Samsung requests the U.S. Supreme Court take on the Apple patent case

image ApplevSamsung
The battle between Samsung and Apple continues, as the former of the two levies its one last attempt to avoid paying out any damages.
According to a report published by Re/code, Samsung has appealed to the Supreme Court in the United States to take on the patent case it has been locked in with Apple for quite a stretch of time now. In the appeal, Samsung states that there’s an overarching problem with patent cases in general, especially when it comes to information provided to jurors, and that in its specific case, not enough information was provided to the jury for them to make an educated determination — because they couldn’t understand the patents.
“Samsung is escalating this case because it believes that the way the laws were interpreted is not in line with modern times,” it said in a statement. “If the current legal precedent stands, it could diminish innovation, stifle competition, pave the way for design patent troll litigation and negatively impact the economy and consumers.”
It’s an interesting step, but not all that surprising. Samsung, for its part, is simply making an attempt to get the money back it has already agreed to pay Apple in the beginning of December, which should be delivered to Apple at some point today, December 14. If the Supreme Court does grant Samsung’s appeal, and the decision goes in Samsung’s favor, then Apple would need to repay that $548 million back to Samsung.
So while it looked like it all might be coming to an end earlier this month, the case continues to rage on.
[via Re/code]

Google Photos gains shared albums; coming to iOS, Android and web today

Google Photos
At its Nexus launch event in late September, Google announced that it would be bringing ‘Shared Albums’ feature to Google Photos later this year. True to its words and just before the holiday season, the company has started rolling out the feature to iOS, Android and web version of Google Photos.
The steps are pretty simple. You create a shared album, send the link to your friends and loved ones, they join the album and then they can start adding their own photos to it. Once new photos are added in an album, other people who have joined that album will automatically receive a notification about it.

Photos added by someone else in a shared album can also be added to your own Google Photos library.
Shared albums start rolling out on Android, iOS and the web for all Google Photos users starting from today.
[Via Google]

Prisoners in the UK could be getting iPads for education and to ‘video chat their families’

Split view - iPad
The iPad is a powerful tool, especially when it comes to education, and a new proposal in the United Kingdom suggests prisoners should be taking advantage of the mobile devices.
According to a report published by The Telegraph, an adviser to the Ministry of Justice in the United Kingdom has made it clear that iPads should be a tool used in the prison system to help those detained with literacy and numeracy. On top of that, the prisoners should be able to keep in touch with their families from within their cells, utilizing things like FaceTime or Skype to “video chat their families.”
According to the former head of the prison service, having iPads in cells could make the time that prisoners spend within them more constructive:
“Prisoners spend a lot of time in cells, and we need to make that time more constructive. They should be meeting a tutor once a week, but doing work on literacy and numeracy on their own. We could look at giving prisoners iPads to work on in their cells.”
At the same time, Dame Sally Coates, a former headteacher in the area, is also conducting a review of education within the UK prison system, and is also considering the proposal. Coates says that if a prisoner doesn’t have the necessary skills to get a job after a stint in prison, then they are more likely to reoffend.
At the time of publication, Justice Minister Michael Gove is looking over the proposals, but a decision has not been made yet.
[via Gizmodo UK; The Telegraph]

Apple has reportedly been working on its own GPU for several years

Apple Australia
As Apple’s A-branded processors continue to get attention as high-powered chipsets in mobile products, another chip could be getting some of the limelight soon.
According to a new rumor, Apple has reportedly been working on its own in-house graphics chip for quite some time. Many years, in fact, and is still hard at work on developing its own GPU for its mobile devices. The report indicates that Apple has already been working on the GPU for several years now, but there’s no clear indication when, or even if, a finalized product ready for installation in iPhones and iPads will see the light of day anytime soon.
As it stands now, Apple utilizes a variety of PowerVR graphics chips that are designed by Imagination Technologies. If Apple can get its own in-house GPU off the ground and in its devices, it would mean Apple would not have to rely on IT from that point forward.
The report indicates that this new GPU will probably not be ready by the unveiling of the iPhone 7 in 2016.
[via GforGames; Fudzilla]

GoPro Apple Watch app lets you Start/Stop recording, preview camera angles, and more

Go Pro Apple Watch app
GoPro is one of the go-to brands when it comes to recording just about anything, especially when it comes to outdoor activities, like skateboarding. And now it’s getting even better.
Recently, GoPro updated its mobile app to support the Apple Watch, and bring with it some interesting use case features to the wearable, making it even easier to get that perfect shot without having to rely on your iPhone. GoPro officially showed off the new features in a video starring Mikey Taylor, a pro skateboarder, which you can watch below.
With the Apple Watch app, you’ll be able to Start/Stop recording, add “HiLighted” moments to your recorded clips, and even review clips. Users will also be able to preview an active camera angle, making it possible to double check an upcoming recording session’s angle before it kicks off right from your wrist.
The iOS app has also been updated to make it easier to pull still images from a recording, and even better filtering options as well.

