Archive for the ‘apple’ Category

Apple loses patent case appeal, owes VirnetX $440M in FaceTime dispute

January 16th, 2019
Group Facetime for up to 32 simultaneous participants, coming to iOS 12.1.

Group Facetime for up to 32 simultaneous participants, coming to iOS 12.1. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

A federal appeals court has upheld a landmark patent judgment brought by VirnetX against Apple, affirming a $440 million judgment in a years-long patent dispute.

On Tuesday, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied Apple's efforts to overturn a 2016 verdict that imposed $302 million in damages. That figure has since risen to encompass enhanced damages, interest, and more. Many would dub the Nevada-based VirnetX a "patent troll," as it has no meaningful source of income outside of patent litigation.

Previously, a jury found that Apple's VPN on Demand and FaceTime features infringed VirnetX patents. But the Patent Trial and Appeal Board has already invalidated VirnetX's patents, which VirnetX is appealing.

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Posted in apple, patent, Policy, VirnetX | Comments (0)

Apple releases official battery cases for iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR

January 16th, 2019

Today, Apple quietly began taking orders for battery-equipped cases for all three 2018 iPhone models—iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. The value proposition and designs are essentially the same as with battery cases made by Apple for prior iPhones.

As pictured above, each phone gets a black and a white option. The cases are made of silicone and closely resemble the existing, not-battery-equipped silicone cases that began shipping with the phones first became available late last year, except for the significant bumps on the lower two thirds of the backs of each case. The bump houses the battery, of course. Since the three phones are each different sizes, these cases are not interchangeable between models.

These cases work with Qi wireless chargers, and you can charge both the case and the phone at the same time from said chargers—though it should probably be said that Qi speeds on iPhones are nothing to write home about, and that's a whole lot of lithium-ion battery to fill up. In many cases, you'll be better off going wired, and that's OK, because the cases support fast-charging from USB-PD compatible chargers.

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Posted in apple, Apple Store, battery, Battery cases, cases, iphone, iphone cases, iPhone XR, iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max, Tech | Comments (0)

Millions of customers will now pay more for Netflix—here’s how much

January 15th, 2019
Netflix company headquarters in Los Gatos, California.

Enlarge / Netflix company headquarters in Los Gatos, California. (credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Another round of Netflix price hikes is upon us. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Netflix will increase the prices of all of its subscription plans, effective immediately, for all new customers. Existing customers will see their rates increase over the next three months.

Netflix's most popular plan, which lets users stream HD content on two screens simultaneously, will now cost $13 per month. That's an 18-percent increase from its previous $11 monthly price. Netflix's premium plan, which includes HD and UHD streaming on up to four screens simultaneously, will now cost $16, up from $14 monthly. The most affordable Netflix option, the "basic" plan, increases by $1, from $8 per month to $9.

Netflix last increased its prices at the end of 2017, but only its standard and premium plans were affected. This time around, all three plans will cost more, resulting in a price hike that affects all US Netflix users. According to the report, the rate increase will allow Netflix "more flexibility to continue its aggressive spending on content."

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Posted in amazon, apple, Disney, Netflix, prime video, streaming, Tech, video streaming | Comments (0)

Apple’s HomePod officially goes on sale in China on January 18

January 14th, 2019
Apple's HomePod is the most hyped-up home speaker to hit the market in a long time.

Enlarge / Apple's HomePod is the most hyped-up home speaker to hit the market in a long time. (credit: Jeff Dunn)

Those who have been waiting for Apple's smart speaker to officially come to China won't have to wait much longer. Apple announced that it will start selling HomePod in mainland China and Hong Kong starting this Friday, January 18. Homepod is already available in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, and Spain.

Customers in China and Hong Kong have reportedly been able to snag HomePods from third-party sellers for some time. But now Apple will sell the smart speaker through its sanctioned channels in the region. The speaker won't come cheap, though—HomePod will cost RMB 2,799, or about $414 (in the US, it costs $349).

Apple announced its smart speaker in 2017 as a competitor to Amazon's Echo devices. HomePod won't have any major new features for Asian markets, so it will continue to be a speaker that services up Apple Music tracks with Siri voice commands. However, Asian customers can take advantage of HomePod's support for Mandarin and Cantonese (which came via an update in December) and AirPlay's support for local streaming services and music apps such as QQ Music, DeDao, KKBOX, and JOOX.

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Posted in alexa, amazon, apple, apple music, china, HomePod, iphone, Smart Speaker, Tech | Comments (0)

VLC media player will add AirPlay support, soon reach three billion downloads

January 11th, 2019
VLC on the Mac.

Enlarge / VLC on the Mac. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Popular open source video and audio player software VLC will add support for Apple's AirPlay streaming feature soon, according to statements given by the app's development team to Variety.

VLC also provided the following statement to The Verge to comment on the timeline and clarify some specifics of the AirPlay rollout:

Just like with Chromecast, we intend to support AirPlay on any platform. There is no release date yet at all. We would like it to be part of VLC 4, which is the next major release we are currently working on. We will let you know in advance once we define a date.

The VLC development team added support for Chromecast, Google's AirPlay equivalent, in 2018. Apple has sometimes offered AirPlay on non-Apple devices before—on the Sonos One for example—but this year's CES has been marked by some notable expansions, particularly in televisions. Many new televisions from Samsung, LG, and others will now support AirPlay and some Apple services.

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Posted in AirPlay, apple, CES, Tech, VLC | Comments (0)

2019 iPhones: Three new handsets, one with a triple-rear-camera setup

January 11th, 2019
The iPhone Xs in its myriad colors.

