, Sprint will offer the iPhone next month with unlimited data service plans, according to people "familiar with the matter." The country's third-largest carrier (behind AT&T and Verizon) will begin selling the next version of the iPhone, iPhone 5 in mid-October. If the sources cited are correct, Sprint would be the only company in the country to offer iPhone with an unlimited data service for a flat fee. Naturally this would certainly help them draw customers from AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
Have a crappy iPhone lying about? Well apparently you can resell it to GameStop. The world’s largest video game retailer will start buying Apple's iOS devices from customers, according to a report from 9to5Macs. According to a screen grab from the site, GameStop is saying that it buys iOS devices for store credit:
Even China can't escape the allure of the Angry Birds franchise. Rovio Entertainment announced the opening of corporate and marketing operations in China. The goal of this move is to bring a tailored Angry Birds game to China. China is currently the second largest market for Angry Birds and represents what Rovio calls an "immense potential for continued growth." Rovio Entertainment expects 100 million Angry Birds downloads in China by the end of 2011.
A new report by Newzoo, claims that consumer spending on games in the US by the end of this year will total $21.6 billion, slightly lower than spending in 2010. In 2012, Newzoo predicts slightly modest growth of the total US games market of 3 percent as online and mobile games continue to increase their share of the total market and console games spending stabilizes.
The results depicted in the infograph, are based on analysis of high-level data from the US National Gamers Surveys over the last three years. For the first time in 2011, mobile, online and download games will capture more than half of total consumer spending by Americans.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that iPad hacker Daniel Spliter has pled guilty to two felony charges - identity theft and conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers. The charges stem from a June 2010 security breach of AT&T's servers that ultimately led to the theft and public disclosure of 120,000 AT&T customers’ email addresses on Gawker.com.
As part of his plea deal Spliter admitted to writing code that allowed him to breach AT&T Inc.’s servers and steal user data related to the iPad. The hack was facilitated by a security hole in AT&T's website. By using an exploit related to a SIM card identifier called an ICC-ID, Spliter was able to steal over a hundred thousand emails. At the time of the hack, the 26-year-old San Francisco native said that he was doing this to bring the matter to AT&T's attention. Instead he got the attention of the FBI.
While Microsoft was talking about Xbox 360 and Kinect at E3, Apple was rolling out some pretty impressive statistics at its WorldWide Developers' Conference (WWDC). During the keynote the company revealed that nearly 54 million Macs have been sold around the world and that Apple's share in the personal computer space has grown 28 percent year-on-year. Apple also claimed that its Game Center service now enjoy 50 million users, warning Microsoft that its gaming community is outpacing theirs rapidly.
"In just 9 months we have 50 million Game Center users," said Apple. "To put that into perspective Xbox Live has been around for about eight years and they have around 30 million users."
Apple says that 200 million iOS devices have been sold to date worldwide, with 25 million of those being iPad sales. We assume this figure includes iPod touch and iPod nano.
Middleware company Tapjoy has complained publicly that Apple's ban of "pay per install" apps and promotions has adversely affected its business and a majority of iOS developers who want to use it. The ban was put in place because of Apple's concerns that developers were paying Tapjoy to boost their game's ranking in the list of top 25 apps.
When an app uses this system, a user is incentivized in some way to install another unrelated app. The developer of the unrelated app then shares the revenue with the original app.
Tapjoy argues that incentivized promotions are "commonplace" and allow developers to create an additional revenue stream. The debate may be that Apple felt like it wasn't getting its fair share of that stream. According to VentureBeat, Tapjoy CEO Mihir Shah attempted to institute a compromise, where a cap "prevented developers from unfairly breaking into the top 25," but it was rejected by Apple.
Apple knows how to set records when it comes to sales, and now it has another honorary distinction: claiming a Guinness World Record alongside the game Angry Birds. Guinness named the iPhone 4 the fastest selling portable game system after selling 1.5 million units on launch day. iPhone 4 was released on June 24, 2010.
"The release of the iPhone has not just changed the mobile industry, but the video game world too,"Gaz Deaves, Guinness World Records' gaming editor, said in a statement to the LA times. "With the never-ending App Store selection and an intuitive device, Apple has created a gigantic new space for itself in the casual games genre that literally brings entertainment to users wherever they may be."
Apple announced financial results for the second quarter, that ended on March 26. The company said that net profits rose 95 percent year-over-year to $5.99 billion. These numbers set a new second-quarter record for the company, and another with revenues of around $24.67 billion, an increase of 82.7 percent year-on-year.
