All posts by Parth Dhebar

Parth Dhebar is a 18 year-old entrepreneur. He is the founder of Simple Reviews, a blog focused on reviewing iPhone and iPad applications. Parth is a recognized name in the industry, known for covering Apple news. He is an editor at Techie-Buzz covering news on Apple. You can follow him on Twitter @pdparticle.

Apple and Samsung CEOs to Meet for Settlement Talks over Patent Issues

The battle between Apple and Samsung has been going on for a while now. Today, FOSS Patents reports that the chief executives of Apple and Samsung, along with their general counsels, will meet within the next 90 days at a San Francisco courthouse for a court-moderated discussion. The discussion’s main goal will be to settle the long and on-going patent dispute between the two companies.

As directed by the Court, Apple and Samsung are both willing to participate in a Magistrate Judge Settlement Conference with Judge Spero as mediator. At Apple, the chief executive officer and general counsel are the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Apple during the upcoming settlement discussions. At Samsung, the chief executive officer and general counsel are also the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Samsung during these settlement discussions.

It is also reported that the settlement talks are  “semi-voluntary” meaning that the court can only compel the parties to meet and talk. However, this cannot force them to reach an agreement. In addition, it is also in the best interest of the two companies to make their most senior officials available for the discussions. This would demonstrate to the court a good effort has been made to resolve the dispute.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook will represent the company and general counsel Bruce Sewell, while Samsung would send representatives from the parent company including CEO Gee-Sung Choi.

Two New iPhone TV Ads Featuring Samuel L. Jackson and Zooey Deschanel Revealed

Today, a new iPhone commercial has aired from Verizon featuring Samuel L. Jackson on ESPN. The ad reportedly first aired on ESPN’s Sportscenter, which seems to be a Verizon-made commercial, reports The Next Web.

In the 30 second ad, Jackson uses Apple’s Siri as he makes gazpacho. He asks Siri software for cooking directions, where to buy ingredients, and to set timers.

The ad seems to be an Apple creation, with the three U.S. iPhone carriers — AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon featured in the end of the ad. A similar ad featuring Zooey Deschanel has aired too. Deschanel’s ad promotes Siri on Sprint’s network.

In the past, Apple has used celebrities like Bono in iPod commercials, but it is rare for them to do so. Will Ferrell also did a number of iPod ads a few years back.

Apple Reveals 2012 Final Cut Pro X Update with Multichannel Audio Editing and More

Last year, Apple released a brand new version of  Final Cut Pro called “Final Cut Pro X.” When it was first released, the company received a lot of criticism for the lack of features. Then in January, Apple updated Final Cut Pro X with multi cam support and more.

Now, Apple is planning a feature rich update to Final Cut Pro X that will offer many new features, including multichannel audio editing and dual viewers. In addition, the update will add support for RED cameras. The update will be available later this year.

Details regarding the upcoming given update were directly given by Apple to producer, editor and director Larry Jordan. He highlights some of the changes that Apple said are coming later this year on his personal blog. The new features were listed by Apple, but none of them were demoed.

Currently, it remains unknown when exactly the update will be available to Final Cut Pro X owners. Apple declined to give a specific date, but did say that the update would be available at some point in 2012.

Final Cut Pro X [Mac App Store] is available in the Mac App Store and is priced at $299.99. Apple also offers a free 30-day trial for download.

Apple Releases Java Update to Remove Flashback Trojan

Earlier this week, we reported that Apple is working on their own software to detect and remove the flashback trojan which has infected 600,000 Macs. Last week, a Java update was released to fix the security flaw that the virus was attacking. Now, Apple has released  Java for OS X 2012-003, an update to the Java implementation in OS X.

Java OS X Lion update

This update removes “the most common variants of the Flashback malware.” Also, the update disables the automatic execution of Java applets, and, if automatic execution is re-enabled, will again disable it if no applets have been run for “an extended period of time”.

The update can be downloaded via Software Update. A separate Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 8 is available for users on Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

Demand for iPhone 4S Continues to Grow

You know the phone that nobody wanted? Well, even six months after its launch, demand for the iPhone 4S continues to rise. ChangeWave has released new data that reveals 56 percent of polled customers who plan to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days said that they will purchase the iPhone 4S. That’s up from 54 percent who planned to buy an iPhone 4S in the previous poll conducted in December.

