January 27, 2012

Apple granted original list-editing iPhone patent, 13 others

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 06:15 PM EST (03:15 PM PST)
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple an original iPhone patent for editing lists using touch gestures that allow for a seamless smartphone experience, as well as inventions regarding use of the handset as a portable hard drive and a filing for the company’s now defunct Bluetooth headset.

A list of thirteen original Apple patents was officially published on Wednesday by the USPTO, with a key list editing filing not only arming the company’s legal team with yet another weapon for future litigation, but also giving a glimpse into the how Apple sought to change the future of smartphones by creating a truly integrated user interface, according to Apple patent blog Patently Apple.

The original touchscreen patent, first filed for in June 2007, covers a method for displaying and managing lists on a portable multifunction device, and details a simple computer user interface controlled by finger gestures rather than a sequence of button presses and stylus touches.

What the abstract describes is the basic list management system found on current iOS devices.

Included in the patent background is a look at the state of portable devices at the time, which Apple claimed “resorted to adding more pushbuttons, increasing the density of push buttons, overloading the functions of pushbuttons, or using complex menu systems to allow a user to access, store and manipulate data.” A far cry from what the company eventually released in the original one-button iPhone.

The claim goes on to explain that devices which rely on physical pushbuttons are inherently limited in their configurability, and that a conventional user may find it frustrating to operate such an inflexible interface. As the argument slowly builds its case for touch-screens over physical buttons, Apple is quick to point out that the stylus is also obsolete.

Because such devices are designed to read the precise pinpoint contact of the stylus (when a user makes a selection on the touch screen with the stylus), making selections on the touch screen of the device without a stylus, for example, with a user’s finger, can prove to be somewhat difficult.


The filing wraps up by concluding that a more transparent UI be implemented, one that features finger input to select and manipulate on-screen items that are easy to use, configure and adapt.

As we see in current iOS devices, Apple’s answer to the “transparent UI” was to leverage another recently-granted patent for capacitive touch panels and a battery of multi-touch gestures to create a user experience that is far more customizable than physical pushbutton operation.

Along with the above list-editing patent, Apple was granted a filing regarding pairing and storage access between a handheld device and a computer which describes how the iPhone is able to be used as a portable hard drive.

Rounding out the patent list is a filing for Apple’s Bluetooth headset, which was pulled from shelves following a lukewarm reception after it was introduced shortly after the first iPhone in 2007.

AppleInsider

Today At Cult Of Android: Google Fights Fragmentation, 8″ Waterproof Tablet, And More…

Today At Cult Of Android: Google Fights Fragmentation, 8” Waterproof Tablet, And More…
What’s this? Android news on Cult of Mac?! Who the hell cares?! Maybe you don’t, maybe you do. Point is: these are a few of the popular topics going on in the Android world today. Maybe you’d like to know what the competition is up to, or perhaps your aunt received a Kindle Fire she needs to update. Regardless of the reason, having a resource such as Cult of Android allows you to learn more about what’s going on in the ecosystem powered by the world’s leading mobile OS.

Google Fights Fragmentation: Any Android 4.0+ Device With The Android Market Now Requires Unmodified Holo Theme

Android 4.0 was created to help unify Android across all devices. Yesterday, Google took that goal of unification one step further. From here on out, any device running Android 4.0 with the Android Market, will require the inclusion of the unmodified Holo theme family. The Holo theme family consists of the themes Theme.Holo, Theme.Holo.Light, and Theme.Holo.Light.DarkActionBar. You can see examples of these three themes in the above image. These requirements will help better control the rampant “fragmentation” of Android and will allow manufactures to continue using their own custom themes, while providing a familiar experience. More…

Google Acquires Another 200+ Patents From IBM

As the ongoing patent arms race continues, Google has acquired a few extra weapons courtesy of IBM. Just before the end of 2011, Google scooped up another 200+ patents from IBM, bringing the total of IBM patents acquired to just over 2000. Of course not all these patents are mobile related, but there are a few covering VOIP, NFC, and a “computer phone.” This just continues the steps Google has been taking to increase its patent portfolio and readying itself for the inevitable patent troll 2.0 that 2012 will bring. More…

The Android Market Passes 400,000 Apps, Doubles Apple’s Growth In Just 4 Short Months

