TracBeam sues Apple for location services technology; some suspicion surrounding the absence of Apple products on a Chinese list surfaces, and Apple announces the iPhone 6 and brings Siri to the desktop this Fall.
This week in review provides another look into the world of Apple and what the company’s got in store for its customer base this Fall, as well as some general events in the life of Apple Inc. We realize here at Inferse that our readers are just as excited about Apple as they are about Apple gadgets – so we don’t mind giving you “the whole apple” (pun intended) and not just a “slice” of fruit company news.
First, we start with Apple’s digital voice assistant and what you can expect out of Siri this Fall.
Siri’s coming to the Mac
Siri is coming to the Mac this Fall, as a recent patent filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office discusses Siri’s capabilities on desktop computers. Apple hasn’t specifically limited Siri’s arrival to the MacBook – so Siri could also make his/her way (depending on your gender preference) to the iMac as well, though we have no official word from Apple either way.
As Apple did last year, we expect Siri’s capabilities to be expanded in iOS 8 but we’ll have to wait and see what Apple says come September.
TracBeam lawsuit against Apple
Apple is one of the top smartphone manufacturers in the world, so it’s not surprising to see the company sued over one thing, or another. This week, wireless location technology company and Colorado-based TracBeam LLC decided to file a lawsuit against Apple for infringing on four patents owned by the company. The issue at hand surrounds Apple’s location services the company uses in MacBooks, with Siri, Apple Maps, and even Safari, as well as its iAd service, Cameras in iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches, and even the, Find My iPhone feature that allows users to deactivate their stolen iDevices. TracBeam also owns patents related to both indoor and outdoor location services.
While some have called TracBeam nothing more than a patent troll, it is also true that Steve Jobs spent his career at Apple suing other companies. Apple’s taken Samsung to court twice now, two years in a row, for infringement claims. And yet, other companies such as Xiaomi, though providing iPhone clones, aren’t taken to court. The reason? They don’t pose a financial threat to Apple’s success. Apple and Samsung, however, are becoming chummy these days with an end to their international lawsuits. Still, though, Apple intends to get more money from Samsung in order to financially immobilize its greatest rival, though it would rather team up with Samsung internationally to thwart Xiaomi’s growing global threat in the smartphone industry. Recently, Xiaomi has been accused and fined $20,000 for its false advertising – so we don’t think the fifth-largest world manufacturer will pose a threat to the top 2 giants anytime soon.
Did China ban Apple products?
There seems to have been some miscommunication this week between a former China employee and the Chinese government, and Bloomberg News was caught in the middle of it all. A source told Bloomberg that the Chinese government had issued a procurement list banning MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, and any device bearing the logo and name “Apple” due to security concerns.
China responded within a day or two and said that the procurement list provided earlier in the week was related to energy-efficient products that’ve met China’s energy regulations. Apple products are still on a list of items that Chinese workers can purchase, but Apple products, though energy-efficient, have yet to comply with Chinese regulations for them.
Rumors are circulating that China is currently afraid of Apple devices, seeing that Apple is an American company and that its devices are coming from the USA – where the NSA is responsible for exploiting loopholes in iOS, Android, and Windows devices (not to mention BlackBerry) in order to spy on Americans. China said some weeks ago that Apple’s location services in its devices are a loophole that the NSA can use to spy on even Chinese citizens.
Apple responded by saying that it hasn’t complied with the NSA, nor has it conspired to spy on Chinese citizens or any others, but the NSA has discovered 38 security vulnerabilities in iPhones that’ve made it all too easy to spy on iPhone users. The NSA has spied on British and Chinese intelligence before, so it’s not surprising to see why China would fear the worst with Apple products. Apple must understand that China’s fears have nothing to do with Apple, but everything to do with Apple’s federal government.
iPhone 6 announcement set for September 9th
A new source said this week that Apple’s iPhone 6 announcement date is set in stone for September 9th. Apple will announce the iWatch around the same time though the fabled iWrist wearable still remains in mystery.
Although we do love getting photos of iPhone 6 parts and seeing the iPhone 6 leaks before the Apple announcement, the company you love isn’t too happy about all of the leaks from Asia in recent weeks. Although we noticed that it didn’t make headline news all that much, Apple has hired an Asian task force to put down the leaks. Even as far back as the iPhone 5 (if not earlier) and then the iPhone 5C, for example, we knew the iPhone 5C existed before the announcement because someone working in an Asian Apple factory took a picture of plastic pieces bearing the label “iPhone 5C” on them (in clear labeling).
A former Microsoft official was arrested and sentenced earlier this year for leaking information to a French blogger who then made known some secrets about Windows OS before Microsoft made an announcement, so we understand that leaks come from some reliable sources (we’re thinking of correct leaks here, not fake or forged photos). With that said, someone has been leaking Apple product photos and information before Apple announces it – and the company’s not been happy about it.
Perhaps Apple’s commitment to mystery (and the Asian task force appointed to put down the leaks) explains why we haven’t seen the iWatch leaked like we have the Moto 360 or LG’s G Watch and Samsung’s Gear Live Android Wear smartwatches. At the same time, however, we’ve heard, too, that even iWatch production may be a lot less (say, 3 million copies instead of 10 million) than we heard originally – so the iWatch may not arrive this year.
We’ve also heard that the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 may not arrive until next year or the end of 2014, so we’re not holding out too much hope for its appearance on September 9th. At the same time, we’d love to be surprised.
A lawsuit, NSA suspicion surrounding the American iPhone, and iPhone 6 news give us an interesting week upon which to reflect. Stay tuned next week, as we continue to bring you more coverage of what you love in the world of tech. And look for next week’s Week in Review as well, as we wrap up the coverage that matters most to you.