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iPhone 3G User Files Class Action Lawsuit Over iOS 4 Upgrade

Steve Jobs introduces iOS 4.1 update
(Image courtesy of AppleInsider)

iPhone 3G users are mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore! Incensed over what they claim are “unsavory, dishonest and deceptive business practices” on Apple’s part by crippling their devices with the iOS 4 update.

AppleInsider is reporting on the sensational details of the latest class action lawsuit against Apple, which was filed on October 29 by the law firm of Cohelan Koury & Singer in a San Diego County state court on behalf of their plaintiff, Bianca Wofford. The suit claims that Apple touted the iOS 4 upgrade as a “significant advance and triumph” for the iPhone 3G, but instead what Wofford received was a handset that effectively became a “virtually useless ‘iBrick.’”

Of course, Wofford wasn’t alone — the iOS 4 update wasn’t kind to many iPhone 3G users. The lack of multitasking aside, the update caused the device to act more sluggishly than before, a problem that was mostly resolved with the iOS 4.1 update almost three months later.

The suit notes that the plaintiff’s iPhone 3G went from being 99 percent reliable to “about 20 percent functionality” as a result of the upgrade. The plaintiff also claims that iOS 4 “rendered the iPhone 3G devices virtually unusable, constantly slowed, crashed or frozen” and she appears particularly hostile about the length of time it took Apple to address the problems.

At the heart of the lawsuit appears to be the fact that Apple does not allow downgrades for its iOS devices — with no way to revert back to iOS 3.x when iOS 4 didn’t work out, iPhone 3G users were faced with either dealing with it or buying a newer iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4, which the lawsuit seems to consider part of Apple’s “unsavory, dishonest and deceptive business practices.”

According to a separate report from Wired, the suit requires approval from a judge before it is granted class action status, so stay tuned. In the meantime, you can read the entire lawsuit in PDF form and judge for yourself.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter


ITC Staff Sides with Nokia Over Apple as Trial Begins

Nokia vs. Apple
(Image courtesy of

No doubt lost amidst the mid-term elections on Tuesday was another battle brewing in Washington between Nokia and Apple as the mobile device makers are about to have their day in court before the International Trade Commission.

Bloomberg is reporting that Nokia is already getting favor over Apple, at least in the eyes of the U.S. International Trade Commission who claim that “the evidence will not establish a violation” of Apple’s patent rights in a pre-hearing memo released on Monday.

As you’ll recall, Apple is making its case before the ITC in an effort to block imports of certain Nokia products into the United States, alleging that they are infringing on four patents held by Cupertino. Among these are patents for the way a device boots up and another related to power management.

The first stage of the trial kicked off in Washington, D.C. on Monday and is only the beginning of a veritable wave of such patent disputes currently before the ITC over smartphones — including Nokia’s own case against Apple, Apple’s case against HTC Corp. and Motorola Inc. and even Microsoft’s pending case against Motorola.

The ITC staff seems to feel that “some aspects of the patents were invalid and others weren’t infringed.” ITC judge Charles Bullock isn’t expected to rule on the claim until February, and it’s important to note that the judge is under no obligation to follow the ITC staff’s position. The judge’s ruling is also subject to review by the six-member commission, who is expected to complete the investigation by June of next year.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter


Apple Sues Motorola Over Patents

It would seem that lawsuits in the mobile space are all the rage nowadays. With the recent announcement that Motorola would be suing Apple over patent infringements, it seems that Apple is keeping the suing tag game going by launching two different patent lawsuits covering six different patents they believe Motorola has infringed upon.

According to Patently Apple, Apple is suing Motorola over six different patents that cover the following aspects of the Droid devices:

First case 0661

1 – Apple, Inc patent titled: Ellipse Fitting for Multi-Touch Surfaces: Patent Abstract: Apparatus and methods are disclosed for simultaneously tracking multiple finger and palm contacts as hands approach, touch, and slide across a proximity-sensing, multi-touch surface. Identification and classification of intuitive hand configurations and motions enables unprecedented integration of typing, resting, pointing, scrolling, 3D manipulation, and handwriting into a versatile, ergonomic computer input device.

