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U.S. Judge Expresses Frustration at Apple's and Google's Use of Litigation as 'Business Strategy'

Bloomberg reports on comments from a U.S. District Court judge in Miami chastising Apple and Google for engaging in patent lawsuits as part of a broader business strategy rather than focusing on resolution of the disputes. The judge is currently overseeing a legal dispute that began with an initial complaint by Motorola Mobility in late 2010 and was expanded in January 2012 with the approval of Google, which had agreed to acquire Motorola several months earlier.
"The parties have no interest in efficiently and expeditiously resolving this dispute; they instead are using this and similar litigation worldwide as a business strategy that appears to have no end," U.S. District Judge Robert Scola in Miami said in an order dated yesterday. "That is not a proper use of this court."
Scola went on to blast the companies' "obstreperous and cantankerous conduct" in refusing to streamline the 12 patents and over 180 claims currently involved in the lawsuit.
"Without a hint of irony, the parties now ask the court to mop up a mess they made by holding a hearing to reduce the size and complexity of the case," he wrote. "The court declines this invitation."
Scola has given Apple and Google four months in which to streamline the case on their own before he puts the case on hold.

Apple Asking Developers to Localize Apps, Opens Chinese Support Forum [iOS Blog]

AppleInsider is reporting that Apple has contacted app developers via its iTunes Connect program to ask them to localize their apps in multiple languages and to market that their apps and books are localized.
In the letter to iTunes Connect members, Apple noted that the App Store and Mac App Store are available in 155 countries with support for 40 languages, saying that "it has never been more important to localize your app and marketing material."
Apple also rolled out a Chinese Support Communities forum, which would give speakers of various Chinese languages the opportunity to help out fellow Apple users in their native tongues.

The move signals how important China has grown to Apple in the past year, as during a quarterly results call in January Apple revealed that revenues in China were up 67 percent. iPhone saw its most significant growth come in the country as well, up more than 100 percent year-over-year.

Apple has recently had to deal with controversy in China over criticism about its iPhone warranty policies in the country. In response, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued an open letter and Apple Senior VP of Operations Jeff Williams traveled to China dealing with the public relations fallout.

More reports claim next iPhone to include fingerprint tech, could lead to launch delays

Fingerprint-scannerBrian White, Topeka Capital's Apple analyst that previously gave some quite out there predictions for an Apple TV with "iRing", today is saying that his recent checks with suppliers in Asia indicate Apple will include fingerprint sensor tech in the next iPhone. For what it's worth, White says it could be the flagship feature of the 5S like Siri was with iPhone 4S. That's something we predicted earlier in our "S" iPhone piece (via BusinessInsider):

White says, "we believe fingerprint identification technology will be part of the iPhone 5S and this is likely to be the major new feature used to market the iPhone 5S, similar to what Siri was to the iPhone 4S."

I know… It's a rumor that we've heard many times before, but now another analyst that often has accurate information is saying that same fingerprint tech could be the source of delays for the next-gen iPhone.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has changed his previous predictions regarding product launches for iPhone, iPad, iPod citing a number of challenges with suppliers and the development of new features including the implementation of fingerprint technology in iPhone (via MacRumors):

Earlier we estimated that shipments of the new iPhone would begin in July (FDD version) and September (TDD version), while iPad mini 2 would hit the market in August. Currently, market consensus for shipments of iPhone 5S, low-cost iPhone and iPad mini 2 is July, July, and August, respectively. But in light of publicly available information and our knowledge of technological trends, we now think all three products will begin shipments later than our previous expectation and market consensus.

While Kuo, who previously laid out his roadmap for 2013, doesn't provide new estimates for when the devices might ship, he does say that apple is facing challenges with finding the right color coatings that work with the fingerprint sensor rumored to be included in the next iPhone, and "technical challenges" related to the manufacturing of a Retina display for a second generation iPad mini. Needlessly to say we'll be checking back in this summer to see how accurate these analysts reports have been.

Disguised discount on iPhone 4 triple sales in India in less than a week


Four large Apple resellers have reported a trebling of iPhone 4 sales in just five days after Apple introduced a trade-in scheme allowing customers to hand in their existing phone as part-payment on an iPhone 4, reports The Times of India.

Customers are offered a minimum Rs7,000 ($128) trade-in on any handset against the Rs26,500 ($486) cost of an iPhone 4. Retailers pay Rs,2000 of this in return for the right to sell the used handset, while Apple pays the Rs5,000 balance. As there appear to be no restrictions on brand, age or condition of the handset used for the trade-in, the move effectively amounts to a disguised discount.

The move appears to be a further strand in Apple's push to expand its market share in India after last month's news that it was trebling the number of franchisees in the country.

Dropped an iPhone in Water? Here’s How to Save It from Water Damage

Dunking a $650 electronic device into water is a pretty terrible feeling. The standard advice is to dry it off and stuff it into some rice, then cross your fingers and wait. But does that actually work? After accidentally dropping my iPhone for a swim into a pool of water where it was fully submerged, I had the unfortunate opportunity to test out the iPhone-in-a-rice-bag hypothesis, and I have good news; it actually works!

iPhone dropped in water

Here is exactly what I did, and what I learned from the process of saving an iPhone from extensive water exposure with the good old rice bag trick. The result is a completely functioning iPhone with zero water damage.

