Apple faces jury in video compression patent case

Apple faces jury in video compression patent case

Apple is in the dock again, this time accused of infringing a video compression technology patent.

Apple and LG Electronics are both accused of copying Alcatel-Lucent’s video-compression technology that allows data to be sent over communications media, such as the internet and satellites, or stored on optical media. The lawsuit was filed in 2010 by the Paris-based company’s Multimedia Patent Trust, writes Business Week.

Attorney Frederick Lorig told the San Diego jury: “The motion pictures you see on your screens are made possible by these patents. This technology lets you download in half the time and store twice as much content.”

“Apple and LG have chosen not to license these patents while 33 other companies have paid over $190 million for these licenses,” he claimed.

According to Lorig, the trust Apple refused to negotiate a license “even though a company as prominent as Motorola is paying $18 million to license the patents. And Apple sells four times the number of infringing products that Motorola does.”

Apple’s attorney Juanita Brooks said: “LG and Apple are not going to pay rent for technology they do not use. Why are we here in this trial? They are trying to get $170 million from Apple. I can think of 170 million reasons they are asking us to pay more than all of the other licensees combined.”

LG Electronics attorney Michael McKeon claimed: “MPT trying to double dip. It is suing over technology it does not own.” The trial is expected to take about two weeks.

In August 2011 Microsoft was ordered to pay $70 million to Alcatel-Lucent following a years-old patent dispute that at one time could have cost Microsoft $1.5 billion. A jury in San Diego issued the verdict in a lawsuit that accused Microsoft of violating patents in several products including Outlook.

Back in March this year we reported that Alcatel-Lucent had said that its OpenTouch Conversation software that allows enterprise users to switch among different ways of communicating – including instant messaging, voice calls and video conferencing – without interrupting their conversations would be available on Apple’s iPad. At the time Alcatel-Lucent said it intended to make the OpenTouch Conversation client app available on iPhones, Macs, Windows PCs as well as Android-based tablets and smartphones based on both Android and BlackBerry OS.

Follow Karen Haslam on Twitter / Follow MacworldUK on Twitter 


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Patent ‘hints at Apple home entertainment device’

Patent ‘hints at Apple home entertainment device’

Apple has filed a patent that may hint that the company is developing a home entertainment device.

The patent is for “a method of controlling transmission of data from a computer to a video client via an interface device”.

Macsimum News suggests that this could have something to do with a home entertainment device because it refers to refresh rates. “The way it refers to refresh rates brings to mind HDTV systems and CRTs, which already have set refresh rates. The biggest problem in transmitting video is that it requires a lot more info to be transmitted, hence the audio/video latency,” states the report.

Latent patents

Think Secret has also identified a number of patents recently granted to Apple.

These include: A “method and apparatus for accelerating detection of speed code signals, and in particular S400 signals, for IEEE Standard 1394-1995 serial bus devices;”

An “ornamental design for a user interface for computer display” –the image suggests it covers elements of the iDVD interface;

A “magnetic securing system for a detachable input device” – so that the keyboard can be easily removed for access to RAM and AirPort slots inside an Apple laptop;

A “method and apparatus for preventing loops in a full-duplex bus”;

“Methods and apparatus for spreading and concentrating information to constant-weight encode of data words on a parallel data line bus while allowing communication of information across sub-word paths;”

A “computer mouse having side areas to maintain a depressed button position” – the current optical mouse;

“Methods and apparatuses for performing gamma corrections to maintain a plurality of colors substantially consistent with a color point”;

A “universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system” – probably regarding Spotlight, and filed in 2000;

A “pipelining cache-coherence operations in a shared-memory multiprocessing system”;

“A user interface for presenting media information,” – the QuickTime Player user interface;

And, finally, a “method and apparatus for image acquisition, organization, manipulation, and publication” – iPhoto.

Chip shortage will hit MP3 players, says Creative

Chip shortage will hit MP3 players, says Creative

An industry-wide shortage of a key flash-memory chips will hit the availability of some MP3 player models during the upcoming holiday shopping period, the head of Creative Technology’s US unit said Wednesday.

“One of the key challenges we face in our MP3 business is an industry-wide shortage of 1GB flash memory,” said Craig McHugh, president of Creative Labs, in a conference call with financial analysts.

“Industry demand for high-capacity flash memory currently outstrips supply and this will impact availability of our 1GB flash MP3 players for the holiday quarter. The shortage of flash memory, according to industry analyst speculation, is primarily a result of a special deal that Apple has secured from a key supplier for the holiday season.”

Apple deal is strategic hit

Apple is widely reported to have signed a deal with Samsung to secure a supply of flash memory for its music players, particularly the recently-launched iPod nano, which replaced the hard-drive-based iPod mini in the company’s music player line-up.

The deal struck by Apple is putting pressure on the entire MP3 player industry, said Sim Wong Hoo, chairman and CEO of Singapore-based Creative. He did not refer to Samsung by name.

“The MP3 market is now consolidating, but there is a shortage [of flash memory] because of the special deal we talked about,” said Hoo.

The consolidation has been at the low end, he said, with several Chinese MP3 player makers leaving the market because of the pressure Apple is putting on the industry, according to Hoo.

“The low-end [manufacturers] went out of business in the last few months because it’s very hard to face this pressure. If Creative is losing money then it’s very difficult for other companies to really fight in this battle,” he said.

Apple Samsung deal under fire

Hoo predicted that Apple’s deal will not last long because it is not favourable to the memory chip maker involved.

“I don’t think the vendor is benefiting on it, so it’s really a one-sided deal,” he said. “I don’t think anybody else out there can get [similar terms]. That’s not the way the industry practices.”

Hoo wouldn’t be drawn into estimating how much Apple is paying for the memory chips.

The deal has already been criticised by Korean MP3 player makers, some of whom have said they suspect that Samsung is selling the chips at below market value. The chairman of South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission said earlier this month that an investigation into the deal was possible, according to local media reports.

Creative – investments save the day

Creative, which also makes speakers and PC sound cards, held Wednesday’s conference call to announce its financial results for its fiscal first quarter.

Net sales during the period from July to September were $280.2 million, up by a third from the same period last year, and net income was $691,000, down from $4.8 million a year ago. Creative would have recorded a net loss of $9.3 million were it not for a one-off gain from investments, the company said.

Sales of MP3 players in the quarter jumped 123 per cent from a year ago, McHugh said. That led revenue at Creative’s personal digital entertainment division to account for two-thirds of total sales, up from less than half a year ago.

Creative cited progress it has made in moving its business back into profitability. Its efforts include reducing inventories by 8 per cent and buying back 1 million shares.

“Our key goal for this quarter is to return to profitability by the end of the calendar year,” said McHugh.

He named four key focus areas for the company: its Xtreme Fidelity and X5 sound cards, maintaining momentum in the MP3 player business, expanding in the MP3 speaker category and continued reduction of inventories.

TERA Expansion Gets Release Window and New DetailsĀ 

TERA Expansion Gets Release Window and New Details 


Bluehole Studios has released some more information about the recently announced Fate of Arun expansion for TERA: Rising, the free-to-play MMORPG. This info also included a release window of December 2014, but no specific date has been announced yet.

A new level cap of 65 of course means new skills, 3 per class, but tweaks and balance changes will be added for existing abilities as well. The example supplied was the existing Lancer ability “Adrenaline Rush II” which will not only increase attack speed, but will also cut melee cooldowns in half and generate additional aggro.

The 4 new zones were also revealed and summed up as follows:

Mjusu Kraal (from level 60)

The adventurer’s journey into Northern Arun begins in the thick jungles of Mjusu Kraal. Characters of level 60 and above will encounter new enemies, old conflicts and uncover clues about the preparations for a mighty war that has the potential to change the face of Arborea. This ominous danger is the common thread running through the background story.

Spring Valley (from level 61)

Stretching between the mountains above the jungle is Spring Valley. The second stop in Fate of Arun’s journey leads the hero to the town of Highwatch, a settlement isolated from the outside world which is threatened by extinction from the Archdevas. Players find themselves intervening in the intensifying conflict over two levels, becoming ever deeper embroiled in the story of the looming war.

Ex Prima (from level 63)

The third hunting zone merges seamlessly into the events in Spring Valley, with the expansion’s storyline escalating amongst the overgrown ruins. Adventurers of level 63 and above need to call on the aid of old allies to have a chance of keeping the peace.

