Legal

Apple envisions stylus with extendable, multitouch nib

Apple wants to cook up a more powerful yet sensitive stylus for your tablet.

Published Thursday by the US Patent and Trademark Office, a patent filing dubbed simply "Input Device Having Extendable Nib" sees the nib of the stylus as the key to its power. The nib would be able to extend, thereby offering different capabilities based on its length.

At its smallest length, the nib would have a limited number of areas through which it could interact with a tablet. But extending the nib would increase the number of multitouch points, giving it the ability to create … Read more

Apple iPhone 6 will reportedly start production in Q2

Apple could be weeks away from starting production on the iPhone 6.

That's according to a Commercial Times report, which Reuters translated.

Apple manufacturing partner Pegatron is apparently opening up new factory space and recruiting workers to build the iPhone 6, according to the report. The production would begin in the second quarter, the newspaper said, citing unnamed sources.

Apple declined CNET's request for comment.

Pegatron wouldn't be the only manufacturer of Apple's flagship phone. The Commercial Times said Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn, would be the primary manufacturer of the phone.

Not … Read more

Yahoo, ICQ chats still vulnerable to government snoops

Nine months after Edward Snowden revealed extreme Internet surveillance by US and British intelligence agencies, some major technology companies have yet to take rudimentary steps to shield their users' instant messages from eavesdropping.

A CNET analysis shows that Yahoo and ICQ transmit the content of supposedly private instant messages in unencrypted form, exposing them to both government spies and malicious snoops on the same Wi-Fi network. AOL's AIM service encrypts content -- but leaks metadata about who's talking to whom.

These privacy problems were highlighted by a Guardian article Thursday, which revealed that spy agencies were eavesdropping on … Read more

IPCom's $2.2 billion Apple lawsuit tossed out

IPCom, a company that owns patents and asserts those in infringement trials, has lost in its bid to generate $2.2 billion in damages off Apple.

The company, which has been referred to by some as a "patent troll" because it doesn't actually make products but uses its patent portfolio as a revenue generator, was rebuffed on Friday by the Mannheim Regional Court, which found that Apple did not in fact infringe on two standard-essential patents brought before it by IPCom. The case also included a patent-infringement claim against HTC, which was also thrown out.

According to Foss Patents' Florian Mueller, … Read more

Sen. Manchin demands complete US ban on Bitcoin

A US senator is asking the federal government to take this remarkable step: completely ban Bitcoin.

Joe Manchin, a Democratic senator representing West Virginia, sent a letter Wednesday to the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, and other regulators characterizing the virtual currency as encouraging "illicit activity" as well as being "highly unstable and disruptive to our economy."

Manchin, who is a member of the Senate banking committee, suggested in the letter -- titled "Manchin Demands Federal Regulators Ban Bitcoin" -- that a complete prohibition was appropriate because Thailand, China, and South Korea have already … Read more

Apple files appeal in e-book antitrust case

Apple filed an appeal Tuesday of a federal judge's ruling last year that the company violated US antitrust laws by conspiring with publishers to fix e-book prices.

The appeal, filed with the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, called the ruling last July by US District Court Judge Denise Cote "a radical departure from modern antitrust law and policy" that if allowed to stand "would stifle innovation, chill competition, and harm consumers."

In April 2012, the Justice Department sued Apple along with five of the six largest book publishers in the … Read more

Apple, Samsung fail to make nice in settlement talks over patent case

Bust out your Samsung pennant, your Apple foam finger, or your Jony Ive bobblehead doll -- it looks like we're in for another patent trial.

In a legal filing Friday, the companies said that during the first week of February, Samsung mobile chief Shin Jong-Kyun and other execs from the South Korean consumer-electronics giant met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and a clutch of his cohorts for a full day of mediated negotiation talks. The companies also spoke with the mediator by phone several times after the face-to-face.

"Notwithstanding these efforts," however, the filing reads, "the … Read more

European antitrust chief defends deal with Google

Google's deal to avoid a huge antitrust fine in Europe is no "gentlemen's agreement," the European Commission's competition chief said on Friday.

Speaking at an antitrust conference, Joaquin Almunia defended the recent deal with Google in which the search giant agreed to certain conditions to settle a long-standing investigation. To avoid a potential antitrust fine as high as $5 billion, Google agreed to display search results to its own services in the same way as those for rival companies, along with other concessions.

Google's latest rapprochement may have satisfied Almunia. But other parties aren'… Read more

Apple eyes smart magnets to attach accessories to your iPad

The iPad's magnetic personality could help users attach an array of accessories to their tablets.

Published Thursday by the US Patent and Trademark Office, a patent fittingly named "Magnetic Attachment Unit" describes how the iPad's current magnet system could be expanded to hook up with docks, stands, touchpads, joysticks, cameras, other iPads, and even a special magnetic ring. iPad owners would be able to couple the tablet with an accessory without having to rely on the dock connector.

Accessories would connect to any side of the iPad, including the bottom, letting the tablet attach to compatible … Read more

Apple patents headphones that can monitor your vital stats

Apple's interest in the health and fitness market may seem like a new niche, but a related patent goes back almost six years.

Filed in 2008 and awarded by the US Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday, a patent called "Sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets" describes how such products could track your health and fitness and perform certain tasks based on how you move your head.

Key to the invention would be sensors embedded into one or more areas of the headsets or earbuds. By coming into contact with your skin, these sensors … Read more