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Giant tech company Apple has been ordered to pay damages to rival Samsung Electronics by a court in the Netherlands.

The court said that Apple had infringed a patent held by Samsung relating to the way phones and tablet PCs connect to the internet.

Apple, which recently became the world’s most valuable firm, has been facing various legal issues.

In a separate case, it was fined $2.3 million in Australia for its claims on 4G capabilities of the iPad.

And it is still not clear how much it may have to pay to Samsung in damages.

The Dutch court did not specify any amount, but the damages will be calculated based on sales of Apple’s iPhone and iPad in the Netherlands.

“Samsung welcomes the court’s ruling, which reaffirmed Apple’s free-riding of our technological innovation,” the South Korean manufacturer said.

“In accordance with the ruling, we will seek adequate compensation for the damages Apple and its products have caused.”

Apple has been ordered to pay damages to rival Samsung Electronics by a court in the Netherlands

Apple has been ordered to pay damages to rival Samsung Electronics by a court in the Netherlands

Samsung had claimed that Apple had infringed four of its patents. However, the Dutch court said that only one of those had been breached.

Apple and Samsung are two of the biggest manufacturers of smartphones and tablet PCs in the world.

However, the two firms have been involved in dozens of patent cases and disputes relating to designs of their respective products.

Analysts said that with so many cases being fought by the two firms in different countries, neither of the parties may emerge as the overall winner.

Last month, a judge in the US ordered the chief executives of both the firms to meet to try to settle their legal differences.

But the talks did not lead to any agreement and Apple has since sought a ban on sales of one of Samsung’s tablet computers and the latest range of its Galaxy smartphones.

Apple had enjoyed an early lead in the smartphone and tablet PC market with the launch of its iPhone and iPad devices.

However, Samsung has been steadily increasing its market share in the sector with the introduction of new gadgets.

Analysts said that given the increased competition, the two firms had been using the legal battles as a way to stop each other from increasing their market shares.

“Given that they are number one and two in the market right now, they are going to use any possible tool to slow down each other and patents could be one of those tools,” said Melissa Chau of IDC Asia Pacific.

However, she said that given the amount of time, money and energy that the two firms have spent on fighting these cases, they were likely to find a solution in the long run.

“In the past, when we look at how these things have evolved, they get settled in due course of time and businesses move on.”

There was more bad news for Apple.

A court in Australia has ruled that the firm had misled consumers with its claims over the capability of the latest version of the iPad to connect to Australia’s fourth generation (4G) cellular networks.

The court said that Apple had broken the country’s consumer laws by implying that the newest version of the iPad could connect with the networks, when it could not.

“The conduct concerned was deliberate and very serious,” Justice Mordy Bromberg was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

“It exposed a significant proportion of Australian consumers of tablet devices to a misleading representation.”

In addition to the $2.3 million fine, Apple was also asked to pay 300,000 Australia dollars ($305,000) in court costs.

 

When Apple’s voice-activated assistant Siri has been asked over the weekend “What is the best smartphone ever?”, it appeared to favor the iPhone’s rival, Nokia’s Lumia 900.

But Siri now responds to the same question with a jovial: “Wait… there are other phones?”

Nokia has accused Apple of “overriding the software” after the quirk was noticed.

Apple would not confirm that a change had been made.

The Siri software, which is featured on Apple’s iPhone 4S, uses the computational search engine Wolfram Alpha to serve answers to some questions.

For a question such as “what is the best smartphone ever?”, Wolfram Alpha would pool available reviews and comment in order to come up with what it feels is the right result.

When Apple Siri has been asked over the weekend "What is the best smartphone ever", it appeared to favor Nokia’s Lumia 900

When Apple Siri has been asked over the weekend "What is the best smartphone ever", it appeared to favor Nokia’s Lumia 900

In this instance, the “best” result was determined by reviews on the website of US retailer Best Buy.

Nokia’s Lumia 900 came out on top.

However, when asked the same question, the software no longer attempts to search Wolfram Alpha to find its answer, instead producing a default answer.

Nokia spokeswoman Tracey Postill told the Sydney Morning Herald: “Apple position Siri as the intelligent system that’s there to help, but clearly if they don’t like the answer, they override the software.”

However, Nokia said Tracey Postill’s comments were “lighthearted” and “taken out of context”.

“We were certainly flattered and honored,” Nokia spokesman Doug Dawson added.

 

Apple has decided to stop using the phrase 4G in adverts for its latest iPad.

The description proved controversial because 4G is not widely available in the UK and the iPad will not work with it when it is.