Enlarge / The iPhone XR in its myriad colors. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

As the new year kicks off, we already have rumors swirling about the next round of iPhones to come from Apple. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Apple plans to release three new iPhones this year, two models with OLED displays and one model with an LCD display.

The sounds familiar, but the newest features may come in their cameras. Reportedly, the highest-end iPhone will have three rear cameras, while the other two models will have dual rear-camera setups.

Apple's purported focus on cameras show it wants to keep the iPhone with rival smartphones that heavily emphasize the importance of photography chops. Many Android handsets, including Google's Pixel 3 XL, combine hardware and software to produce some of the best photos we've seen from any smartphone. Also, rivals including Samsung and Huawei continue to tweak the rear-camera setups on their flagships, putting triple- or quadruple-camera systems in some of the newest models.

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Posted in apple, Camera, iPhone XR, iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max, iPhones, smartphones, Tech, WSJ | Comments (0)

Tim Cook points at new services and health-tech propelling Apple’s future

January 9th, 2019
Apple CEO Tim Cook delivering a speech.

Enlarge / Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC) in Brussels. (credit: European Data Protection Supervisor)

In an interview with CNBC's Jim Cramer, Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted at what we can expect to see from the iPhone maker in the short- and long-term future. Namely, Cook confirmed that Apple will debut new services in 2019 even if the CEO didn't divulge any details.

Apple's services business, which currently includes Apple Music, iTunes, the App Store, and other entities, brings a lot of money into the company. Last quarter, the services business hit a milestone of $10 billion in revenue, and Apple shows no signs of slowing down.

"We built a services business that was, you know, a little over $7 billion in 2010," Cook said in the CNBC interview. "Last year, for the calendar year, over $41 billion.... We've said that, you know, we're gonna double the 2016 numbers by 2020."

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Posted in apple, CNBC, Tech, Tim Cook | Comments (0)

New Samsung Smart TVs will soon have iTunes built in, support AirPlay 2

January 7th, 2019
New Samsung Smart TVs will soon have iTunes built in, support AirPlay 2

Enlarge (credit: Samsung)

Two of tech's biggest rivals are working together: Apple and Samsung partnered to make it easier for people to watch iTunes content. In an announcement coming out of CES 2019, the companies stated that 2018 and 2019 Samsung Smart TVs will gain the ability to play iTunes movies and TV shows this year, along with AirPlay 2 support. Last year's Samsung Smart TV models will get these new features via a firmware update, while all 2019 models will come with them built in.

A new, dedicated app for iTunes holds all users' movies and TV shows purchased through Apple's service. The app will appear in a carousel along with other services including Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video.

Previously, iTunes video playback was limited to the iTunes app on Apple devices and Windows PCs, as well as the Apple TV set-top box. That severely limits users' access to movies and shows they purchased from Apple, considering all the new ways people can consume digital content today (smart TVs, set-top boxes, mobile apps, to name a few). Now, users will be able to log into their iTunes accounts and play movies and shows directly from their Samsung Smart TV, without needing a dedicated Apple device.

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Posted in apple, Apple TV, CES, CES 2019, iTunes, Samsung, Samsung TV, streaming, Tech | Comments (0)

Withings undercuts Apple Watch, debuts $129 ECG monitoring smartwatch

January 7th, 2019
Withings undercuts Apple Watch, debuts $129 ECG monitoring smartwatch

Enlarge (credit: Withings)

Withings has had a tumultuous couple of years. The company was bought by Nokia only to be re-acquired by its original owner Éric Carreel last May. While it sells smart scales, thermometers, and other health electronics, the French company has an uphill battle ahead of it in the wearable space thanks to an oversaturated market. But it's aiming high with its newest device: the $129 Withings Move ECG targets those who want a more affordable device to measure electrocardiograms at home than the $350 Apple Watch.

Like Withings wearables of yesteryear, the Move ECG has an analog face but includes most of the smart technology inside that you'd expect from a modern wearable. The kickers are its three electrodes that measure electrocardiograms, two of which are embedded into the body of the watch while the third sits in the watch's bezel. To take a reading, users need to touch both sides of the bezel at the same time while wearing the watch and wait about 30 seconds for it to take a measurement.

The process sounds nearly identical to that of the Apple Watch Series 4, which has one circular electrode on its underside and one smaller electrode on its Digital Crown. The Move ECG sends that data to Withings' Health Mate mobile app so you can see if your heart beat was normal or if any signs of atrial fibrillation were detected. Data accumulated over time can be seen in larger charts and graphs in the app, and that data can be exported so users can easily share it with their doctors. As of today's announcement, the Move ECG is currently under review for FDA clearance (the Apple Watch Series 4's ECG app and its irregular rhythm notification have FDA clearance in the US).

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Posted in apple, apple watch, atrial fibrillation, CES 2019, ECG, heart rate, move ecg, Tech, Withings | Comments (0)

Report: Huawei punishes employees behind embarrassing iPhone tweet

January 4th, 2019
The Huawei Mate S.

The Huawei Mate S.

When you tweet, your tweet will often be marked with details about the specific client software and computing device used to create the tweet. And this can be a source of major embarrassment for people who do social media work for smartphone manufacturers.

In the final minutes of 2018, the official @Huawei account wished everyone happy New Year. It was a nice enough sentiment, but people quickly noticed that it was posted using an iPhone—which is awkward when the whole purpose of the account is to promote Huawei's phones.

Huawei deleted the tweet, but not before people captured screenshots of it.

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Posted in apple, Huawei, iphone, Tech, Twitter | Comments (0)