2 – Apple, Inc patent titled: Multipoint Touchscreen: Patent Abstract: A touch panel having a transparent capacitive sensing medium configured to detect multiple touches or near touches that occur at the same time and at distinct locations in the plane of the touch panel and to produce distinct signals representative of the location of the touches on the plane of the touch panel for each of the multiple touches is disclosed.

3 – Taligent, Inc patent titled: Object-Oriented System Locator System: Patent Abstract: A method and system for adding system components (documents, tools, fonts, libraries, etc.) to a computer system without running an installation program. A location framework is employed to locate system components whose properties match those specified in search criteria. The framework receives notification from the system when system components whose properties match the search criteria are added to or removed from the system. 

Second Case 0662

1 – Apple, Inc, patent titled: Touch Screen Device, Method, and Graphical User Interface for Determining Commands by Applying Heuristics: Apple’s invention generally relates to electronic devices with touch screen displays, and more particularly, to electronic devices that apply heuristics to detected user gestures on a touch screen display to determine commands.

2 – Apple Computer, Inc. patent titled: Method and Apparatus for Displaying and Accessing Control and Status Information in a Computer System: Apple’s invention generally relates to the field of computer systems; particularly, the present invention relates to displaying a status and control function bar or window to enable access of user selected indicia to a computer system user.

3 – Apple Computer, Inc. patent titled: Support for Custom User-Interaction Elements in a Graphical, Event-Driven Computer System: Apple’s invention relates to graphical, event-driven computer systems, more particularly to custom interactive user-interaction elements in a computer system having a window-based graphical user interface.

Both cases were filed in the US District Court of the Western District of Wisconsin. The first lawsuit covers patents that involve the Multi-Touch functions of the iPhone, while the second lawsuit covers patents involving user interface elements of the iPhone.

“Motorola has a leading intellectual-property portfolio, one of the strongest in the industry, and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves in this matter,” Motorola said in a statement. “We are confident in our position and will pursue our litigation to halt Apple’s continued infringement.”

You can read more about the patent suit on Patently Apple.

via Ars Technica


Follow this article’s author, Cory Bohon on Twitter.




Apple May Be Stepping on Spotify’s Throat Over U.S. Launch

Spotify on iPhone

If you’re a U.S. music lover who enjoys streaming a huge collection to your iDevice rather than carrying it all around with you, you’ve probably at least heard of Spotify — and are still wondering why it hasn’t come to your country.

CNet is reporting that the wildly popular Swedish music streaming service Spotify continues to struggle in its efforts to launch their service in the U.S., and now it appears that Apple may have a hand in keeping the record labels from getting on board as well. The reason? The lucrative business for legal per-song downloads here, which is dominated by none other than (wait for it) Apple’s iTunes Store.

“In meetings in Los Angeles recently, Apple executives told their music industry counterparts that they had serious doubts about whether Spotify’s business model could ever generate significant revenues or profits, according to two sources with knowledge of the discussions,” CNet reveals.

“But Apple executives worried about the effects of a free music service might have on the rest of the market. They noted that it’s tough to sell something that someone else is giving away, the sources said. One industry insider said it is only logical that if Spotify were allowed to launch a free-music service here, at a time when Nielsen recently reported that the growth of digital sales has flattened out, it could eat into the businesses of proven revenue-producers like Apple and Amazon.”

Spotify has had no such problem launching in seven European countries (including the U.K., France and Spain), and has already missed two target dates for its U.S. launch due to the lack of agreements with music labels here. The company is racing to meet a third target date for the end of the year.