Changwave iPhone 4S

While Apple continued to gain, its competitor Samsung stayed flat as 13 percent of consumers said they would purchase one of its smartphones. Motorola fell by one point to 6 percent. HTC came in third place, which stayed at 3 percent and Research in Motion somehow managed to grow by a point to 3 percent.

In fact, demand for the iPhone 4S in March was the second-highest share ever. Consumer demand for the iPhone was only higher in a poll conducted last September, when news about the iPhone 4S started to come out just before it was officially announced.

Apple Online Store Updated With New Look

Last night, we reported that the Apple Online Store had gone down with a new look. The famous “We’ll be back” sticky note was replaced with a new graphic.

Apple Online Store Chat

After the store came back online, it appears that the company has improved its sales chat support for those looking to purchase an Apple product. Online chat for individual products have been available on Apple’s website for a while now, but the changes have introduced a new chat window with a more modern appearance. Online sales chat is available only during certain times of the day and dependent on the availability of chat agents.

Apple Online Store Screen Share

Interestingly, MacMagazine.com.br points out that Apple appears to be using its Brazilian store as a test market for even further improvements. Turns out, Apple is testing a screen sharing feature in the Brazil store. It allows sales specialists to share their screens with potential customers to help walk them through a product’s features.

The report indicates that the screen sharing virtual tour feature is limited to the iPad 2 for the time being, but Apple does have plans to extend it across its product lines.

Apple Online Store Down with New Look

Once in a while, the Apple Store does go offline for updates to introduce new products, but it also goes down for maintenance.

Tonight’s downtime may also be related to maintenance or other non-product related announcements, but what seems to be significant is that the “We’ll be back soon” sticky note that should be quite familiar to long time Apple followers has been changed. The sticky note was used for many years.

Apple Store Sticky NoteEvery time the store would go down, this sticky note would be displayed to visitors for many years. However, tonight Apple has posted a new graphic overlaying a linen background that has been popularized in iOS. It looks fantastic!

Apple Store down graphic

Apple does have several product lines that are due for a refresh soon including the Mac Pro MacBook Pro, but going by the “We’ll be back” graphic change, it may suggest other graphical tweaks to the online store.

Apple Working on Software to Detect and Remove Flashback Trojan

Mac OS X is known to be repellent from viruses and Trojans for a long time now, but since the popularity of Mac has grown, virus creators have started to target the OS with new viruses. Just last week it was reported that a Flashback Trojan had infected 600,000 Macs.

Today, Apple has published a support document regarding the Flashback trojan that affects OS X computers, as noted by Jim Dalrymple of The Loop. Last week, a Java update was released to fix the security flaw that the virus was attacking. While 3rd party tools have been developed to test for the infection, Apple reveals they are working on their own tool to detect and remove the software.

In addition, Apple is working with ISPs worldwide to disable the servers that send commands to the malware. Apple also advises Macs running OS X 10.5 or earlier to disable Java in their browser preferences.

Tim Cook to Kickoff D10 Conference on May 29

Today, AllThingsD has announced that Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, will be the opening keynote speaker at the D10 Conference scheduled for late May. This year’s conference will mark 10 years of “D: All Things Digital.” Cook will appear in an evening interview session on Tuesday, May 29 in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

This will be Cook’s first appearance at the D conference. It would be the first time appearing on stage at an event not hosted by Apple or investors since he became CEO last August.

Other speakers at this year’s conference include Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison, New York City Mayor, Mike Bloomberg, Federal Trade Commission Chairman, Jon Leibowitz, entrepreneur Sean Parker, and Zynga’s CEO, Mark Pincus.

Apple’s Market Capitalization Hits $600B  

Just last week we reported that Apple’s share price had exceeded Google’s for the first time ever. In fact, this morning AAPL is trading about $8 higher than GOOG. Today, Apple’s share price has continued its amazing growth by moving up another 1% to briefly hit a market capitalization of $600 billion. This new milestone comes just under six weeks after hitting $500 billion. AAPL is now up nearly 60% since the beginning of the year.

In fact, the $600 billion market cap is nowhere near what analysts are expecting the company’s market cap to reach. Analysts think that Apple is on its way to a trillion dollar market capitalization over the next year or so, which would be the first company to ever do so.

Also, Apple is now just within a few billion dollars of taking Microsoft’s title of most valuable publicly-traded company ever. In December of 1999, Microsoft’s market cap was $604 billion, but when adjusted for inflation, it would be worth over $800 billion in today’s dollars.