The Android Market saw staggering growth in 2011 and thanks to some tracking done by Distimo, we have a better look at how the numbers play out in comparison to Android’s top competitor Apple. According to Distimo, the Android Market has now reached over 400,000 apps, which is still 100K shy of Apple’s 500K+ active apps available according to 148apps metrics. While Android still trails in overall apps, it’s really the rate at which it’s growing that is impressive. More…

Ice Cream Sandwich Debuts On Android’s Platform Distribution Chart

Our favorite tasty treat has finally made it onto the Android platform distribution chart (albeit a tiny sliver of a slice). Google puts out these distribution charts to allow developers to see who’s rocking what, when it pertains to versions of Android. This helps prioritize development and support for future and current apps. This is the first time we’re seeing Android 4.0 (actually 4.0, 4.0.2, and 4.0.3) show up in the chart, and I have to admit, it feels nice to be noticed. There’s a lot of other interesting percentage to note, so let’s take a look at which versions of Android are heading the pack and which are following behind. More…

AT&T To Launch 8″ “WaterProof” Pantech Element Ahead Of CES

While most companies are going to wait until CES to launch their newest products, AT&T appears to have other plans. BGR has received word that AT&T plans to lanuch the Pantech Element this Sunday, ahead of CES. This 8″ 4G LTE device will features an IP578 waterproof rating (which means splash resistant, not waterproof) along with: More…

Sony Ericsson Teases Us With Mysterious Device Pics Before CES

Sony Ericsson will have a strong presence this year at CES and they’re already stirring up some excitement. Over on their Facebook page they’ve posted a small collage of shots showing off a mysterious device(s) that will be unveiled at CES. We’re hoping to see the Sony Ericsson Nozomi or Xperia Arc HD revealed at CES, and some astute Xperia fans have pointed out that the camera button in this pic is on par with what could be an Xperia Arc successor (the HD perhaps). More…

Sega To Debut Virtua Tennis Challenge For Mobile Devices At CES

There’s going to be plenty of hardware debuting at CES this year, but let’s not forget that software companies will also be in the house. Sega is one such company, and they are planning to debut their Virtua Tennis Challenge for mobile devices, specifically the Sony Xperia Play. Sega has only recently broken into the mobile gaming world, but they have every intention of having a bigger presence in the near future. More…

Cult of Mac

TUAW TV Live: Steve and Doc Rock predict what’s ahead for 2012

Yeahhh, as if we know! Well, actually Doc Rock and I probably have as good a track record at predicting what is going to come out of Cupertino as some of the Wall Street analysts who have been prognosticating this week, and we’re certainly more fun to listen to.

Hawaii’s finest and I will be meeting in the virtual TUAW TV studio this afternoon / evening at 5 PM ET to try to make some sense of the foggy future, and of course we’ll be checking your commentary in the chat room.

Below, you’ll find a Ustream livestream viewer and a chat tool. The chat tool allows you to participate by asking questions or making comments.

If you’re driving somewhere and would like to watch TUAW TV Live while you’re stuck in traffic, please don’t — keep your eyes on the road! However, if someone else is doing the driving, you can watch the show on your iPhone and join the chat by downloading the free Ustream App. It’s a universal app and is wonderful on an iPad, both for viewing and participating in the chat.

We’ll start at about 5 PM ET, so if you’re seeing a prerecorded show, be sure to refresh your browser until you see the live stream. For those of you who are not able to join us for the live edition, you’ll be able to view it later this evening on our TUAW Video YouTube channel and as part of the TUAW TV Live podcast viewable in iTunes or on any of your Apple devices.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

iPad App Store hits 3 billion downloads, represents 19% of Apple’s iOS devices

By Katie Marsal

Published: 03:55 PM EST (12:55 PM PST)
There have been 3 billion downloads of App Store applications designed specifically for Apple’s iPad, representing 19 percent of all iOS App Store downloads, a new study has found.

ABI Research announced in a press release on Wednesday that it has estimated 3 billion applications have been cumulatively downloaded since the iPad first launched in 2010. The iPad represents nearly a fifth of all cumulative iOS downloads, despite the fact that it debuted nearly three years after the iPhone, and two years after the iOS App Store opened.

“Discounting all of those apps that were originally downloaded for Android smartphones, Android still trails greatly behind the iPad in terms of its tablet app offerings,” research associate Lim Shiyang said. “Many Android tablets in the market are still using older versions of Android, which disadvantages users from enjoying the better effects of apps produced from more advanced software development kits.”

ABI estimates that there are 120,000 applications that have been created specifically for the iPad available on the App Store as of the third quarter of 2011. That number and timeframe is consistent with news that surfaced last June after the number of applications on the App Store topped 100,000.

