June 24, 2012
Applesauce: All Thing Apple – June 24, 2012
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com
When WWDC is over, the world turns to sue Apple. And so goes life. Let´s have Applesauce for dinner!
This was the week of Apple law as Apple news seemingly took a week off after WWDC 2012. Sure, there was an obligatory rumor or two, but mostly, the big stories involving Apple this week were about their many different legal battles. Or, at least, 2 of them.
Starting with Apple´s Best Frenemies, Samsung actually scored some points in their ongoing tussle and may actually earn a modest purse from the battle as well. In retaliation of Apple´s original law suit (you know the one, “slavishly copying our design“¦”) Samsung decided they´d sue Apple for infringing on some of their 3G patents, which involve "power reduction during data transmission, 3G technology for reducing errors during data transmission, and wireless data communication technology.” You know, the usual.
This is a small win for the Korean Smartphone maker, but a win nonetheless. After all, the District Court in The Hague has already denied their request for a ban of Apple devices as well as made them list their 3G patents as FRAND, or Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory. On Wednesday, Samsung finally got something from their suit: The promise of Cold, Hard Cash.
Reveling in their joy, a spokesperson for Samsung told Dutch website All About Phones, “Samsung welcomes the decision of the court in The Hague, which again confirms that Apple makes free use of our technological innovations. In accordance with this statement, we will recover adequate damages that Apple and its products have caused.”
According to the district court, Apple´s iPhones 3G, 3GS, and 4, as well as iPads 1 and 2 are all in violation of Samsung´s 3G FRAND patents. As such, Samsung will be paid damages dating back to August 4, 2010.
According to the court, this is the date Apple became aware they were infringing upon Samsung´s patents.
It´s interesting, then, that this whole hubbub didn´t begin until April 2011.
Clearly, I´m no lawyer or CEO. Perhaps Samsung decided to turn a blind eye to this infringement until it became convenient for them?
Elsewhere in Apple´s holy war against the great unwashed Android, a Chicago judge finally started hearing the cases between the iPhone and Razr makers. Google´s Motorola and Apple were set to take their pleas for their respective injunctions to the Judge 2 weeks ago, but were met with a touch of ambiguity. During some pre-trial meetings, Judge Posner seemed a little dubious as to whether the companies had reasonable claims. Because of his doubts, some reported that Posner had washed his hands of the entire ordeal.
As such, many were surprised last week when Posner decided he would, in fact, hear the cases between the two companies, starting with Apple on the 20th. According to Reuters, Judge Posner had some tough questions for Apple´s counsel as they tried to grab whatever foothold they could in the case. From going back and forth on his decisions to grilling the companies on their claims and motives, it seems Posner is quite tired of this entire case, if not the state of the patent system altogether, but that´s pure conjecture“¦
"That's all we need is new actions, new suits, because there's not enough litigation worldwide between Apple and Android," said Posner.
"You can't just assume that because someone has a patent, he has some deep moral right to exclude everyone else.”
Apple´s attorney Matthew Powers told Reuters this week that Apple isn´t looking to block the sales of Motorola devices in the US; they simply want them to remove the infringed patents within 3 months.
"It means we're not competing with them where they are using our technology against us," Powers said.
The exciting patent in question involves making sure real-time videos stream without glitches.
Apple´s suit against Microsoft is the first in Steve Jobs´ epic battle against his blood enemies, Google. Now that Google owns Motorola, it´s likely the ghost of Jobs haunts the Chicago court house, wringing his hands in anticipation.
Finally, Apple has shut the door on their legal woes in Australia as a Federal Court has handed down a A$2.25 Million fine to the company from Cupertino. In addition, they will also be asked to pay for the legal fees racked up by the ACCC, the organization which took them to court over their tricky little iPad 4G device.
I´m sure you remember what got their knickers in a bundle...
(I checked“¦according to AllDownUnder.com, Australians ALSO refer to ladies undergarments as knickers. Knowledge.)
