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Microsoft, Apple and Others Launch Huge Patent Strike at Android 476

New submitter GODISNOWHERE writes "Nortel went bankrupt in 2009. In 2011, it held an auction for its massive patent portfolio. The winners of the auction were Apple, Microsoft, Sony, RIM, and others, who bought the patents for $4.5 billion as a consortium named Rockstar Bidco. At the time, many people speculated those patents would be used against Google, who bid separately but lost. It turns out they were right. Rockstar has filed eight lawsuits in federal court targeting Google and Android device manufacturers. 'The complaint (PDF) against Google involves six patents, all from the same patent "family." They're all titled "associative search engine," and list Richard Skillen and Prescott Livermore as inventors. The patents describe "an advertisement machine which provides advertisements to a user searching for desired information within a data network. The oldest patent in the case is US Patent No. 6,098,065, with a filing date of 1997, one year before Google was founded. The newest patent in the suit was filed in 2007 and granted in 2011. The complaint tries to use the fact that Google bid for the patents as an extra point against the search giant.'"

Taiwan Protests Apple Maps That Show Island As Province of China 262

itwbennett writes "Taiwan is demanding Apple revise its mapping software and remove a label that describes the island as a province of China, rather than as a sovereign state. The complaint was lodged after local media reports said that users on the island had noticed the change in Apple's latest iOS and Mac OS versions. 'The maps don't acknowledge Taiwan as its own nation. We voiced our disapproval, and hope Apple will make the change,' an official with Taiwan's foreign ministry said Wednesday. This isn't the first time such a mistake was made. Google also labeled Taiwan as a Chinese province in 2005."

Apple Blocks Lawrence Lessig's Comment On iOS 7 Wi-Fi Glitch 326

destinyland writes "A glitch in iOS7 has cost "a significant number" of Apple users their Wi-Fi access, according to ZDNet. But they also report that Apple is now censoring posts in their "Apple Support Communities" forums where users suggest possible responses to their loss of WiFi capabilities (including exercising their product warranty en masse). "We understand the desire to share experiences in your topic, 'Re: wifi greyed out after update to ios7,'" read one warning sent to Lawrence Lessig, "but because these posts are not allowed on our forums, we have removed it." Lessig — who co-founded Creative Commons (and was a board member of the Free Software Foundation) has been documenting the ongoing "comments slaughter" on his Twitter feed, drawing attention to what he says is the Borg-like behavior of Apple as a corporation. Lessig "is now part of an angry mob in Apple's forums who upgraded to iOS 7 and lost Wi-Fi connectivity," ZDNet notes, adding that as of this morning their reporter has been unable to obtain an official response from Apple."

Apple 27-inch iMac With Intel's Haswell Inside Tested 241

MojoKid writes "Apple's late 2013 edition iMacs are largely unchanged in external form, though they're upgraded in function with a revamped foundation that now pairs Intel's Haswell 4th Generation Core processors with NVIDIA's GeForce 700 Series graphics. The Cupertino company also outfitted these latest models with faster flash storage options, including support for PCI-E based storage, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, all wrapped in a 21.5-inch (1920x1080) or 27-inch IPS displays with a 2560x1440 resolution. As configured, the 27-inch iMac reviewed here bolted through benchmarks with relative ease and posted especially solid figures in gaming tests, including a 3DMark 11 score of 3,068 in Windows 7 (via Boot Camp). Running Cinebench 11.5 in Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks also helped showcase the CPU and GPU combination. Storage benchmarks weren't nearly as impressive though, for iMacs based on standard spinning media. For real IO throughput, it's advisable to go with Apple's Flash storage options."

Mac OS 10.9's Mail App — Infinity Times Your Spam 158

An anonymous reader writes "Email service has an blog post about an interesting bug they're dealing with related to the new in Mac OS 10.9 Mavericks. After finding a user who had 71 messages in his Junk Mail folder that were somehow responsible for over a million entries in the index file, they decided to investigate. 'This morning I checked again, there were nearly a million messages again, so I enabled telemetry on the account ... [] copying all the email from the Junk Folder back into the Junk Folder again!. This is legal IMAP, so our server proceeds to create a new copy of each message in the folder. It then expunges the old copies of the messages, but it's happening so often that the current UID on that folder is up to over 3 million. It was just over 2 million a few days ago when I first emailed the user to alert them to the situation, so it's grown by another million since. The only way I can think this escaped QA was that they used a server which (like gmail) automatically suppresses duplicates for all their testing, because this is a massively bad problem.' The actual emails added up to about 2MB of actual disk usage, but the bug generated an additional 2GB of data on top of that."