The growth of iPad-specific applications and downloads of iPad software is comparable to the explosive start the iPhone had when the App Store first opened. Apple announced that iPhone and iPod touch application downloads had topped 3 billion in early January of 2010, or less than 18 months after the App Store opened.

ABI’s tablet data does not include iPhone applications, which can also be run from the iPad but do not take advantage of the tablet’s larger 9.7-inch multi-touch display. The research firm has also predicted that Android tablets will gain more traction in terms of applications with the release of Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich,” which enhances tablet support for the mobile operating system over its predecessor, Android 3.0 “Honeycomb.”

The data comes from ABI Research’s “Mobile Applications Market Data,” which tracks mobile application downloads and revenues segmented by mobile operating system platform. Included in the database are historical data and forecasts for application downloads, as well as revenue forecast and an overview of mobile storefronts like Apple’s App Store and the Android Market.

AppleInsider

Verizon Announces Doubled iPhone Sales During 2011 Holiday Season

Verizon Announces Doubled iPhone Sales During 2011 Holiday Season

Verizon has announced record-breaking results for its 2011 fourth quarter sales. The nation’s largest carrier sold 4.2 million iPhones during the holiday season, effectively doubling sales from the previous quarter.

The iPhone 4S was launched during Q4 of 2011, and holiday sales have surely helped Verizon rise to such impressive results.

Verizon sold only 2 million iPhones in the third quarter of 2011. While this last quarter’s results are certainly fantastic for the CDMA carrier, Verizon does expect to take a hit in profits for the high subsidies it has to pay to Apple for every iPhone sold. That marginal loss will, however, be made up in the long run because of the influx in customer contracts.

During the iPhone 4S launch, Verizon said that the device was its best-selling handset. Sales of the smartphone have continued to stay strong. AT&T and Sprint have seen considerable demand for the smartphone since its release in October.

We won’t know how many total iPhones were sold in 2011”s fourth quarter until Apple gives us the numbers on January 24th.

Cult of Mac

Apple loses bid to keep information sealed in Psystar case

In its ongoing suit against unauthorized Mac clone maker Psystar, Apple has been denied in its bid to keep certain information about OS X sealed from public view. According to Bloomberg, Judge William Alsup noted that information Apple claims are “trade secrets” are already publicly available on the internet from a variety of sources.

Apple attempted to claim that although this information about OS X was already publicly available, since the company itself hadn’t confirmed its veracity the information still qualified for trade secret protection. Judge Alsup disagreed, saying, “Apple cannot have this court seal information merely to avoid confirmation that the publicly available sources got it right.”

Apple is suing Psystar for copyright infringement over Psystar producing and selling unauthorized clones of the Mac running Apple’s proprietary Mac OS X software. Apple successfully obtained a sales injunction against Psystar years ago, and that injunction was recently upheld in court — a somewhat moot point, as the company hasn’t produced any hardware since 2009.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Verizon reports sales of 4.2 million iPhones during holiday quarter

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 04:41 PM EST (01:41 PM PST)
Apple isn’t scheduled to report its holiday quarterly sales until January 24, but Verizon Wireless has just noted that it has sold 4.2 million iPhones in the last three months of 2011, double its previous quarterly figure.

Speaking at the Citi Global Entertainment Media & Communications Conference today, Verizon’s chief financial officer Fran Shammo outed his company’s iPhone sales figure (as noted by Streetinsider).

The future was more than double the 2 million iPhones Verizon sold in the previous quarter; in comparison, AT&T sold 2.7 million phones in the third calendar quarter ending in September (it hasn’t released fourth quarter sales figures yet).

In total, Apple reported sales of just over 17 million iPhones in the September quarter (its fiscal Q4 2011). Analysts had guessed Apple would reach sales of 20-22 million or more, despite the delayed released of the new iPhone 4S and the tempering affect on sales created by the expectation of a new model around the corner.

The fact that Verizon doubled its iPhone sales even as Apple’s US market was expanded to include Sprint and the smaller regional carrier C Spire Wireless indicates the combination of the iPhone 4S, a lower priced iPhone 4, and the now free with contract iPhone 3GS (which is only available on AT&T’s network in the US) has resulted in plenty of sales opportunities for every US carrier.

In its last conference call, Apple noted that it now has 130 carriers worldwide in 105 countries, and that the delay of the iPhone 4S release resulted in Q4 sales being only up 21 percent over the year ago quarter.

Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook stated, “I’m confident that we will set an all-time record for iPhones this quarter.” He added, “We’re thrilled with how we’ve gotten started (with the 4S). The feedback that we’re getting from customers is just fantastic.”

AppleInsider

Verizon reports sales of 4.2 million iPhones during holiday quarter

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 04:41 PM EST (01:41 PM PST)
Apple isn’t scheduled to report its holiday quarterly sales until January 24, but Verizon Wireless has just noted that it has sold 4.2 million iPhones in the last three months of 2011, double its previous quarterly figure.

Speaking at the Citi Global Entertainment Media & Communications Conference today, Verizon’s chief financial officer Fran Shammo outed his company’s iPhone sales figure (as noted by Streetinsider).

The future was more than double the 2 million iPhones Verizon sold in the previous quarter; in comparison, AT&T sold 2.7 million phones in the third calendar quarter ending in September (it hasn’t released fourth quarter sales figures yet).

In total, Apple reported sales of just over 17 million iPhones in the September quarter (its fiscal Q4 2011). Analysts had guessed Apple would reach sales of 20-22 million or more, despite the delayed released of the new iPhone 4S and the tempering affect on sales created by the expectation of a new model around the corner.

The fact that Verizon doubled its iPhone sales even as Apple’s US market was expanded to include Sprint and the smaller regional carrier C Spire Wireless indicates the combination of the iPhone 4S, a lower priced iPhone 4, and the now free with contract iPhone 3GS (which is only available on AT&T’s network in the US) has resulted in plenty of sales opportunities for every US carrier.

In its last conference call, Apple noted that it now has 130 carriers worldwide in 105 countries, and that the delay of the iPhone 4S release resulted in Q4 sales being only up 21 percent over the year ago quarter.

Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook stated, “I’m confident that we will set an all-time record for iPhones this quarter.” He added, “We’re thrilled with how we’ve gotten started (with the 4S). The feedback that we’re getting from customers is just fantastic.”

AppleInsider

Spotify Working On Siri Integration With Its iPhone Music App?

Spotify Working On Siri Integration With Its iPhone Music App?

It would seem that popular music streaming service Spotify is cooking something especially juicy in the voice department. Forbes is reporting that Spotify’s CEO has shown off a “hack” that involved telling the service’s iOS app to play some tunes.

In a lengthy piece on Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, Forbes notes the following:

Does he [Daniel Ek] plan on building a voice activated Spotify interface? He flashes a mischievous smile. “Play me some Coldplay,” he tells the phone. Its small speakers ring out with the opening piano chords of the band’s hit “The Scientist.” “We hacked into it a few weeks ago,” Ek says, with a satisfied nod. “I’m not an inventor. I just want to make things better.”

Spotify is also working on an official iPad app, but an ETA has not been given for its release.

(via Engadget)

Alex HeathAlex Heath is an afternoon news contributor at Cult of Mac. He also serves as an editor and contributor for the iDownloadBlog. You can find out more about him on his personal site and also follow him on Twitter.

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Cult of Mac

Apple reportedly poaches Adobe exec to head iAd division

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 04:08 PM EST (01:08 PM PST)
After an almost five month worldwide search to find a chief for its iAd division, Apple has reportedly poached a high level Adobe executive to take over the position that has been without a permanent replacement since the departure of Andy Miller last year.

Citing a yet-to-be-published Bloomberg report, Business Insider said on Wednesday that Todd Teresi has been lured away from his position of VP and GM of Media Solutions at Adobe to take the place of former Apple Vice President of Mobile Advertising Andy Miller, who left the company in August 2011.

Teresi will be an integral player in Apple’s online marketing presence when he takes over the iAd division, which the company created to give iOS developers a new outlet to monetize their products. Apple has been actively seeking a replacement since Miller left his post for a spot on the board of venture capital firm Highland Capital.

Since Miller’s departure, the Cupertino, Calif., company’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue has been temporarily overseeing the division in lieu of a suitable replacement. However, Cue already wears many hats at Apple, and is charge of a significant portion of the company’s internet-related business including iTunes, the App Store and the iBookstore.

It is unclear how Teresi will interact with Apple’s top brass as the company has undergone multiple changes since co-founder Steve Jobs’ death in October 2011. Previously, Miller answered directly to Jobs, though circumstances could be different with CEO Tim Cook in charge.

AppleInsider