Apple Proposing a Massive Glass-Roofed Retail Store In Santa Monica, California

MacRumors and Curbed report that at the Santa Monica Planning Commission,  Apple has proposed a beautiful new Apple Retail Store on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California. The proposal is from an unnamed retailer who is looking to construct  a 8,084 square foot commercial building. Located on the Third Street Promenade, the shop would replace an existing three-story building that was used to be a Borders Bookstore. Also, the 34-foot-high store would feature a gorgeous transparent glass ceiling.

Apple Store Promenade

The applicant’s name is listed under the name “Howard Robinson”  and the property owner as ASB/Blatteis Promenade Holdings, LLC. However, the renderings of the store make it clear that this is an Apple Retail store.

Apple Store PromenadeIn addition, the proposal also revealed that the applicant will encourage its employees to use alternative transportation to get to work, offering a $100-per-month transit subsidy toward public transportation fares, as well as a $20-per-month bicycle reimbursement. Bicycle parking has also been proposed for inclusion at the facility’s basement level.

Apple does have a retail store on Third Street Promenade, but is known to get crowded on weekends. Also, Apple is currently working on renovating the Fifth Avenue Store and a new store in Grand Central.

Who Could Apple Buy to Bolster Its Patent Portfolio?

AppleThe famed patent wars in which every mobile company has been involved in the last few months, saw a very interesting twist on August 15 when Google announced that it would buy Motorola.

Google had been until recently the underdog when it came to patents with only about 2000 patents in its portfolio. Now, it came to possess one of the largest patent portfolios with over 20,000 patents and more than 7,500 pending patent applications.

Acquiring Motorola gave Google not only the means to defend Android and its hardware partners against patent lawsuits, but also its own hardware manufacturing arm and possibly a wild card entry to get back into the Digital TV business.

(Read More: Google’s Ace in the Hole: Motorola)

However, the last week hasn’t been very positive for Apple. A German court suspended Apple’s injunction which prevented Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android tablet in the European Union, which means that the greatest threat to the iPad 2 is back on the market. Additionally, HTC filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple, seeking a ban on almost all Apple products in the U.S.

It seems that the tides have turned against Apple in less than 2 days, though we cannot know the results of any of these lawsuits for sure.

However, many analysts and industry observers seem to agree that Apple needs to further bulk up its patent portfolio. With $76.2 billion in cash, Apple can easily afford to do so.

Here are two potential acquisition targets for Apple, which are already on the block.

1. InterDigital

OK, this one is obvious. After Google lost the Nortel patent portfolio to Apple and Microsoft, rumors indicated that Google was planning to buy InterDigital which held over 8,800 patents related to wireless technology. This caused InterDigital’s stock to jump over 65% in 3 days, but now that the deal is obviously not happening, it’s already down 20%.

Anyways, Apple could probably snag InterDigital and its patents now for less than $4 billion, since Google is out of the race, assuming no one else jumps in.

2. Kodak

This is the other potential acquisition target for Apple. It may seem out of the blue, but Kodak, the camera giant of yore, has close to 1,100 digital imaging patents related to processing and storing digital images. The technology covered by those patents is likely used by almost every digital camera out there, including mobile cameras. Kodak also has loads of other patents, the combined value of which is estimated to be close to $3 billion. It has already sued Apple and RIM for infringement, so it obviously thinks that those patents hold some value.

By buying Kodak, Apple could not only get out of this lawsuit, but also demand licensing fees from other mobile companies like HTC, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.

Apple, Starbucks Team Up To Give Away Free iPhone Apps

Since April 2008, Starbucks has partnered with Apple for the “Pick of the Week” program. The “Pick of the Week” program provides users with iTunes Music Store content via cards. Previously, the promotion only allowed  customers access to a free song each week, with tracks priced up to $1.29. Now, CNET reports that these cards are now also offering free downloads of paid iOS applications.

Shazam Encore, the first Starbucks Pick of the Week App

The first application made available for free is Shazam Encore, which usually sells for $5.99 in the App Store. Starbucks has not commented on whether the free applications offer will replace music tracks for good, or if both will be offered in the future. Judging by the first free app offering, it seems they’re serious about providing quality apps because Shazam Encore is a very popular music app costing $5.99.

Customers who visit Starbucks can pick up the free “Pick of the Week” cards at the register that contain codes  redeemable in the App Store towards the purchase of iOS apps.  Last year, Starbucks also did something similar by partnering with Apple and Yahoo to offer digital content to in-store customers.

Android owners, are you jealous yet? Anyways, Apple’s evil.

[image credit: CNET]

Apple’s New “Spaceship” Campus Larger Than Pentagon

A few days after WWDC 2011, Steve Jobs revealed Apple’s plans for a massive new campus in Cupertino, CA known as the “Spaceship”. Now, a new report  from Mac Observer suggests that the new campus is larger than the U.S. Pentagon and New York City’s Empire State Building.

Apple's Spaceship

The diameter of Apple’s new campus will be 1,615 feet, which will span farther than the Pentagon’s diameter of 1,566 feet. Also, the distance across the massive circle is greater    than the height of the Empire State Building, at 1,250 feet.