Apple Converting Trial and Pirated iWork, iLife and Aperture To Full Versions 134

tlhIngan writes "One aspect about the new OS X Mavericks release was that all Apple produced software was to be downloadable and updatable through the Mac App Store. However, this raises the obvious question: what happens to users who bought the software beforehand? Initial reports showed that the Mac App Store scanned your hard drive for software and offered to associate it with your Apple ID. The scans even found trial and pirated versions and upgraded those to fully-licensed versions. Even more interestingly, this is not a bug, and it appears Apple is turning a blind eye to the practice, giving away copies of iLife, iWork and Aperture to users who own trial or even pirated versions of the apps. Apple has also recently stopped providing downloadable trial versions of iLife, iWork and Aperture from their web site."

Torvalds: Free OS X Is No Threat To Linux 314

jfruh writes "Apple is now offering upgrades to the latest version of OS X for free. When Linux inventor Linus Torvalds was asked whether this threatened Linux (presumably by someone who had only a passing knowledge of all the things 'free' can mean when applied to software) it gave him an opportunity for a passionate defense of open source. Torvalds also says that he'll keep programming until it gets 'not interesting,' which hasn't happened yet." The newest version of OS X may be gratis for Apple hardware buyers, but it's notably far from the original, (literally) un-branded sense of "mavericks."

OS X 10.9 Mavericks Review 222

An anonymous reader writes "John Siracusa at Ars Technica has put together a comprehensive review of Apple's OS X 10.9 Mavericks. This is the first time a major OS X update has been free, and it works on any device that supports Mountain Lion. This suggests Apple is trying to boost adoption rates as high as possible. Siracusa says the following about Apple's move away from skeuomorphic design: 'Mavericks says enough is enough. The leather's gone, the fake pages are gone, the three panes are independently resizable (more or less), even the title bar is bone-stock, and it's boring?' On the other hand, he was a big fan of all the internal optimizations Apple has done, since the energy savings over Mountain Lion are significant. He found a 24% increase in his old MacBook Pro's battery life, and a 30% increase for his new MacBook Air. He also praised the long-needed improvements to multi-monitor support: ' Each attached display is now treated as a separate domain for full-screen windows. Mission Control gestures and keyboard shortcuts will now switch between the desktop and full-screen windows on the display that contains the cursor only, leaving all other displays untouched.' The 24-page review dives deeply into all the other changes in Mavericks, and is worth reading if you're deciding whether or not to upgrade."

Apple Announces iPad Air 471

Today Apple held a press conference to unveil its updated software and hardware products. The biggest news was the announcement of the 'iPad Air,' which has a 9.7" Retina display. It's 7.5 mm thick, which is 20% thinner than the older iPad. The weight has dropped from 1.4 lbs to 1.0 lbs, and it runs on a 64-bit A7 chip with an M7 motion coprocessor. Apple claims performance has doubled over the previous-gen iPad. The iPad Air will be available on November 1st. The iPad Mini is getting a new revision as well. The display has been upgraded to 7.9" at 2048x1536, which is the same resolution as the iPad Air. The new Mini has an A7 chip as well.

Apple also announced that the new version of Mac OS X (10.9 Mavericks) is available now and is free to all Mac OS X users. It includes better multi-monitor support, tabs in Finder, and a number of performance optimizations. The Macbook Pro is getting updates to the 13" and 15" models, which are now running on Intel Haswell processors. They both have PCIe SSDs, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Thunderbolt 2 support. Apple also talked about the redesigned Mac Pro line. As you may recall from WWDC, the new model takes up about about 1/8th of the volume as the old one. It's cooled by a single fan, uses 70% less power than the earlier model, and puts out 12 dB of noise when idling. It'll be available in December. On the software side, Apple has been updating a lot of their software to add 64-bit support and mesh with the new iOS 7 style of design. This includes iPhoto, iMovie, and Garageband, as well as the iLife and iWork software suites. iWork is also getting collaborative work features, and it's now free with new Macs and iOS devices.

