Technology News Headlines for July 24 2012 ( Tuesday )

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 Banned In EU As Apple Wins Case

In what may prove to be the most significant part of the IP fight between Apple and Samsung yet, an appeals court in Dusseldorf has decided that Apple's claims that Samsung copied its designs for the iPad have enough validity to result in a ban of a Samsung product both in Germany and the greater European Union. The court decided that the Galaxy Tab 7.7 infringes Apple patents from 2004. But Apple had been trying to include the Galaxy Tab 10.1N in the same ruling--the redesigned tablet variant that resulted from a previous Samsung loss--and the court decided this argument didn't hold. Thus it seems likely that Samsung will try a simple redesign of the 7.7-inch Tab along similar lines, which may appease the courts enough. Nevertheless it's a significant win for Apple in what is becoming a very protracted battle.

iRobot's Telepresence Bot Connects Doctors And Patients
iRobot, makers of that adorable Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, tiny robo-tanks, and other mechanical helpers, have announced their newest product: a telemedicine robot for hospitals. The 5-foot tall RP-VITA virtually connects doctors and patients in different locations through live video. The robot relays voice audio and video, swivells around to face different speakers, and, usefully, comes equipped with a stethescope, the Boston Globe explains. The robot can be controlled and can take navigation cues from an app on an iPad. RP-VITA is born out of a partnership between iRobot and InTouch Health, which iRobot invested $6 million in earlier this year.

AT&T Activates 3.7 Million iPhones In Q2
In advance of Apple's earnings announcement later today, both major carriers in the U.S. have shown strong iPhone sales and activation performances in the last few months. Verizon went first, revealing last week that it sold 2.7 million iPhones in the batch of 5.9 million smartphones sold in total in Q2. Today, AT&T revealed its latest quarterly earnings report, also listing a bumper crop of iPhone sales this last few months. 3.7 million activations of 5.1 million smartphones--over 70 percent of its smartphones sold in total--were iPhones, AT&T says.

Apple Reports $35 Billion Quarterly Revenues, $8.8 Billion Profits
Apple has reported its third quarter financial results, headlining with a quarterly revenue of $35 billion and net profit of $8.8 billion. Although Apple beat its own guidance on every figure, analysts had been predicting revenues of about $37 billion, profits of about $10.36 per share instead of $9.32.

That's up from figures of $28.6 billion for revenue and profit of $7.3 billion in the same quarter for 2011. Gross margin, a measure of how efficiently Apple can turn its sales into profits, rose from 41.7% in the same quarter of 2011 to 42.8% in this year's quarter. Underlining how far outside the U.S. Apple's business has spread, 62% of revenues were accounted for by international sales.

Among the sales, Apple sold 26 million iPhones in the quarter, which represents a 28% unit growth year on year. 17 million iPads were sold, at an 84% growth. 4 million Macs were sold, at a 2% growth rate and 6.8 million iPods were sold, representing a 10% unit decline year-on-year (this last figure was anticipated given previous iPod sales declines and the lessening importance of the overall MP3 player market in the face of skyrocketing smartphone sales).

In the conference call concerning the results both CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer commented about rumors about the upcoming Apple products affecting sales figures of on-sale equipment, and mentioned depressed sales in financial crisis-stricken-Europe as contributing to Apple's overall sales picture.

The Weather Channel Launches "My Friends' Weather," A Social Media Storm Alert System
For the past several decades, we've learned of impending severe weather from a cranky buzz that interrupts our television or radio programming. The Weather Channel now wants to turn that into metaphorical buzz on social networks.

Its website, which gets more unique visitors than Twitter, launched a new feature today--its first that utilizes Facebook's Open Graph--that shows users which of their Facebook friends live in areas where there are severe weather alerts. Users can share the appropriate alerts with those friends by posting on their Facebook Timelines.

The feature is only available on for now, but EVP of Digital Product alerts will also roll out on mobile apps soon.

Facebook Adds New Features, Scheduled Posts, To Facebook Pages
Facebook Page admins have a list of new tools to work with, announced in a post on the Facebook developers blog. The first of those is method to schedule posts in advance from within Facebook itself, without relying on clients like Tweetdeck. Facebook Page posts can be scheduled to be published to six months in advance, and as soon as ten minutes from the moment a post is created.

Another new feature, "unpublished posts," seems like a way of separating a Page's sponsored posts and content posts. Created as an "unpublished post," sponsored posts--targeted to a specific demographic of Facebooker-- may be live and visible on Facebook to a select group of users on the right sidebar, but do not appear on the timeline of the owner Facebook page.
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