Arx Umbra (from level 64)

The story’s climax nears with the player’s arrival in Arx Umbra. Despite all efforts, the smouldering conflict between Arborea’s peoples intensifies into a war, and it is here that the hostile camps begin to make preparations for the impending battle. Up to reaching the level cap there are missions here that are deftly tied into the campaign against the Archdevan threat.

We’ll be sure to keep you posted on new information as it is released!

New MGS V: Metal Gear Online Glitch Allow Players To Rank Up Fast

New MGS V: Metal Gear Online Glitch Allow Players To Rank Up Fast

Do you want to get a higher rank in Metal Gear Online without honestly playing for hours and hours? We don’t appreciate that, let us tell you. Anyway, this doesn’t mean we can’t help. YouTuber LAZTURNTONLINE has shared a video detailing how to rank up faster than light, and you can see it below.

MGS V: Metal Gear Online

The method wants you to access the Cloak and Dagger mode to gain fast experience. There a just a few steps you have to fulfill in order to reach the top of the rank:

  • Pull out the iDroid.
  • Go to matchmaking
  • Create a match for two, four or six players and only invite people you know.
  • Put a password on the match so no randoms join.
  • Set the time limit to 10 minutes
  • You can pick any map you like but it’s suggested that doing Black Site in the Cloak and Dagger mode is the best option because of the underground bunker for when it’s time to use the Fulton.
  • Head to point ‘A’ on the map at Black Site.
  • When your friend(s) get there, essentially go back and forth grabbing them and interrogating them.
  • You’ll each get 500 experience points per grab and interrogation. You can keep repeating this to get levels rather quickly.

It’s easy enough and you don’t have to worry about working hard to get experience points or earning your rank the real way.

As the development team seems not to be leaded by Hideo Kojima anymore, it seems unlikely that this exploit will be fixed soon and players will cheat their way to a high rank without having to worry about getting caught.

Apple improves Retina MacBook Pro shipping times

Apple improves Retina MacBook Pro shipping times

Apple’s Retina MacBook Pro is now shipping faster to online customers, according to the company’s e-stores for the U.S., Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan and several other countries.

The higher-resolution notebook now shows shipping delays of two to three weeks after ordering, a shortening of the three-to-four-week delay customers have dealt with almost from the moment Apple introduced the laptop a month ago.

Checks at Apple’s online outlets in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America and South America turned up the change in Retina MacBook Pro shipping times. The Apple enthusiast blog first reported the notebook’s new status today.

Apple unveiled the Retina MacBook Pro, a 15-in. notebook that starts at $2,199, on June 11 at its annual developers conference. By early June 12, the online store’s shipping status indicator had shifted to “2-3 weeks,” showing that Apple had exhausted its initial supply. Later that day the marker changed to “3-4 weeks,” where it remained until today.

Changes in Apple’s online store’s shipping delay status is regularly interpreted as indicating increased inventory, decreased demand or a move toward a balance between supply and demand.

The MacBook Pro configurations sans the Retina-style screen show “In Stock” for shipping, meaning that they will be shipped shortly after ordering, sometimes the same day of the order.

Apple refreshed its entire laptop line last month, boosting RAM and storage space, and transitioning to Intel’s “Ivy Bridge” line of dual- and quad-core processors.

Many analysts believe that Apple will expand the Retina display to other MacBook Pro models, including the lower-priced 13-in. notebooks, later this year, and that it will also transition the MacBook Air to the higher-resolution screens.

Apple will disclose Mac sales figures for the second quarter during its earnings call with Wall Street analysts on July 24. Historically, the company does not break out sales of individual models in its laptop lines; the exceptions are when it reports what it believes are impressive figures.

Research firm IDC said this week that it expects Apple to post U.S. Mac unit sales numbers that will be lower than the same period a year ago. Rival Gartner, however, disagreed, saying that U.S. Mac sales would be about 4% higher than the second quarter of 2011.

Apple’s online stores in markets around the world now show shorter delays between ordering and shipping a Retina MacBook Pro.


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Penguin cuts ebooks from library over DRM security

Penguin cuts ebooks from library over DRM security

Spooked by the possibility of piracy, one publisher has removed its ebooks from libraries’ digital shelves, including Kindle editions.