Apple´s new iPad says 4G, but it can only tap into these magical high-speeds in North America. So, when the hordes of Aussies stormed their Apple stores to be the first to get their hands on the latest iPad, they quickly noticed their local 4G carrier, Telstra doesn´t operate their 4G LTE network on the same frequency on the iPad. These customers could still access fast HSPA+ speeds, of course, but I suppose that´s splitting hairs.
The ACCC and Apple tried to settle out of court, the ACCC asking Apple to do things they would never do, and Apple saying they were only willing to offer a refund to any angry Aussies who asked for one.
A few back-and-forths later and Apple had finally knuckled under, agreeing to change the name of their device from Wi-Fi+4G to Wi-Fi+Cellular.
A$2.25 million converts pretty closely to American, so they´ll be paying the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission a pretty hefty fine as well as footing the bill for their legal fees.
What´s interesting about this news are the not-so-subtle comments made by Justice Mordecai Bromberg. Either the Australian Federal Court judge is an Android fan or simply felt like taking full advantage of his 15 minutes, but he made several statements that weren´t entirely warranted, in my opinion. Sure, companies and countries are keen to stand up to Apple before they have a chance to pull some sort of akido move, but does the misunderstanding of the way 4G works warrant his saying Apple tried to deceive Australians?
"It is not possible to say with any certainty how many Australian consumers were misled by Apple's use of the term 4G ... nor is it possible to discern the level of disappointment involved for those consumers who were misled.”
With chests puffed in pride, ACCC chairman Rod Sims told The Herald, "This decision should act as a renewed warning that the ACCC will continue to take action against traders who take risks in their advertising, regardless of their size."
Yeah, take that, Apple. I´d be interested to know just how many Aussies decided to take Apple up on their refund offer. I bet it´s less than 100.
Again, straight conjecture.
Lover, You Should Have Come Over
Speaking of holding on to an Apple product, even though you publicly claim to hate it, I wanted to give a quick mention to one Frank M. Faizo from New York.
Mr. Faizo is the guy who has decided to sue Apple because Siri didn´t work as well as he wanted it to.
You´re familiar with all those nonsensical disclaimers attached to commercials and products, right? Not just Apple, either“¦any disclaimer. Such as “Hot Wheels Cars do not actually fly,” or “Shredded Mini Wheats do not actually talk”?
Mr. Faizo is the reason those ridiculous disclaimers exist.
From what it sounds like, Mr. Faizo asked Siri a few questions, likely the first questions you always ask Siri; “Where am I?”, “Who are you?”, “Where can I find a New York slice?”
Displeased with the time it took her to respond, Ol´ Franky decided to try and get a class action law suit going against Apple.
Notice, he wasn´t harmed in any way by Siri, nor was he led astray. To quote the court papers directly, “when (Faizo) asked Siri for directions to a certain place or to locate a store, Siri either didn´t understand what (Faizo) was asking, or, after a very long time, responded with the wrong answer.”
So he sues Apple.
He didn´t do the “right” thing by giving Apple the chance to make it right and take his phone back to Best Buy for a full refund“¦which he could have done.
Hell, he could have even let the poor bastard behind the counter have a piece of his mind, shouting and spitting at him in a thick New York accent. That´s what every Yankee dreams of, right?
Nope, doing the right thing didn´t have the “earnings potential” that starting a class action suit did.
So Franky boy picks up his iPhone and calls a lawyer...To file a complaint about how his iPhone doesn´t work.
Hey, keep up the good work, Mr. Faizo. And thanks for all the asinine disclaimers and warnings I have to see every day, like the ones in the men´s´ room about how pregnant women shouldn´t drink. Thank you.
I couldn´t, in my right mind, call this “Applesauce” if there weren´t some news about Microsoft´s Surface. Pardon, their “recycled” Surface.
It was a slick move, to be sure, thinking they could slip that one by us.
So what was most odd about the Surface announcement? Was it the near line-by-line similarity to the iPad announcement?
The way Microsoft hailed themselves as a hardware company, then boasting about their 80s mouse and 90s keyboard?
Perhaps it was the way they´ve built so much of their business on software and yet, didn´t show off a single piece of their own software, on the device?
It´s likely all these things and more, to be honest.