Mac Observer laid other objects over the plans for Apple’s campus to provide a better perspective. The image shows the with a cruise ship, U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier, a blimp, a World War II battleship, and a supertanker laid over them. Also, the  “Spaceship” stretches farther across all of those objects. The longest object shown in the illustration is a supertanker at 1,504 feet.

Apple Spaceship size comparison

Apple’s new campus will occupy about 2.8 million square feet, and will include an auditorium that would hold 1,000 people, and new research facilities including 300,000 square feet. The facility will be able to support up to 13,000 employees.

The company still must obtain formal approval, but Cupertino Mayor Gilbert Wong said  there is “no chance” that the council would not approve the structure. If all goes according to plan, Apple plants to open the new campus in 2015.

More photos of the new Apple campus can be found at  Cupertino.org.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Ban Lifted in Europe, Except Germany

Apple claimed that Samsung has copied the iPhone and iPad in creating the Galaxy Tab, and infringed its intellectual property rights, due to which the German court halted the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Europe (except in the Netherlands). The decision, however, was ruled out by the Düsseldorf  District Court stating that the German court does not have the authority to ban sales except within its own country.

According to the Dutch publication Webwereld, the ban imposed by the German court on August 10th has now been lifted, which was confirmed by Peter Schutz, spokesperson for the Dusseldorf District Court.

The international company, Samsung Korea, may for now be back Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets shipping, trading and distribution in Europe, except Germany. For the German establishment, Samsung GmbH, the trade ban remains in effect. The interim statement is valid until the hearing, which is August 25 on the roll.

Apple was seeking the German court to impose a penalty, which Samsung could have faced fines up to $350,000 (250,000 euros) per unit sold under the ban.

Improper Evidence:

The picture of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 that Apple provided as evidence to the court was inaccurate or manipulated. According to Webwereld, the image of the tablet “created” by Apple shows an aspect ratio of 1.36, which is closer to the aspect ratio of 1.30 of the iPhone 2.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
According to the  suit filed in April  in the U.S. District Court in Northern California, Samsung’s Galaxy line of mobile phones and tablets have slavishlycopied the iPhone and  iPad. The lawsuit stated  –

Rather than innovate and develop its own technology and a unique Samsung style for its smart phone products and computer tablets, Samsung chose to copy Apple’s technology, user interface and innovative style in these infringing products,

The temporary lift of the ban is valid until the next hearing when Apple and Samsung meet again in court on August 25.

Samsung is certainly having a sigh of relief now. In a statement, Samsung stated: “We look forward to the opportunity to reassert our intellectual property rights at the hearing scheduled on August 25.”

Apple Releases First Public Update For OS X Lion

Almost a month after it’s launch, Apple has released the first maintenance update for OS X Lion. Following in the trend of the past, it is available for download via the Software Update utility. The download for my MacBook Pro was only about 16MB, and installed almost instantly. The change log was:

  • Address an issue that may cause system to become unresponsive when playing a video in Safari
  • Resolve an issue that may cause system audio to stop working when using HDMI or optical audio out
  • Improve the reliability of Wi-Fi connections
  • Resolve an issue that prevents transfer of your data, settings, and compatible applications to a new Mac running OS X

Personally, I am very happy to see this update. I had been having trouble with my MacBook Pro staying on Wi-Fi networks, either secured or open. Hopefully it will stop dropping my connection now that i have updated Lion to 10.7.1.

10_7_1.png

Interestingly enough, there is a separate version of the update available for the 2011 MacBook Air and Mac mini. It brings the above changes, plus a couple extra lines. Those extra changes are:

  • Resolves an issue where MacBook Air may boot up when MagSafe Adapter is attached
  • Resolve an issue causing intermittent display flickering on MacBook Air
  • Resolve an issue that causes the SD card slot in Mac mini to run at reduced speed with SD and SDHC media

While this isn’t a huge change, it’s probably the last we will see before we get the big iCloud update. Developers already have 10.7.2, which is the current beta that has iCloud integration. While we aren’t sure when that update will come, we do know it will happen sometime this fall.

Were you experiencing any issues with Lion so far? Are you excited about iCloud launching soon? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

iPhone 5 Preorders Starting September 30, Launching October 7? [Rumor]

It seems like we can’t go a single day without hearing a new rumor about the next iPhone. First we heard that it would be called the iPhone 4S, and would come “sometime this fall.” Next, we started hearing that it would be a big redesign deserving of the name iPhone 5.

Well, we have a new release date rumor to deal with. 9to5 Mac is reporting that, according to their sources, Apple is planning to launch the next generation smart phone on October the 7th. While they are reportable not completely sold on that date, it is the one they are leaning towards. 9to5 Mac is also reporting that Apple is planning to take preorders for the iPhone 5.

via MacRumors.com

This is a change from the launch of the iPad 2 earlier this year. With that launch, Apple did not take any preorders, which was viewed by many (myself included) as a bad move. However, it is clear that they wanted to have people waiting in lines outside of Apple stores, which they certainly got. It would seem they don’t see the need to force people into lines with the iPhone.