Teachers Get 1 Week To Test Tech Giants' Hour of Code 81

theodp writes "In a move straight out of's playbook, teachers won't get to preview the final lessons they're being asked to roll out to 10 million U.S. students until a week before the Dec. 9th launch of the Hour of Code nation-wide learn-to-code initiative, according to a video explaining the project, which is backed by the nation's tech giants, including Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Amazon. The Hour of Code tutorial page showcased to the press sports Lorem Ipsum pseudo-Latin text instead of real content, promised tutorial software is still being developed by Microsoft and Google, and celebrity tutorials by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are still a work-in-progress. With their vast resources and deep pockets, the companies involved can still probably pull something off, but why risk disaster for such a high-stakes effort with a last-minute rush? One possible explanation is that CS Education Week, a heretofore little-recognized event, is coming up soon. Then again, tech immigration reform is back on the front burner, an initiative that's also near-and-dear to many of same players behind Hour of Code, including Microsoft Chief Counsel Brad Smith who, during the Hour of Code kickoff press conference, boasted that Microsoft's more-high-tech-visas-for-U.S.-kids-computer-science-education deal found its way into the Senate Immigration Bill, but minutes later joined his fellow panelists to dismiss a questioner's suggestion that Hour of Code might somehow be part of a larger self-serving tech industry interest."

Researchers Show Apple Can Read iMessages 124

Trailrunner7 writes "The Apple iMessage protocol has been shrouded in secrecy for years now, but a pair of security researchers have reverse-engineered the protocol [original analysis] and found that Apple controls the encryption key infrastructure for the system and therefore has the ability to read users' text messages–or decrypt them and hand them over at the order of a government agency. ... The researchers found that while that basic framework makes sense from a security point of view, there are a number of issues with the iMessage system. One major issue is that Apple itself controls the encryption key infrastructure use for iMessage, and has the keys for each individual user. The upshot of this is that Apple has the ability to read users' messages if it so chooses. The researchers who looked at iMessage, known as Pod2g and GG, said that there is no evidence that Apple is in fact reading users' iMessages, but it's possible that the company could. Users' AppleID passwords also are sent in clear text to the Apple servers."

Irish Government May Close Apple's Biggest Tax Loophole 292

DavidGilbert99 writes "Ireland and its tax system came under some extreme scrutiny earlier this year when it was revealed that Apple funneled billions of dollars of revenue though three subsidiaries based in the country. Thanks to a loophole, none of these subsidiaries were tax-resident in Ireland, meaning they didn't even have to pay Ireland's relatively low 12.5% corporation tax rate. Worryingly for Apple, Ireland's finance minister may now shut this loophole. A measure within a new budget bill (PDF) would disallow Apple's status as a 'stateless' corporate entity for tax purposes. Apple will still be able to select a country like Bermuda as its tax residence, but it's a step in the right direction."

Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos 791

An anonymous reader writes "Nokia's former head designer has called on Apple to work with the broader technology industry and end its policy of having proprietary connectors for its device chargers and accessories. Other experts say Apple cannot continue to go it alone with Lightning Connectors and ignore Micro USB."

A Peek At Apple's Planned $5B HQ 257

theodp writes "The Mercury News has an exclusive sneak peek of Apple's planned headquarters in Cupertino, which Steve Jobs personally sought approval for in 2011. 'We found that rectangles or squares or long buildings or buildings with more than four stories would inhibit collaboration,' Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said, explaining the motivation behind the so-called Apple Ring. Nice, but if you wanted to hurt the feelings of the Design Gods at Apple, you could point out that, for all its $5 billion glory, what Apple calls 'the best office building ever' doesn't look all that different from an old-school $3.95 6250 BPI magnetic tape reel (still available on eBay, kids!)."