The company’s music streaming service already exists on the iPhone in the form of a Spotify app which streams over Wi-Fi or 3G — but U.S. customers can’t get their hands on it until such agreements are in place.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter


Apple Settles Patent Dispute Over iTunes Music Sales

Sharing Sound, LLC recently brought a lawsuit on a few different companies offering online music sales. The lawsuit was over a patent that Sharing Sound owned for the online distribution of digital music files. The companies mentioned in the lawsuit included Apple, Microsoft, Napster, Rhapsody, Amazon, and Netflix. Today, however, Apple has officially settled the patent dispute.

According to the lawsuit, “The patent being contested – U.S. Patent Number 6,247,130, titled ‘Distribution of musical products by a website vendor over the Internet’ – would essentially prevent all these companies from using any type of online store environment which allows them to provide song previews, a shopping cart or even a music player.”

Signing off on the settlement was Judge David Folsom of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. No additional details were mentioned in the settlement.

TechCrunch notes that if this patent were enforced, it could have been devastating to one of Apple’s strongest business models.

via MacRumors


Follow this article’s author, Cory Bohon on Twitter.





Apple Sues Sanho Over Patent Infringment

If you listen closely, you can hear the drums of war beating once again. Follow the sound on the wind and you’ll be led to the faraway land of Cupertino where it’s clear that Apple is none too pleased with Sanho Corporation, makers of the increasingly popular line of HyperMac external battery products for just about every Apple product under the sun. It seems that Apple’s beef stems from the fact that many of the products from the HyperMac line include MagSafe connectors for connecting to power-hungry MacBooks, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops. In addition, they also utilize Apple’s 30-pin dock connector to move juice from their batteries on to every iOS device under the sun. This might not be an issue if Sanho had asked permission to do so. However, as you may have guessed by now, they didn’t.

According to Ars Technica, Apple’s suit against Sanho was filed on September 9. Apple’s case would appear to revolve around the fact that for as integral as the MagSafe adapter and 30-pin connectors are to their line of external battery products, Sanho Corporation never bothered to purchasing the rights to use them from Apple. Worse still, through Sanho’s own admission, they’re not even manufacturing their own MagSafe connectors, opting instead to utilize recycled ones produced by Apple instead.

Sadly, the issues surrounding Sanho’s use of the 30-pin connector could have been avoided had they simply ponied up the dough for a license to use Apple’s connector technology in their wares. However, with Apple refusing to license their MagSafe technology to anyone at this time (thanks for pointing that out, Scott!), we could be left with no external battery solution for our MacBooks.

We’ll just have to wait and see how this one plays out.

Follow this article’s author, Seamus Bellamy on Twitter.



Over 45 Million iPod touch Units Sold to Date, New Model Now Shipping

iPod touch 4G
(Images courtesy of MacRumors)

Customers who preordered their 2010 model iPod touch after they were announced last Wednesday are starting to get shipment notifications today. Meanwhile, a market research firm estimates that more than 45 million iPod touches have been sold to date out of the total 120 million iOS devices in the market.

MacRumors has a pair of iPod touch updates today. The first one is reporting on new data from market research firm Asymco, who estimates that the iPod touch makes up 38 percent of the iOS device market share, which Apple CEO Steve Jobs claimed was currently at 120 million during his introduction to the media event held last Wednesday in San Francisco.

Asymco arrived at a figure of more than 45 million units for the iPod touch over its lifetime, which they arrived at by factoring in 59.6 million iPhones sold through June of this year (according to Apple’s own SEC filings) as well as 3.2 million iPads sold to date. Making an assumption that eight million more iPhones and four million more iPads were sold in July and August, the math deduces that the iPod touch has racked up 45.2 million units sold to date.
iPod touch 4G shipment information
On the heels of this new data, the tech blogs have been lit up today with word that initial preorder units of the new, fourth-generation iPod touch model are now shipping, with delivery estimates between September 10 and 14. Since it’s Labor Day here in the U.S., we can assume that these units are probably coming from Shenzen, China since neither UPS nor FedEx are working today.

If you haven’t ordered your new iPod touch yet, the Apple Store still shows delivery with one week, and MacRumors notes that customers in other countries are also seeing estimates of five to seven business days. So what are you waiting for?

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter