The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that certain models of Samsung phone violate Apple patents, and are likely to be blocked from import to the U.S. From the article: "The patents in question are U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949, which relates to a touch screen and user interface and U.S. Patent No. 7,912,501 which deals with detecting when a headset is connected. The ITC said Samsung didn’t infringe on the other two patents. In a statement on the matter, the ITC said the decision is final and the investigation has been closed. ... As was the case with the previous ruling that saw Apple devices banned, the ban on Samsung devices won’t go into effect until 60 days but can be blocked by a favorable ruling following a presidential review. That seems unlikely as such a block has only been issued once since 1987 – last’s week’s ruling in favor of Apple."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
EliSowash writes "In response to recent reports of safety concerns around third-party chargers for iDevices, Apple announced today that beginning August 16, 2013, you can trade in your third-party adapter and purchase an official Apple charger at a 'special price' — $10 USD. From their website: 'To qualify, you must turn in at least one USB power adapter and bring your iPhone, iPad, or iPod to an Apple Retail Store or participating Apple Authorized Service Provider for serial number validation. The special pricing on Apple USB power adapters is limited to one adapter for each iPhone, iPad, and iPod you own and is valid until October 18, 2013.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "In a new Gizmodo column, Andreas Goeldi calls it the 'frosted glass' effect: when a prominent tech company's latest upgrade to its flagship operating system features frosted-glass highlights as its primary innovation, you know that company is facing a period of severe stagnation. That's what happened to Microsoft around the time of Windows Vista, Goeldi wrote, and Apple's going down the same road with iOS 7. In light of what he views as Apple's sclerosis, it wasn't difficult for him to abandon his iPhone in favor of a Google Android ecosystem. But is Apple really becoming the next Microsoft? In short: no. Apple seems to recognize everything that seemed to elude Microsoft's corporate thinking six years ago: namely, that even the most successful companies need to keep breaking into new categories, and keep innovating, if they want to stay ahead of hungry rivals. Rumors have persisted for quite some time that Apple is prepping big pushes into wearable electronics and televisions, both of which could prove lucrative strategies if executed correctly. Goeldi faults iOS 7 for its frosted-glass effects, which he compares to those of Vista; but similar graphical elements aside, it's unlikely that iOS 7 will run into the same complaints over hardware requirements, compatibility, security, and so much more that greeted Vista upon its release. In fact, iOS 7 isn't even finished."
Back in June, the U.S. International Trade Commission issued an import ban on the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 3G due to patent violations. Now, the White House has exercised its privilege to overrule the ban. In his letter to the ITC (PDF), Ambassador Michael Froman said 'he was not making a decision about the merits of Samsung's case, or its right to seek compensation. Rather, he emphasized that because the patent in question was now a widely held technology standard, banning the products in question would be too disruptive to consumers and the economy.' This is the first time an ITC decision has been overruled since 1987.
bsk_cw writes "This article takes a long look at four major consumer tech ecosystems — Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft — and examine how well (or badly) they're serving up their media. The authors talk about how each company approaches gaming, music, video, books, etc., and how each integrates all its parts into some kind of whole. The conclusion? That none of the four can be said to be the best in all things, but they're certainly trying."
DavidGilbert99 writes "Apple's iOs has been known as a bastion of security for many years, but three researchers have now shown iPhones and iPads can be hacked in just under 60 seconds using nothing more than a charger. OK, so it's not just a charger — but the Mactans charger does delete an official app (say Facebook) replacing it with an official-looking one which is actually malware which could access your contacts, messages, emails, phone calls and even capture your passwords. Apple says it will fix the flaw, but not until the release of iOS 7, the date of which hasn't been confirmed yet. So watch out for chargers left lying around ..." (For less in the way of auto-playing video ads with sound, check out the Mac Observer's take, which concludes "[I]t's nifty that Apple is addressing the issue in iOS 7. We'd also like to see it fixed in iOS 6. Apple has historically seen iPhone users upgrade to the newest version iOS in staggeringly high numbers, but eliminating this problem across the board seems the wiser choice.")
itwbennett writes "A pair of decisions by Motorola and Ubuntu to settle for 'good enough' when it comes to screen resolution for the Ubuntu Edge and the Moto X raises the question: Have we reached the limit of resolution improvements that people with average vision can actually notice?" Phone vs. laptop vs. big wall-mounted monitor seems an important distinction; the 10-foot view really is different.
freddienumber13 writes "In another patent surprise, a patent application by Apple for pinch-to-zoom has been rejected by the USPTO on the grounds that its claims were either anticipated by previous patents or simply unpatentable. This will be welcome news for Samsung, who back in April asked for a stay of the trial. However, Apple has a short period of time in which they can appeal this finding."
aitikin writes "Former Apple employees say the company requires workers to stand around without pay for up to 30 minutes a day while waiting for managers to search their bags for stolen merchandise." The filing. It looks pretty illegal: mandatory unpaid checks of personal belongings before and after work and all breaks.
AmiMoJo writes "Technology giant Apple is facing fresh allegations of worker rights violations at Chinese factories of one of its suppliers, the Pegatron Group. China Labor Watch has alleged that three factories of Pegatron violate a 'great number of international and Chinese laws and standards.' These include underage labour, contract violations and excessive working hours. Li Qiang, executive director of China Labor Watch, claimed that 'our investigations have shown that labour conditions at Pegatron factories are even worse than those at Foxconn factories.' The campaign group said that it had found that average weekly working hours in the three factories investigated by it were approximately 66 hours, 67 hours, and 69 hours, respectively."
colinneagle writes "AllThingsD reported that Bob Mansfield, Apple's Senior Vice President of Technologies, has disappeared from the executive management team at Apple. But it was only last October when Mansfield was widely reported to have been convinced to return from retirement by Apple CEO Tim Cook for a two-year stint. His return to the company may have been cut short on account of Apple's continued reliance on Samsung for its mobile SOC processors, for which Apple paid an estimated $10 billion to Samsung last year. Mansfield's group was to have played a major role in this, and apparently it has not been able effect this change."
An anonymous reader writes with this interesting snippet about the state of mobile tech in China: "Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook believes that 'over the arc of time' China is a huge opportunity for his pathbreaking company. But time looks to be on the side of rival Samsung Electronics, which has been around far longer and penetrated much deeper into the world's most populous country. Apple this week said its revenue in Greater China, which also includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, slumped 43 per cent to $4.65 billion from the previous quarter. That was also 14 per cent lower from the year-ago quarter. Sales were weighed down by a sharp drop in revenues from Hong Kong. "It's not totally clear why that occurred," Cook said on a conference call with analysts. Neither is it totally clear what Apple's strategy is to deal with Samsung – not to mention a host of smaller, nimbler Chinese challengers."
Jeremiah Cornelius writes "After signing a $30 million iPad deal with Apple in June, the Los Angeles School Board of Education has revealed the full extent of the program that will provide tablets to all students in the district. CiteWorld reports that the first phase of the program will see pupils receive 31,000 iPads this school year, rising to 640,000 Apple tablets by the end of 2014. Apple previously announced that the initiative would include 47 campuses and commence in the fall." Certain companies (not just Apple) stand to benefit from this kind of outlay.
An anonymous reader writes "Apple's had a small, very secretive office in Cambridge, MA for a few months now. And we finally know what they're doing: Building a team that works on speech technology for Siri. Sure, it's interesting for Apple to have a remote engineering team. And hiring from MIT is a no-brainer. But here's why this is a bigger deal: Apple has always relied on Nuance, a Boston-area company, for the speech-recognition technology behind Siri. By branching out with its own speech team — stocked with former Nuance scientists, no less — Apple could very well be signaling a move away from relying on Nuance for this core technology. And the speech wars are just heating up: Microsoft and Amazon both have speech engineering offices in the Boston area too."