Irony: iPhone 5S Users Reporting Blue Screen of Death 192

MojoKid writes "It's been a long time since many have seen a dreaded 'blue screen of death' (BSoD), but it's back and in the most unlikeliest of places. Oddly enough, some Apple iPhone 5S owners are reporting BSoD errors, though they're a little different from the ones you may remember seeing on Windows desktops. Rather than spit out an obscure error code with a generic description, some iPhone 5S devices are suddenly turning blue before automatically restarting. The Numbers app in Apple's iWork suite, a free program with new iPhones, seems to be the primary cause, though BSoD behavior has also been observed in other applications, according to complaints in Apple's support forum."
Desktops (Apple)

Shuttleworth: Apple Will Merge Mac and iPhone 414

Barence writes "Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth claims Apple will follow Ubuntu's lead and converge the iPhone and MacBook product lines. Speaking to PC Pro to mark the upcoming launch of Ubuntu 13.10, Shuttleworth said that the failed Ubuntu Edge smartphone — an attempt to bridge mobile and desktop computing devices — had set an example that others will follow. 'We've seen a very interested ripple go through the industry, and an uptick in interest in convergence,' Shuttleworth added. 'People are saying yes, mobile processors are catching up with the desktop. When Apple announced the iPhone 5s, it called the processor "desktop-class," and I don't think that was an accident – it was sending what we think is a very clear signal that it will converge the iPhone and the MacBook Air.'"

Obama Administration Refuses To Overturn Import Ban On Samsung Products 298

Chris453 writes "In August 2013, President Obama issued a veto to an import ban of the iPhone 4S after Samsung won several court battles against Apple claiming that the iPhone 4S violated several of Samsung's patents. A few months ago, Samsung was on the receiving end of a very similar case filed by Apple. The International Trade Commission decided that several of Samsung's phones (Transform, Acclaim, Indulge, and Intercept models) violated Apple's patents, and should face import bans. Despite the similarities between the two cases, the Obama administration today announced that it would not veto the International Trade Commission import ban against Samsung products. The move that could spark a trade dispute between the U.S. and South Korea."

Meet the Voice Behind Siri 114

An anonymous reader writes in with a story about an actress who claims to be the voice behind Siri. "Own an iPhone or iPad? Since Siri was released on the iPhone 4S in 2011, I bet you, like me, have been wondering who the real voice behind Apple Virtual voice assistant Siri is. She has provided weather forecast, restaurants tips and has power announcements at airport around the world. Well, the real voice behind Siri has been revealed, and she is Atlanta-based Actress Susan Bennett. While her name might not ring a bell to you, her friends , those who have worked with her, her family and even forensics expert recognized her voice, and says she is the real Siri."

The Story of the Original iPhone's Development 221

jds91md writes "Today's NY Times delivers a great story of the development of the iPhone by Apple. It focuses on the events during the leadup to Steve Jobs taking the stage with shockingly buggy prototypes and pulling off the show that is now history. 'Only about a hundred iPhones even existed, all of them of varying quality. Some had noticeable gaps between the screen and the plastic edge; others had scuff marks on the screen. And the software that ran the phone was full of bugs. The iPhone could play a section of a song or a video, but it couldn’t play an entire clip reliably without crashing. It worked fine if you sent an e-mail and then surfed the Web. If you did those things in reverse, however, it might not. Hours of trial and error had helped the iPhone team develop what engineers called “the golden path,” a specific set of tasks, performed in a specific way and order, that made the phone look as if it worked.' One of the big problems was the phone's connectivity. The man in charge of the iPhone's radios, Andy Grignon, had to deal with Jobs's anger when rehearsals didn't go well. Grignon said, 'Very rarely did I see him become completely unglued — it happened, but mostly he just looked at you and very directly said in a very loud and stern voice, "You are [expletive] up my company," or, "If we fail, it will be because of you." He was just very intense. And you would always feel an inch tall.'"

Activists Angry After Apple Axes Anti-Firewall App 196

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "BBC reports that Chinese web users are criticizing Apple after the company pulled a free iPhone app called OpenDoor, which enables users to bypass firewalls and access restricted internet sites. The developers of OpenDoor — who wish to remain anonymous — told Radio Netherlands that Apple removed the app because it 'includes content that is illegal in China.' 'It is unclear to us how a simple browser app could include illegal contents, since it's the user's own choosing of what websites to view,' say the developers. 'Using the same definition, wouldn't all browser apps, including Apple's own Safari and Google's Chrome, include illegal contents?' Chinese internet users were disappointed by the move by Apple. Zhou Shuguang, a prominent Chinese blogger and citizen journalist, told U.S.-based Radio Free Asia that Apple had taken away one of the tools which internet users in China relied on to circumvent the country's great firewall. 'Apple is determined to have a share of the huge cake which is the Chinese internet market. Without strict self-censorship, it cannot enter the Chinese market,' says one Chinese user disappointed by the move by Apple."