So, Microsoft decided they were going to release their own tablet, partners be dammed. I don´t want to say there are so many things wrong with this device just yet because, well, no one has had a chance to touch it. But we´ll circle back to that.
The key points here are as follows:
A. Microsoft introduced 2 tablets, one for their Windows 8 RT and one for their Windows 8 Pro. They´ll be sized and priced as appropriate by their name.
B. These tablets can be paired with either a Touch Cover or a Type Cover. Bearing a Samsung´s resemblance to Apple´s Smart Cover, these accessories not only “cover” your device, they also act as a fully-functional keyboard, either with physical, tactile keys or multi-touch interface. Both covers also have a full track pad.
C. There´s a kickstand. And it´s supposed to close with a satisfying click oh-so-reminiscent of the closing of a car door.
(In their presentation, Panos Panay made a big deal out of how much time and attention they paid to getting the frequencies of this kickstand just-so in order to get that closed car door feeling. I wanted to spend some time here, ribbing the Redmond team for wasting their energy on something so typically Android/Microsoft as a kickstand“¦then I remembered Sir Ive´s similar pride in the asymmetrical fan. You get a pass this time, Microsoft.)
In my reading, I´ve seen two main reactions surface from the onlookers. Either “Look out Apple! Microsoft is finally going to kill you with their USB port and their Kickstand!” or “Seriously? No price, no release date, no reporters touched the thing“¦”
I, as you might expect, agree more with the latter sentiment.
At best, the Microsoft Surface for Windows RT and Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 Pro are interesting ideas.
At worst, they're another embarrassing hiccup for a company who has been doing really well lately, what with their Metro UI and Woz-Approved phones.
I just couldn´t help but notice they never actually showed off the namesake software on these majestic devices, damning their OEMs as they went along.
What now happens to Dell, HP, or Lenovo?
There have been several comparisons to Apple´s first iPad announcement. I think it went off more like RIM´s first tablet announcement, especially in the sense that neither company let the press touch the device. In fact, there were even rumors that the PlayBook held on stage by RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis wasn´t actually a functional unit. Microsoft even told the press present at the event that they wanted them to get their hands on the devices“¦then didn´t let them touch it.
Microsoft said these tablets (which one do I buy? RT? Pro? Touch or Type Cover?) would be priced “competitively,” though rumor has it today that they´ll start at $599 and $999. Maybe they´ll be available in time for the holidays? Maybe they´ll royally anger their partners?
Who knows, it´s Microsoft. You can pretty much expect anything at this point.
Alright, let´s cool off with a pleasant round of iPhone rumors, shall we?
The biggest piece of news/not news we received this week was about Apple´s alleged new 19-pin connector. While not announced or confirmed by Apple themselves, the sleuthing team over at TechCruch have “independently verified” Apple is working on a new port for their iDevices.
The current and familiar 30-pin has been around since the early days of the iPod and, as such, has reached full saturation by any standards. Sure, Samsung tried to make one that looks identical, but most people in developed countries can immediately recognize one of these 30-pin cords and/or docks as an Apple piece.
If TechCrunch is right, this could be another way Apple is getting rid of ports in the name of thinness. After all, the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display shed its Ethernet port in order to slough off a few millimeters.
If you haven´t figured it out yet, Apple is the kind of company who has no problem discarding technology in the name of design and innovation, likely in that order.
So TechCrunch says the new connector will be smaller and thinner, resembling a Thunderbolt port, but not quite. Then. leaving a comment on their page like a filthy commoner, Mr. Robert Scoble, (a name most often associated with all things Redmond) agreed with TechCrunch´s claims, taking the rumor one step further, saying he has heard the new port could have MagSafe-like magnets in them as well.
Not to be left out, Website Mobile Fun posted some pictures which greatly resemble the leaked images and video we´ve already poured over.
For those keeping score at home, it seems everyone pretty much assumes the next iPhone will be 58.47 mm wide, 123.83 mm high and 7.6 mm thin, the headphone jack will be moved to the bottom (another first) and the new connector will be similar in size to a Thunderbolt port.
Keep your eyes on the prize, friends, and your guidance straight and true.
And remember, you can find all the latest news in the world of Apple here at redOrbit.com