Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
snydeq writes "A federal jury in Delaware has found Apple's iPhone infringes on three patents held by MobileMedia, a patent-holding company formed by Sony, Nokia and MPEG LA, InfoWorld reports. The jury found that the iPhone directly infringed U.S. patent 6,070,068, which was issued to Sony and covers a method for controlling the connecting state of a call, U.S. patent 6,253,075, which covers call rejection, and U.S. patent 6,427,078, which covers a data processing device. MobileMedia has garnered the unflattering descriptor "patent troll" from some observers. The company, which was formed in 2010, holds some 300 patents in all."
turbosaab writes "A woman who said she was asked to leave New Hampshire's Pheasant Lane Mall because she wanted to buy too many iPhones was pinned down by Nashua police and zapped by a Taser (video) as she shrieked in front of crowds of shoppers Tuesday. The Chinese woman from Newton, Mass blamed a language barrier for the confrontation outside the Apple Store in the Pheasant Lane Mall Tuesday afternoon. Police say Li knew exactly what they were telling her and simply refused to comply. Police said Li had $16,000 in cash in her purse at the time of her arrest and may have been purchasing the phones for unauthorized export resale."
hcs_$reboot writes "After the disastrous Apple Maps replacement over Google Maps in September, Google has a Maps app on iOS approved and released by Apple today. The app includes turn-by-turn directions, vector-based graphics and live traffic data. It's available from the Apple Store for iPhone and iPod touch (and iPad — iPhone format)." Adds reader snowtigger: "It's a sharper looking, vector-based map that loads quickly and provides smooth tilting and rotating of 2D and 3D views. Google also released the Google Maps SDK for iOS, and a simple URL scheme to help developers use Google Maps when building their beautiful and innovative apps. The new Google Maps app is available for the iPhone and iPod Touch (4th gen) iOS 5.1 and higher, in more than 40 countries and 29 languages." SlashCloud points out that Apple's own maps will be forced to improve as a consequence: "Directions will become more accurate, major towns and landmarks will appear in their proper places. But now that a free, standalone Google Maps app is available for download from Apple’s App Store, will iOS users even give those improving Apple Maps a chance?"
An anonymous reader writes "Sources tell All Things D that Apple and Microsoft are at loggerheads over the cut Apple is expected to take of Office 365 subscriptions sold through Microsoft Office for iOS, which is expected to launch sometime next year. An update to Microsoft's SkyDrive app has been rejected after the company was 'pushing Apple to adjust the 70/30 revenue split in its developer license agreement. Predictably, Apple has refused to comply. It’s not yet clear what sort of concession Microsoft is seeking, but whatever it is, Apple’s evidently not willing to consider it.'"
First time accepted submitter jsherring writes "Police in Victoria, Australia warn that Apple's glitch-filled Maps app could get someone killed, after motorists looking for the Victorian city of Mildura were instead guided to a wilderness area. Relying on Apple Maps to navigate through rural Australia seems rather foolish but it has become common practice to rely on GPS navigation. Besides reverting to google maps, perhaps Apple should provide strong warnings to use other navigation sources if navigating to remote locations."
dcblogs writes "Apple's planned investment of $100 million next year in a U.S. manufacturing facility is relatively small, but still important. A 2009 Apple video of its unibody manufacturing process has glimpses of highly automated robotic systems shaping the metal. In it, Jonathan Ive, Apple's senior vice president of design, described it. 'Machining enables a level of precision that is just completely unheard of in this industry,' he said. Apple has had three years to improve its manufacturing technology, and will likely rely heavily on automation to hold down labor costs, say analysts and manufacturers. Larry Sweet, the CTO of Symbotic, which makes autonomous mobile robots for use in warehouse distribution, described a possible scenario for Apple's U.S. factory. First, a robot loads the aluminum block into the robo-machine that has a range of tools for cutting and drilling shapes to produce the complex chassis as a single precision part. A robot then unloads the chassis and sends it down a production line where a series of small, high-precision, high-speed robots insert parts, secured either with snap fit, adhesive bonds, solder, and a few fasteners, such as screws. At the end, layers, such as the display and glass, are added on top and sealed in another automated operation. Finally, the product is packaged and packed into cases for shipping, again with robots. "One of the potentially significant things about the Apple announcement is it could send a message to American companies — you can do this — you can make this work here," said Robert Atkinson, president of The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation."