Sales were primarily driven by sales of iPhones, with Apple selling 18.65 million units during the quarter, an increase of 113 percent on the same period last year. It also sold 3.7 million Macs, up 28 percent year on year, and 4.69 million iPads. The only decline was in iPod sales, which fell 17 percent to 9.02 million.
Looking ahead, Apple projects third-quarter revenue of around $23 billion.
Fight, fight, fight. Apple has filed a lawsuit against Samsung claiming the technology used in its Galaxy tablet and smartphones is copied from Apple's iPhone and iPad technology. The company is also alleging that Samsung has infringed on the "style" and user interface of the iPhone and iPad. The Galaxy Tab, Galaxy S and Nexus S were specifically named.
"Rather than innovate and develop its own technology and a unique Samsung style for its smart phone products and computer tablets, Samsung chose to copy Apple's technology, user interface and innovative style in these infringing products," the lawsuit said.
Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet told the BBC: "This kind of blatant copying is wrong."
Samsung said that its products are the result of research and development carried out by the company.
PopCap's new experimental studio, 4th & Battery, tried to launch its first title, an iOS game called Unpleasant Horse, on the Apple App Store. Unpleasant Horse is described as a colorful platformer where players bounce from cloud to cloud and on to the backs of flying ponies, who are sent plummeting to a gruesome demise because of badly placed meat grinders. Apparently, the free mature-themed game was a little too gruesome for Apple's taste. Apple rejected the app from the store, but PopCap's new studio is apparently appealing the decision.
A comical tweet on the studio's Twitter feed earlier today read "WTF? Apple rejected Unpleasant Horse cuz of 'mature content'? We thought horses dying in meat grinders was wholesome family entertainment!"
That post disappeared later in the day and was replaced with: "We're appealing, though (with a higher rating) and we'll hopefully have good news for y'all soon!"
Four United States Senators are not happy with an application that they say helps drunk drivers avoid checkpoints and they are demanding that a number of app stores yank it immediately. Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Tom Udall (D-NM) have asked Apple iPhone head Scott Forstall, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt and Research in Motion's (RIM) co-CEOs, James Balsillie and Michael Lazaridis to pull an undisclosed number of apps.
"Giving drunk drivers a free tool to evade checkpoints, putting innocent families and children at risk, is a matter of public concern," the senators said in a letter to the executives of the three companies. "We hope that you will give our request to remove these applications from your store immediate consideration."
Forget about PC gaming being dead, now some are saying that console gaming is dead instead. Rovio head Peter Vesterbacka says that "console games are dying" and that innovation in gaming has shifted to the mobile and social space. The comments came about during a panel discussion at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. Vesterbacka added that innovation is possbile in the social and mobile space because companies are more "nimble" and release content quickly.
"As mobile gaming - including games on tablet devices like the iPad - continues to grow, console games are "dying," he said.
Vesterbacka also took a shot at Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata's GDC comments, pointing out that the traditional model where companies charge $40 to $50 for a game that's "difficult to upgrade" no longer works.
Nintendo CEO and president Satoru Iwata took a shot at hand-held smartphone devices this week during a speech at GDC. Iwata said that smartphone manufacturers do not value video games as much as they should with many seeing the quantity of apps as more important than the quality.
"We want consumers to appreciate the premium value of software through our platforms. Although Microsoft and Sony are different to us, I believe we all share this idea 100 per cent. We demonstrate a high value of game software. “However, smartphones and social platforms are not at all like ours. These platforms have no motivation to maintain a high value of game software. For them, content is just created by someone else."
“Quantity is how they profit. The value of game software does not matter to them.”
He went on to say that the amount of games creates a higher risk of failure and puts developers' jobs on the line:
Mobile phone game publisher Ngmoco CEO Neil Young says that Sony's upcoming and current handhelds are dead in the water. "PSP is done and the NGP is dead on arrival" says Young, who blames the iPhone for the systems' demise. He also believes that there ae big troubles ahead for handhelds in the future thanks to iOS and Android devices.
"I think they are hurt; I think they're clearly hurt. I think PSP is done and the new [NGP] is dead on arrival," he told IndustryGamers. "It's really difficult to compete with an app store that has hundreds of thousands of applications and a wide range of options where the average price paid is around $1.20 and there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of free applications that are really high quality. So I just don't think Sony's going to be able to compete with that."