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Apple hit with lawsuit over iPhone 4 antenna woes

Amazon cuts price of large-screen Kindle
Washington (AFP) July 1, 2010 - Amazon, in the latest salvo in the electronic book reader war, unveiled a new version of its large-screen Kindle on Thursday with a slashed price. The new Kindle DX, which features a 9.7-inch (24.6-centimeter) screen, costs 379 dollars, down from 489 dollars. Apple's cheapest iPad, the Kindle's chief rival, costs 499 dollars and features a color e-reader compared with the black-and-white Kindle, which is devoted exclusively to digital books. The Kindle DX price cut comes just days after Amazon lowered the price of the basic Kindle, which features a six-inch (15.2-cm) screen, to 189 dollars from 259 dollars. US bookstore giant Barnes and Noble offers a version of its e-reader, the Nook, with 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity for 199 dollars and a Wi-Fi-only Nook for 149 dollars.

Amazon said the new Kindle DX offers an electronic ink display with better contrast, providing clearer text and sharper images. "With 50 percent better contrast and darker fonts, you'll find it easier than ever to read wherever you happen to be," Kindle senior vice president Steve Kessel said in a statement. The new Kindle DX ships on July 7. Apple has sold more than three million iPads since the device went on sale in early April. Amazon touts the Kindle as the top-selling item at the online retailer, but does not release sales figures. Amazon also said Thursday that the Kindle Store now offers more than 620,000 books, including 108 of the 111 New York Times bestsellers, and over 200,000 books have been added to the US Kindle Store in the past six months.

China Unicom in talks to launch iPhone 4
Shanghai (AFP) July 1, 2010 - China Unicom expects to launch the latest version of Apple's iPhone on the mainland market later this year, state media reported Thursday. The Chinese company is currently in talks with Apple to finalise details of the launch on its network, the official China Daily reported. Yu Yingtao, general manager of China Unicom's sales department, said the company expected to reach agreement with Apple before the fourth quarter, according to the report. China Unicom officials were not immediately available for comment.

China has had a grey market in Apple products for years to satisfy demand for the iPhone, which only officially went on sale in October -- more than two years after its US launch. California-based Apple launched the much-anticipated iPhone 4 around the world to much fanfare last week, with fans queueing to get their hands on the new gadget in Japan, Europe and the United States. It also plans to open mainland China's second Apple store in Shanghai's financial zone on July 10, nearly two years after the launch of the Beijing flagship store.
by Staff Writers
San Francisco, Usa (AFP) July 1, 2010
Apple is hiring antenna engineers to work on its iPhone, the latest generation of which has triggered lawsuits from buyers upset because certain grips choke signal strength.

A posting online at jobs.apple.com said the company is looking for experienced engineers "able to design antennas suitable for wireless handheld devices with excellent radiation performance."

Apple's iPhone 4 launched a week ago with blockbuster sales and complaints by some that cupping the smartphones in a way that covers the lower left corner strangles telecom service signal strength.

The iPhone 4 has silver edging designed as part of the antenna system to improve signal strength.

Apple responded to signal strength complaints by telling owners of its latest generation iPhone to be mindful of how they hold the handsets.

The problem could be fixed by moving one's hand or encasing iPhones in rubber "bumper" frames that Apple sells for 30 dollars.

"Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas," Apple said in a statement.

"This is a fact of life for every wireless phone."

Apple advised users who experience the signal problem to "avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases."

By Thursday, reports surfaced of iPhone 4 buyers unsatisfied with Apple's response filing lawsuits in the United States against the iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Macintosh computer maker.

A lawsuit filed in the state of Maryland wants Apple and exclusive US iPhone telecom service provider AT&T to pay for "unlawful and unconscionable conduct" including "fraud, negligence and deceptive trade practices."

California law firm Kershaw, Cutter and Ratinoff used a freshly redesigned website to recruit disenchanted iPhone 4 buyers for a lawsuit against Apple.

"Thousands of people are really unhappy with their new iPhones and Apple's response to the antenna issue," the law firm said in a blog post. "We told our audience we wanted to hear from them and boy did we."

The law firm said it got 1,400 emails in a single day and that 98 percent of the missives "overwhelmingly expressed discontent."

Antenna concerns did not deter the hordes that descended on Apple stores, with the firm reporting that it sold more than 1.7 million of the smartphones in the first three days on the market.

"I think these issues will sort themselves out," Gartner technology analyst Van Baker told AFP this week. "It is a very impressive phone."

Features luring people to the iPhone 4 include high-definition screens and "FaceTime," which uses a forward facing camera to enable video chat.

The original iPhone launched in 2007 brought smartphones to the masses. Apple has sold more than 50 million of the handsets in the past three years.

But its latest version enters a crowded market full of rivals boasting bigger screens and running on Google's open-source Android operating system, which is more accessible to developers than Apple's tightly guarded system.

Sales of a white iPhone 4 model have been delayed to the second half of July because of unspecified manufacturing difficulties.

The new iPhone will be available in 18 other countries in July and 24 more in August.




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Foxconn to move China Apple production as costs rise: media
Beijing (AFP) June 29, 2010
Taiwan high-tech giant Foxconn plans to shift part of its production of Apple gadgets to other parts of the country as it faces rising labour costs, reports said Tuesday. After a run of suicides and wage hikes, Foxconn will move some manufacturing from Shenzhen to northern Tianjin and central Henan province, the Financial Times said, citing unnamed executives. Citing local officials, Chi ... read more

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