If we are to believe these dates, and I can’t see a reason not to consider them, then we can draw a couple easy conclusions. The first is that the iPhone 5 is probably in production or will be very soon. In order to meet the kind of demand that Apple has seen in the past, they would need a petty large number of these phones.

The second thing we can safely assume given these dates is the timing of a media event. If Apple does plan to take preorders starting on September 30th, then there has be a media event before that. Now, the timing is up in the air. It would be reasonable to think that the event would also be on the 30th, but it wouldn’t have to be. It’s possible that they would introduce the iPhone 5 at an iPod/iOS event earlier in the month, and then just announce the preorder and launch date.

Overall, this seems as possible as any there date we have heard so far. However, it is just a rumor, so don’t bank on it coming true. We will have to wait until Apple is ready to show us the new iPhone before we get out our checkbooks.

What are your thoughts on the iPhone 5 rumors? Do you like the sound of these dates? let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

The Patent War Continues. HTC Sues Apple, Again

The war of the patents continues as HTC filed another lawsuit against Apple with the United States District Court of Delaware for infringing three of its patents, and seeking to halt the sale of Apple products within the US. HTC states that the patents are related to Apple’s Mac computers, iPhones and iPads.

The three patents that are charged against Apple were acquired by HTC in 2008 and 2010, which cover –

  • 7,765,414, “Circuit and operating method for integrated interface of PDA and wireless communication system”
  • 7,672,219, “Point-to-point communication using orthogonal frequency division multiplexing”
  • 7,417,944, “Method for orderwire modulation”

Apple vs HTC - Patent War

HTC wants triple damages for willful infringement as well as attorney fees and costs, and has appealed the U.S. court to stop Apple from selling or importing any infringing devices in the United States.

The two companies have been in legal combats for months now. Earlier in March, Apple sued HTC for infringement of 20 different patents related to the hardware, architecture and interface of iPhone, some of which were dated as far back  as 1995  while some are as recent as  February 2nd  of this year.

HTC was found guilty of infringing by the U.S. International Trade Commissions on two of Apple’s patents in July. Apple has several lawsuits filed in Delaware against HTC, however HTC said that it will appeal the ITC ruling and contends that is has a strong case against Apple.

In the ongoing wars of the patents, Google was forced to buy the mobile division of Motorola for $12.5 billion, since Google has a much smaller patent portfolio than its opponents Apple, Microsoft and Oracle. This will lead Google to add 17,000 more patents to its current patent portfolio, which it can use to defend against allegations of infringement. However, it isn’t going to help Google much in fighting Oracle’s Java patent infringement lawsuit, which is due to begin trial in October.

Although Apple succeeded in halting the sale of Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1  in the European countries, will it now succeed in winning the case against HTC? Well, time alone can tell us that.

(via)

Release of Authorized Steve Jobs Biography Preponed to November 21st

Last year, it was revealed that  Time  managing editor Walter Isaacson was working on the first authorized biography of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The release date was set for early 2012 under the title “iSteve: The Book of Jobs”, but last month the  title to was changed to “Steve Jobs”, with publication date set for March 6, 2012.

Today, All Things D reports that Barnes & Noble has moved up  the publication date for the title to November 21st. In addition, a new cover has been revealed,  an iconic black-and-white photo of Steve Jobs.  The photo of Jobs used for the cover is the image found on  Jobs’ page  in Apple’s company leadership pages.

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues this book chronicles the rollercoaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

Steve Jobs Biography Cover

Amazon’s Kindle Store also lists the Nov. 21 release date. However, Apple’s iBooks store and the  hardcover version  from Amazon still show the book’s release date as March 6, 2012.

According to the publisher, Jobs asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published. Also,  he has reportedly left no topic off-limits for the book and has not even requested the right to read it before publication.

Construction Begins At Site Of Apple’s Grand Central Terminal Store

A few weeks ago, it was reported that Apple was going to open a new Apple Store in New York’s Grand Central Terminal. Today, AppleInsider reports that construction for the new store has begun at Grand Central Terminal, which may open later this year.

The start of construction comes after Apple received approval from the  Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) last month. Temporary scaffolding can be seen from the second floor in Grand Central Terminal.

Apple’s new store will surround the two adjacent balconies and is expected to generate half-a-billion in revenue a year. Photos of the ongoing construction can be seen below.  Construction is expected to be completed in four months, and the store is reportedly to open to the public before this holiday shopping season.

Apple Store Grand Central Construction 1

Earlier this year, the project for the new store was abandoned entirely. However, Apple was able to reach an agreement with the MTA, and paid the previous tenant $5 million to move out of the east balcony eight years early. In addition, reports suggest that Apple is paying a premium of $800,000 and $1.1 million per year for renting the area.

The store is expected to be about 3,000 feet larger than Apple’s flagship stores. AppleInsider also reports that Apple is said to be working with police to figure out how to handle lines during product releases, so that people are not waiting in the concourse.

While construction continues at the Grand Central location, Apple is also working on renovating their iconic Fifth Avenue store. Apple is currently simplifying the glass cube by cutting the number of panes from 90 to just 15.

[image credit: AppleInsider]