The UK’s advertising watchdog and others around the world investigated Apple over use of the 4G phrase.

Apple said the confusion arose because of the ways operators refer to different high-speed mobile technologies.

When the newest version of the iPad was launched in March, adverts for the device claimed it would work with 4G, meaning fourth generation, mobile technology. The 4G in question was a technology known as Long Term Evolution (LTE) that was starting to appear in the US.

The UK's advertising watchdog and others around the world investigated Apple over use of the 4G phrase

The UK's advertising watchdog and others around the world investigated Apple over use of the 4G phrase

However, when LTE arrives in Britain, the rest of Europe and many other nations, it will use different frequencies to those in the US meaning the iPad will not be able to use 4G everywhere.

The disparity led to many complaints. In the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated and won assurances from Apple that its advertising would change.

A spokesman for the ASA said it had started a second investigation after consumers told it that the 4G phrase was still being used to describe the iPad’s capabilities.

The ASA had been “working closely” with Apple to amend the way the iPad is advertised, said the spokesman, adding that the consumer electronics firm had been very co-operative during the investigation.

“We will be checking the amendments to ensure they adhere to the Advertising Code,” he said.

Apple said the confusion had arisen because of the different high-speed mobile technologies dubbed 4G by operators and carriers.

Apple would change its terminology to remove this confusion, it said.

“Carriers do not all refer to their high speed networks with the same terminology, therefore we’ve decided to use ‘wi-fi + cellular’ as a simple term which describes all the high speed networks supported by the new iPad,” Apple said in a statement.

“The advanced wireless features of the new iPad have not changed,” it added.

 

There’s no official announcement from Apple that the iPad mini/iPad nano is even in the works, so a release date for the tablet is even more up in the air.

Although if the rumors turn out to be true, we can expect Apple to start rolling out the iPad mini very soon after a extraordinarily over-hyped launch event.

According to a Digitimes source, the iPad nano could start production in the third quarter of 2012.

Analyst Shaw Wu says the “exact timing” for an iPad mini release date “is difficult to predict”, but said its launch is a “question of when, not if”.

A report straight out of China suggests that key Apple manufactures Foxconn and Pegatron have started to receive orders for the new iPad mini. It goes on to say the factories will have 6 million units ready for a launch in Q3 of 2012.

Apple has announced its annual WWDC event running from June 11-15, which sold out in just two hours, and there’s a chance we could see the Cupertino firm announce the iPad mini there, possibly alongside the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 – but then again, we could also see Apple launch a new ice cream factory, such is the chances of all three of those happening.

A iMore source claims that the iPad Mini will be ready by October 2012.

There's no official announcement from Apple that the iPad mini is even in the works, so a release date for the tablet is even more up in the air

There's no official announcement from Apple that the iPad mini is even in the works, so a release date for the tablet is even more up in the air

Apple is known for its extravagant products, launch events and pricing policies, however the iPad mini may herald a new era for those who long for an Apple device, but simply can’t part with an arm and a leg to buy one.

It’s thought that Apple’s idea behind the iPad nano is to tackle the budget end of the which, where the Amazon Kindle Fire is currently king, and a Digitimes source predicts it could land with a very reasonable $249-$299 price tag.

As the name suggests, an iPad which will be sporting a screen smaller than the stock 9.7-inch display found on the first three Apple tablets.

In February, a Wall Street Journal report claimed a source from an Apple component supplier had confirmed it was testing a smaller screen for Apple, in the region of 8-inches with a similar resolution to the iPad 2.

In March, Digitimes reported that the new iPad mini would actually come with a 7.85-inch display – a tad bigger than the 7-inch screen found on the Kindle Fire.

April saw Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu reveal that Apple had been testing devices with screens ranging from 4 to 12-inches and highlighted that the 7.85-inch format would be most likely “when, not if” the iPad mini is launched.

Shaw Wu also predicted the iPad nano would sport the same resolution as the original iPad and iPad 2, at 1,024 x 768 – meaning developers wouldn’t have to tweak their apps.

According to an iMore source, the mini iPad will sport a 7-inch screen with the same retina display as the iPhone 4S and new iPad.

To help keep the cost of the iPad mini down, one source reckons it will ship with just 8 GB of internal storage – the same amount as the Amazon Kindle Fire.

Well, we’re still unsure whether Apple will go down the iPad mini route. Steve Jobs made his stance on smaller tablets quite clear and it would be a daring move by the Cupertino-firm to go against its popular former boss.

The budget tablet market is one which is definitely growing, and one which Apple is currently not part of, so it won’t be too much of a surprise if the firm does decide to go down this route.

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