Penguin Group USA cited “concerns about the security of our digital editions” in a statement to Library Journal’s Digital Shift blog. The publisher didn’t elaborate on its concerns, but said it’s “working closely with our business partners and the library community to forge a distribution model that is secure and viable.”

Library ebook limitations

In other words, Penguin wants to make sure that library ebooks can’t be easily stripped of DRM and kept by the borrower without penalty. Overdrive, the largest distributor of library ebooks says it hopes to restore access soon, but it’s not clear what kind of anti-piracy solution Penguin Group seeks.

Amazon began supporting a Kindle ebook library in September. Users can go to Overdrive’s website, find an e-book from a local library, and select “Send to Kindle.” From Amazon’s Website, users can then send the ebook to any Kindle location, including smartphones, tablets, computers, or ereaders.

Most publishers won’t lend ebooks

It’s great when it works, but library ebook selections are limited by the number of licenses the library has. Moreover, the concept of lending ebooks stands on shaky ground with major US publishers, as PaidContent points out.

Macmillan and Simon & Schuster don’t lend ebooks at all, and Hachette doesn’t allow new books to be borrowed. HarperCollins requires libraries to buy a new copy after an ebook has been borrowed 26 times. Random House is the only major publisher that allows unrestricted access to its ebooks through libraries. Penguin’s sudden withdrawal from library ebook lending – even if temporary – underscores how publishers aren’t eager to let libraries enter the digital age.

Pay for Steam games using bitcoins

Pay for Steam games using bitcoins

As of today—right this minute, even—you can purchase Steam games using credit cards, PayPal, and bitcoins. Rory Desmond, director of business at bitcoin payment service provider BitPay, laid out details for the company’s new partnership with Valve.

“Valve reached out to us because they were looking for a fast, international payment method for Steam users in emerging gaming markets in countries like India, China, and Brazil,” Desmond explained. “As the internet’s universal currency, Bitcoin will allow Steam to easily reach gamers in every market around the world – without the high fees or the risk of chargeback fraud that come with card payments.”

Desmond pointed out that credit cards and other traditional payment methods aren’t available in many countries where players want to purchase PC games through Steam. By integrating bitcoins into Steam, players can load their wallet with a safe and fast form of currency.

“Bitcoin has a bright future in gaming. We look forward to partnering with more gaming platforms to make bitcoin the most popular payment method for the world’s gamers,” Desmond concluded.

Ghost Recon Future Soldier Multiplayer beta extended by one week

Ghost Recon Future Soldier Multiplayer beta extended by one week

Ubisoft has just announced that Ghost Recon Future Soldier multiplayer beta has been extended by one week. The announcement was made by Ubisoft on Ghost Recon Future Soldier official Facebook Page.

Ghost Recon Future Soldier beta screenOn Facebook, Ubisoft wrote, “Ghosts – we’ve been working hard to incorporate your feedback into the beta. We want more. The beta period is extended for 1 week. Looking forward to seeing you on the battlefield, and remember, only the dead fight fair,”

So all you Ghost Recon Future Soldier beta testers out their, here is your last chance to get your feedback implemented in the final version of the game.

League of Legends Has 27 Million Daily Players | League of Legends

League of Legends Has 27 Million Daily Players | League of Legends

With 27 million daily users and 67 million monthly users, Riot continues to dominate the MOBA scene.

Free-to-play MOBA juggernaut League of Legends announced today that they have an impressive 27 million players a day. 

This number is astonishingly large for several reasons. To begin with, that means that there are more League players a day than citizens of Afghanistan — 27 million daily users means that if League were a country it would be the 45th largest by populace. This also beats the highest subscriber numbers for giant World of Warcraft, which peaked back in 2010 at 12 million.  These numbers are even larger than they were last reported by Forbes in October of 2012, when they had reached 12 million a day. 

In other metric news, Riot reports that they have 67 million monthly players, with 7.5 million playing at the same peak time daily. This follows news earlier this month that Riot made $624 million in revenue last year. While the numbers are self-reported, Riot has promised to make a post clearing up any questions viewers have about their validity.

Hopefully Riot is enjoying themselves in their headquarters, which are undoubtedly castles made of actual money.

What do you think? Are you part of Riot and League of Legends meteoric rise?