6 Things To-Do Immediately if iPhone has Water Contact

Want to save your iPhone? Drop everything and do this first, before putting it in rice:

  1. Remove from water as soon as humanly possible (obvious, right? But seriously, seconds can matter here so move quick)
  2. Turn the iPhone off immediately by holding down the power button until it shuts off
  3. Remove any case or enclosure right away since they can trap in moisture, screen protectors are fine to leave on unless there's an obvious water bubble
  4. Dry out the iPhone as best as you can using cloth (t-shirt, socks, whatever is readably available) or an absorbent material. Wipe down the screen, sides, and back. Pay special attention to the power button, volume buttons, mute switch, speakers and microphones, and the audio output jack, try and get all visible moisture soaked up
  5. Use a Q-Tip if possible to try and soak up extra water from the audio output jack and in small crevices. If you're out and about or have no q-tips handy, a little stick or sharp pencil poking through a t-shirt or cotton material can work too
  6. Disconnect any headphones, ports, chargers, USB cables, or accessories immediately

Now with all visible water removed, you're ready to stuff the iPhone into a rice bag.

Put the iPhone Into a Sealed Bag Full of Rice

Here are the basic requirements:

  • A zip-lock bag or similar that is air tight
  • Rice, any generic type, ideally not "enriched" (more on that in a second)
  • Patience for at least 36 hours

Fill a zipper locked bag fairly full of rice so that the entire iPhone will be covered like in the picture below, then place the iPhone into the bag and seal it shut with some air in the bag.

iPhone in a bag of rice to prevent water damage

Any type of rice works, but try to avoid enriched rice, the reason being that whatever enriches it leaves a lot of white residual powder in the bag and it will also get into the ports and buttons on the iPhone. Enriched rice does still work (it's actually what I learned), but knowing now that it leaves a lot of mystery white powder gunked up in places, I'll probably go buy a bag of normal rice for any potential future water-meets-iPhone encounters. The patience part is the hardest, and generally the longer you wait the better the likely outcome because you want all water inside the device to be completely absorbed by the rice before trying to power it on again. I left my iPhone in the air-tight rice bag for around 36 hours, but there's no harm in leaving it in for 48 hours. Any less may work but it also could be inadequate, so therefore longer is better.

Success! Saved from Water Damage

Once you've waited at least 36 hours, open the rice bag and check out the iPhone. If you suspect the iPhone has any residual moisture left in it at all, do not power it on. If all seems well, go ahead and turn it on as usual. If all goes well, it'll power on as usual, and your iPhone will have survived the water encounter!

Here's my iPhone turned on for the first time after a full submersion in water, it works beautifully just as normal, and is dry as can be:

iPhone survives water submersion with a rice bag

This should work for almost every instance of severe water contact with an iPhone, though obviously for situations where an iPhone is soaking in water while turned on for 15 minutes or longer your likelihood of recovery is going to diminish dramatically. Likewise, you'll have much better recovery odds with fresh water than you would with salt water, simply because salt water is more corrosive. Soft drinks and sticky beverages will be more challenging as well since they leave more residue around, but as long as it dries out it will probably survive even if you dump a coke or coffee onto an iPhone.

Check the Water Damage / Liquid Contact Sensors

After the iPhone is dried out completely, check out the liquid contact indicators. Each iPhone is equipped with several water damage sensors that turn red if contact with any fluid is made, and if they are triggered than the likelihood of free repair service is fairly slim and your warranty may be toast. You can check these yourself by looking at the following locations, depending on your iPhone model (image via Apple):

iPhone water damage sensor locations

Generally if the liquid sensors are triggered it's bad news, but the fine print in the water damage policy suggests that there is some leniency available, so if you're generally pleasant to deal with you may get lucky even if your iPhone spent an afternoon rolling around in ocean waves and now has some damage even after soaking in rice for a few days.

What if water damage occurred and something doesn't work?

If the iPhone has dried out, suffered water damage, and warranty service is fruitless, the four things most likely to go wrong are the following:

  • The home button becomes unresponsive – try this trick first, but if it's completely unresponsive you can usually get by with the onscreen home button trick as a fix to deal with a broken home button
  • Audio output is dead – no simple user alternative or repair, consider using a USB based dock if you want to listen to audio instead
  • Volume buttons, mute buttons, and power button don't work – you can get by without having volume and mute buttons since both of those are available through software, the power button will be a problem though if it's unresponsive so don't let the iPhone run out of battery
  • Diminished touch-screen response – depending on the severity this can be tolerable or terrible, sometimes replacing a screen helps, soemtimes it doesn't because the problem can be deeper than just damage to the liquid crystal display

If water damage has occurred, you can always try taking the iPhone into Apple to see if they'll swap it out or repair it for you for free, but without AppleCare+ the odds are fairly slim since the standard warranty does not cover water damage and accidental damage in general. That said, there are always exceptions, and sometimes the repair cost is reasonable anyway, so it's always worth a shot. The cost of repair is almost always cheaper than a new iPhone anyway, so unless you're ripe for a new subsidized contract it may be the best thing to do.

Got any other tips or tricks for saving an iPhone from water damage? Let us know in the comments!