After a Chinese woman was earlier this month evidently electrocuted while talking on her iPhone while it was plugged in to charge, Apple is warning users to avoid counterfeit chargers. From CNet: "Last week, reports surfaced in China that suggested the woman, Ma Ailun, might have been using a third-party charger designed to look like the real thing. Although third-party chargers are not uncommon, they vary widely in terms of safety and quality. Earlier this year, safety consulting and certification company UL issued a warning that counterfeit Apple USB chargers were making the rounds and that consumers should be on the lookout for them due to their lower quality and possibly dangerous defects. The company posted the guidance on its site after a woman was allegedly electrocuted while answering a call on her iPhone."
New submitter transam writes "After a long stint at Apple doing all kinds of Unix-y goodness, Jordan Hubbard has moved onto iXsystems to lead engineering and development, including heading up the FreeNAS project. Apple's loss is their gain."
MojoKid writes "In addition to the anticipated performance gains that Intel's new Haswell CPU architecture might bring to the table for their new MacBook Air, there are additional component-level upgrades that Apple baked in to their latest ultra-light notebook; namely a higher capacity 54 Whr battery and a PCI Express-based Solid State Drive (SSD). Apple still hasn't seen fit to up the ante on the MacBook Air's display, opting instead to stick with the 1440x900 TN panel carried over from the previous generation 13-inch machine, with the 11-inch variant sporting a 1366x768 native res. But in terms of performance, this is Apple's fastest Air yet, with storage throughput in excess of 700MB/sec for reads and 400MB/sec for writes, along with graphics horsepower that rivals entry level discrete GPUs, thanks to Intel's HD Graphic 5000 core in Haswell. Battery life has been improved dramatically as well, with the new Air lasting over 9 hrs on a charge, playing back 1080p video content. Apple also reduced their MSRP by $100 versus last year's model." Not too bad at around $1100. The 54Wh battery looks it improves the portability a bit.
New submitter marcushoward writes in with news of Apple's quarterly results. From the article: "Apple on Tuesday reported fiscal third-quarter revenues of $35.3 billion and profits of $6.9 billion, or $7.47 per share. The revenue number is basically even with Apple’s results from a year ago, but its profits were off by almost $2 billion. Revenues were mostly in line with Wall Street’s expectations of $35.09 billion and slightly above its earnings per share expectation of around $7.31. Apple itself had predicted revenues between $33.5 billion and $35.5 billion." Compared to this quarter last year, sales of Macs are about even, iPad sales dipped slightly (14.6 million vs 16 million), and iPhone sales are up quite a bit (31 million vs 26 million).
An anonymous reader writes "Apple has informed developers that an intruder gained access to its developer site database. Quoted email from Apple: 'Last Thursday, an intruder attempted to secure personal information of our registered developers from our developer website. Sensitive personal information was encrypted and cannot be accessed, however, we have not been able to rule out the possibility that some developers' names, mailing addresses, and/or email addresses may have been accessed. In the spirit of transparency, we want to inform you of the issue. We took the site down immediately on Thursday and have been working around the clock since then. In order to prevent a security threat like this from happening again, we're completely overhauling our developer systems, updating our server software, and rebuilding our entire database. We apologize for the significant inconvenience that our downtime has caused you and we expect to have the developer website up again soon.'"
wiredmikey writes "Despite fevered arguments that iOS is more secure than Android, and that Android offers developers more options than iOS, a study has found that both platforms are equally as invasive and curious when it comes to collecting user data. Security firm BitDefender analyzed more than 522,000 apps over the past year and focused on the 'intrusive behaviors' the app developer may have included in the product, such as tracking location, reading contact lists, and leaking your email address or device ID. According to Catalin Cosi, iOS applications appear to be more focused on harvesting private data than the ones designed for Android. Cosi did acknowledge that Android apps state all the permissions needed at installation time and there is no way to change the settings afterwards, while iOS permissions are requested at run-time, as the specific resource is used, making iOS a little bit more secure in practice."