AT&T Unlocking iPhones for Deployed Military Personnel

AT&T began unlocking qualifying iPhones on Sunday, and apparently that process is completed via iTunes. Customers report that the process required a backup and restore. The carrier requires that customer accounts must be in good standing, not associated with a current and active term commitment and completed their contract term, upgraded or paid an early termination fee.

MacRumors reports that AT&T has begun unlocking iPhones for American military personnel also. In fact, they will unlock their phones even if they are still under contract. The federal law requires that wireless carriers terminate service for deployed service members without penalty. AT&T is not required to unlock the phones of deployed service members, but instead, it seems that the company is doing this by choice.

MacRumors had reached out to AT&T for confirming this new policy, but they declined to comment. However, MacRumors has independently confirmed that AT&T is indeed unlocking the phones for service members. Deployed soldiers, airmen, sailors, and Marines should contact AT&T customer service to get more information about having their iPhones unlocked.

AT&T iPhone Unlock Process Completed Via iTunes

Last Friday, we reported that AT&T has released a statement stating that they will start unlocking iPhones. AT&T said that the unlocking service will only apply to off-contract iPhones and to members who have AT&T accounts in good standing.

Today AppleInsider, reports that the unlock codes are applied to the device after restoring through iTunes. The unlock code comes through Apple and is released via iTunes.

AT&T’s instructions tell users to open iTunes on their Mac or PC, connect their iPhone via USB, and backup and restore their handset. The restore will then allow the iPhone for use on other carriers.

In addition, AT&T’s instructions have also been published on Apple’s website. If the unlock is successful, a message on the iPhone is displayed that says: “Unlock Complete. Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked. To set up and sync this iPhone, click Continue.”

Universal Studios’ Movies Now Available on iCloud

In March, Apple began to offer users the option to re-download movies that were already purchased on iTunes via iCloud. The service also applies to the iTunes Digital Copy format, which allows users the ability to download a digital version of a film when they buy a DVD or Blu-ray disc. At launch, Universal Studios and Fox were initially absent from iCloud due to content deals with premium cable network HBO.

Starting from this weekend, Universal Pictures’ films have become available on iCloud. Users who have previously purchased the films from iTunes can re-download them at no cost, which leaves only one major studio, Fox, that is not part of iCloud.

Even though Universal’s Films are now available via iCloud, customers wanting to re-download 20th Century Fox films still must wait for that content. Last month it was reported that HBO has already reached an agreement and The Wall Street Journal said at the time that Fox expected to have its content on iCloud “within weeks”.

TV content is now available in high-definition 1080p. Previously, content maxed out at 720p, which was the highest resolution output of the previous generation Apple TV.

Apple’s Share Price Exceeds Google’s for the First Time Ever

Just last month we reported that Apple’s share price had touched $600, which was just one month after hitting $500. At that point, it was a given AAPL would pass Google’s share price in no time. Yup, that’s what has happened in less than a month. Today, Apple’s share price closed at about $633, making the company’s shares now more expensive than Google’s. Apple’s market cap is now over $590 billion, nearly three times larger than Google’s.

AAPL GOOG

In the past one year, Apple’s share price has seen a growth of 160 percent, compared to just 12 percent gain Google’s share price has seen. Now, Apple’s market cap is now larger than the combined valuations of Google, HP, Dell, RIM, Microsoft, Nokia, AMD and Motorola Mobility, with a couple billion dollars to spare. Wow. In fact, even to this day, Apple’s share price is undervalued. While AAPL is on its way to a $1,000, Apple’s is on its way to become the first $1 trillion company ever.

In the end, largest amount of marketshare, “open”, and free products continue to “win”, duh.

Apple may get 80% tax break to build new Texas campus

Just late last month, it was reported that the Austin City Council had approved Apple’s $8.6M grant for the new Texas campus. Apple has invested $300 million in Austin, Texas to add 3,600 more workers. Now, Travis Country officials are considering giving Apple an 80 percent tax rebate worth $7.4 million if the company builds the proposed campus in Austin, Texas. This would add two other multi-million dollar government subsidies already being offer to Apple.

Statesman reports that although a formal agreement has yet to be reached, a discussion during a closed session hearing on Tuesday may grant Apple an 80 percent tax incentive for the next 10 years — with the possibility of a five year extension. Pay ranges for new hires are expected to be between $54,000 and $73,500, depending on qualifications and position.

If this deal goes through, Apple will become the second-largest private employer in Austin, behind only Dell. The facility will be built on 38 acres of land with at least one million square feet of office space and will function as a new “Americas Operations center” for the company.