An anonymous reader writes "After having Wine to run Windows binaries on Linux, there is now the Darling Project that allows users to run unmodified Apple OS X binaries on Linux. The project builds upon GNUstep and has built the various frameworks/libraries to be binary compatible with OSX/Darwin. The project is still being worked on as part of an academic thesis but is already running basic OS X programs."
TrueSatan writes "Bloomberg reports that Apple and Google have partnered to make a bid of more than $500 million for the Kodak patent portfolio. The bid relates to Kodak's 1,100 imaging patents. 'Kodak obtained commitments for $830 million exit financing last month, contingent on its sale of the digital imaging patents for at least $500 million.' This is likely to be an opening bid, with the final figure being far larger. By comparison, a group including Apple, Microsoft, and RIM bought Nortel's 6000+ patents for $4.5 billion last year. 'Google lost the auction for those patents after making an initial offer of $900 million.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Apple's most famous multitouch software patents are increasingly coming under invalidation pressure. First the rubber-banding patent and now a patent that Apple's own lawyers planned to introduce to a Chicago jury as 'the Jobs patent.' U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949 covers a method for distinguishing vertical and horizontal gestures from diagonal movements based on an initial angle of movement. For example, everything up to a slant of 27 degrees would be considered vertical or horizontal, and everything else diagonal. The patent office now seems to think that Apple didn't invent the concept of 'heuristics' after all."
New submitter kc67 sends this report from ABC: "Five years after the iPhone originally launched in 2007, T-Mobile will finally start carrying it. It might not be as buzz-worthy as when Verizon finally got the iPhone back in 2011, but it's going to be a pretty big deal for T-Mobile subscribers next year, when the carrier starts selling Apple products. ... T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere said while speaking at the Deutsche Telekom conference Thursday that it will carry the iPhone and will offer it in a different way. 'What was missing? A certain number of customers wouldn't come to the store if we didn't have the iPhone,' Legere said. 'We worked very, very hard for a deal that made sense for us.'"
We mentioned a few days back the "Assembled in America" tag showing up on some models of Apple's iMac. Nerval's Lobster points out that in a new interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Apple CEO Tim Cook offered some details on what that means: "'Next year we are going to bring some production to the U.S. on the Mac,' Cook told the magazine. 'We've been working on this for a long time, and we were getting closer to it. It will happen in 2013. We're really proud of it. We could have quickly maybe done just assembly, but it's broader because we wanted to do something more substantial.' He also had comments about Android and current litigation against Samsung and others."
jrepin points out a discussion with Richard Stallman in which he talks about how the Free Software movement is faring in light of companies that have been successful in the long term with very different principles, like Microsoft and Apple. Stallman had this to say: "I would say the free software movement has gone about half the distance it has to travel. We managed to make a mass community but we still have a long way to go to liberate computer users. Those companies are very powerful. They are cleverly finding new ways to take control over users. ... The most widely used non-free programs have malicious features – and I’m talking about specific, known malicious features. ... There are three kinds: those that spy on the user, those that restrict the user, and back doors. Windows has all three. Microsoft can install software changes without asking permission. Flash Player has malicious features, as do most mobile phones. Digital handcuffs are the most common malicious features. They restrict what you can do with the data in your own computer. Apple certainly has the digital handcuffs that are the tightest in history. The i-things, well, people found two spy features and Apple says it removed them and there might be more. When people don’t know about this issue they choose based on immediate convenience and nothing else. And therefore they can be herded into giving up their freedom by a combination of convenient features, pressure from institutions and the network effect."
GabriellaKat writes "Via El Reg: 'Apple is trying to patent wireless charging, claiming its magnetic resonance tech is new and that it can do it better than anyone else. This would be cool if its assertions were true. Apple's application, numbered 20120303980, makes much of its ability to charge a device over the air at a distance of up to a meter, rather than requiring close proximity. The Alliance For Wireless Power, which also touts long-range juicing, will no doubt be comparing Apple's designs to its own blueprints.'"
An anonymous reader writes with news that, as predicted, the iPad only newspaper The Daily failed. From the article: "The goal of The Daily was to provide a modern spin on the news cycle by delivering world news draped in a multimedia experience. In other words, The Daily devoted a lot of resources towards adding photos, video, and touch controls to news stories that would otherwise be static. ... It was announced today that The Daily will be closing up shop on December 15 after failing to rake in the dough."