Do you use a GoPro?
[via Engadget]

Apple’s Smart Battery case for the iPhone 6s receives the teardown treatment

iPhone 6s battery case
Love it or hate it, there is no way you can ignore Apple’s Smart Battery case for the iPhone 6s. The case has led to Apple and Jony Ive receiving a lot of flak for releasing a product that does not live up to Apple’s design standard.
While from the outside, the Smart Battery case does not look like a product made by Apple, how does it look from inside? iFixit tore it down to find out.
iPhone 6s Smart Battery case
Just like the Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil, tearing down the Smart Battery case is an irreversible destructible process. Prying open the soft microfibre finish in the inside revealed the aluminium sheet on which the microfibre cloth sticks to. The sheet has been heavily scratched to improve the adhesive bond. There is also a mesh interfacing to make sure that there are no fatigue damage on the silicone hinge.
Removing the aluminium sheet gives one access to the 1877mAh battery and its logic board. The battery has been strongly glued in its place to improve the rigidity of the case. The logic board connected to the battery is very small and only contains a few ICs related to charging and load switching.
In the end, the iFixit team gave the Smart Battery case for the iPhone 6s a repairability score of 2 out of 10. It notes that while replacing the battery is possible, it will likely destroy the inner microfibre lining.
[Via iFixit]

T-Mobile offering one year of Hulu subscription to Verizon subscribers for switching

After giving unlimited LTE data for three months to its customers, offering $200 credit to Sprint users for switching over to T-Mobile and offering a $200 discount to AT&T customers on buying the 128GB iPhone 6s, the ‘Un-carrier’ “Unwrapped” its fourth holiday promotion aimed at getting Verizon customers to switch over to it.
Unlike its previous offerings though, the fourth holiday gift from T-Mobile is not that impressive. The un-carrier is only offering one year of free Hulu Switch to Verizon customers who switch over to its Simple Choice postpaid plan between December 11-17.
“Verizon customers put up with a lot of sneaky tricks from Big Red these days. Overpriced data, shocking overage penalties and no early upgrade option – just to name a few,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “So while Verizon spends billions of dollars on TV ads screaming that ‘better matters,’ we are going to show their customers why the Un-carrier is better with a real gift, half-off the best accessories and a full year of Hulu that comes with unlimited LTE streaming with Binge On at T-Mobile!  It’s a gift that will keep giving all year long!”
Once a Verizon customer switches over to T-Mobile, the un-carrier will send them a $100 Hulu gift code, which can then be redeemed for a year of of Hulu’s Limited Commercials subscription.
Thanks to BingeOn, T-Mobile subscribers can stream TV shows and movies from Hulu without worrying about crossing their data limit.
Additionally, T-Mobile is also offering interested Verizon customers up to a 50 percent discount at its in-store accessories when financed through them. This could translate into as much as $125 discount on accessories like the UE Boom, Fitbit trackers, and more.
T-Mobile’s recent offers have been very tempting compared to what other carriers like Verizon, Sprint and AT&T offer to their subscribers. Have you switched to the un-carrier due to its ‘un-wrapped’ offers yet?
[Via T-Mobile]

This clever web app lets you weigh things on your iPhone 6s using 3D Touch

TouchScale web app on iPhone
Apple won’t approve apps that use 3D Touch to weigh objects on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, but one developer has bypassed its rules with a clever web app that does exactly that. It’s called, and it’s surprisingly accurate.
Asher Trockman built after establishing exactly what the 3D Touch displays in the latest iPhones are capable of when it comes to detecting pressure, and therefore weight. You can read the results of his testing on his blog if you want to know all the juicy details.
But if you just want to use the scale, you simply have to visit in mobile Safari on your iPhone. You can then place objects on your iPhone’s display to weigh them. There are a couple of caveats, however.
The iPhone is only capable of weighing things that can be detected by the capacitive touchscreen, such as fruit and vegetables. To get an accurate reading, you must also place those objects down in such a way that only one touch is registered by your device.
Get it right, though, and you have a surprisingly accurate pocket scale. I did a couple of tests using a satsuma and a lemon, and the reading I got from my iPhone was just 1 or 2 grams out versus the reading I got from a proper kitchen scale — as you can see in the photos below.
We certainly wouldn’t recommend ditching all your scales if you have an iPhone 6s, then, but it’s nice to know that if you really need to weigh something in a pinch

Tim Cook: Chromebooks are ‘test machines’

Tim Cook 'Hour of Code
While spending some time at the Apple Store in New York city for the Hour of Code of event, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook called Chromebooks a “test machine” when questioned about the success of Google’s Chromebook in the education field and surpassing the popularity of iPads.
Cook said that Chromebooks are just “test machines” and Apple is interested “helping students learn” and allowing “kids to learn how to create and engage on a different level.” He also said that iPads are better than Chromebooks and its other competitors due to the education related apps available for it, and how the device easily integrates into a school’s curriculum. In comparison, Chromebooks require constant access to an internet connection and can only run apps through its web browser.
“We are interested in helping students learn and teachers teach, but tests, no,” Cook said. “We create products that are whole solutions for people — that allow kids to learn how to create and engage on a different level.”
Schools, colleges and other educational institutions have always used a Mac and iPad for their computing purposes because of the superior experience they offer, but over the last few years, many institutions have swiftly replaced them with Chromebooks.
Cook, however, conveniently forgot the primary reason why Chromebooks are being increasingly preferred by more schools over Macs and iPads: price. Many schools simply cannot afford expensive Apple hardware and Chromebooks are able to offer almost the same experience at one-third the price.
Has your school or college switched over to a Chromebook from an iPad or Mac?
[Via BuzzFeed]

Apple is bringing Siri Remote features to the iOS Remote app in early 2016; sees bold future for gaming

Alto's Adventure for Apple TV
Yesterday, Apple released tvOS 9.1 to owners of the new Apple TV. With the new software, support for Apple’s official iOS Remote app was also brought to the table.