Apple's week filled with iPad 3 rumors, court dates

Find out all about the latest iPad 3 rumors, along with the usual dose of real news in this week's edition of Apple Talk Weekly.

It wouldn't be a normal week in Apple news land without a healthy dose of lawsuits, rumors, and spy shots of future products. This week did not disappoint in any of those categories.

First things first, the iPad 3. Rumor has it we'll see it the first week of March, or at least a device that will succeed the iPad 2. Word of that was joined with a photo of what might just be the back casing of the new device, which when stuck next to an iPad 2 suggested we could be looking at the real deal.

If new hardware isn't your thing, there's always legal paperwork (yes I just said that). There was plenty of that to go around this week with several key court decisions and new lawsuits worth keeping an eye on. The FBI also released a nearly 200-page background check on Apple co-founder Steve Jobs from 1991.

You can catch up on these stories, and others from the past week, in this edition of Apple Talk Weekly.

Apple Talk Weekly is a collection of some of the week's top Apple news and rumors. It appears every Saturday, and is curated by CNET's Apple reporter, Josh Lowensohn.

News

FBI releases background check on Steve Jobs
The FBI this week released a heavily redacted background check it did on late co-founder Steve Jobs back in 1991, some six years before Jobs would return as Apple's CEO and when U.S. President George H.W. Bush was considering Jobs for a position on his Export Council.

A snippet of Jobs' FBI file, released this week.
A snippet of Jobs' FBI file, released this week. FBI/CNET

Among its findings are that there was once an attempt to extort Jobs and Apple with a bomb threat that later turned out to be false. There are also a handful of accounts from individuals interviewed by the FBI who weigh in on his personality and business style.

Apple share hit new highs
Apple set new records on Wall Street this week, reaching an all-time high in intraday trading and closing at several record highs. Apple's stock neared $500 for the first time, marking a considerable gain over the past three and a half months. The rise coincided with credible rumors that the company planned to announce a new iPad next month (more on that below).

Change.org member Sarah Ryan delivers a box filled with signatures to an Apple employee at the Grand Central Terminal store in Manhattan. Roger Cheng/CNET

Petitions asking for better working conditions delivered to Apple retail stores
Members from Change.org this week hand-delivered printed copies of a petition with 250,000 signatures asking Apple to improve working conditions at the overseas manufacturers where it both sources components and has its products built. The petitions, which were a combination of two separate grassroots efforts, were delivered to Apple Stores around the world, including the U.S., India, Australia and the U.K.

Letters, lawsuits, court decisions galore
This week there was no shortage of legal happenings, one of which was a letter from Apple to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, asking it to change the way it handles patents. That included setting royalty rates and keeping certain patents from being leverage to force injunctions. It was unearthed the same day Google made a pledge to set reasonable royalty rates for patents held by Motorola Mobility, which it announced plans to acquire last year.

In court, Motorola Mobility failed to get an injunction against Apple this week in Mannheim's Regional Court in Germany after a judge said that Motorola didn't make a strong enough case that Apple was infringing on a patent it held. Apple fired back yesterday in a U.S. court, taking aim at the company for breaching a contract it had with Qualcomm that both companies shared, saying Motorola shouldn't have been using it against other licensees.

Earlier in the week a judge for Germany's regional court in Dusseldorf sided with Samsung in a separate case brought on by Apple, which had asked for an injunction on Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1N--the version of Samsung's tablet that had been re-designed per Apple's request.

Separately, a China-based Proview Technology filed a restraining order against Apple in China for the use of "iPad," saying it owned the trademark in the country and was looking for a ban of sales of the tablet there. There was also a lawsuit against Apple filed by Swiss company SmtartData , accusing it of infringing on one of its patents with the iPhone, Apple TV and Remote app for iOS.

App Store rankings not something to game, says Apple
Apple this week warned developers not to use services that offer to raise the rankings of software into the company's coveted top rankings. Apple did not name names of third-party services that are able to do that, but did tell developers that they could be kicked out of its developer program if they chose to use them. In the past Apple has made a number of changes to its algorithm to combat app ranking manipulation, however this is one of the first times the company has come out against the practice outright.


Rumors

The scene at Apple's iPad 2 unveiling last year. James Martin/CNET

Apple holding iPad 3 event first week of March?
Stop me if you've heard this one before . Apple will once again unveil a new iPad on the first week of March--just as it did last year--a new report claimed this week. In a brief report citing anonymous sources, AllThingsD said Apple will hold an event in San Francisco that week to show off the iPad 2's successor, which the outlet believes will look much like the iPad 2, but with a higher resolution screen and a speedier processor, mirroring other reports.

15, 17-inch MacBook Airs on the way soon?
Remember that old rumor about Apple expanding its MacBook Air line to include models larger than 13 inches? Apple Insider said yesterday that Apple is cooking up an overhaul to its MacBook Pro line that involves stripping out components like the optical disc tray and hard drive in its two larger models, and replacing the latter with flash memory like it did on the MacBook Air. The report suggests Apple is focusing its efforts on making those changes to its 15-inch model first, later rolling out a similar design for its 17-inch MacBook Pro model.

The alleged iPad 3 case (right) next to the back of the iPad 2 (left).
The alleged iPad 3 case (right) next to the back of the iPad 2 (left). Repair Labs

Is this the housing for the iPad 3?
Do you get excited viewing photos of machined aluminum that might be future Apple products? Then you might enjoy these shots from Repair Labs that cropped up this week, which the site says is the rear housing (read: the metal part behind the screen) for an iPad 3. While unconfirmed, the cases show a few notable differences from existing iPad 2 parts, both confirming some previous rumors and suggesting that they could be the real deal.

Canadian cable operators already in possession of Apple's TV set
A report from The Globe And Mail made waves this week for its claims that Apple's in talks with Rogers and BCE in Canada to make the two companies partners for the launch of its TV venture. The chewy part of the report came with the claim that those companies already had Apple TV units in their labs for in-house testing. The news followed a survey from Best Buy that gave a wish list of specs for an Apple-made TV, a survey the electronics retailer later said was simply "hypothetical."

iPad 3 won't have quad-core chip?
Are those rumors of Apple bringing four cores to the next iPad 3 a big crock? CNET talked to two analysts to get a feel for where mobile chips are and where they're going. The short answer? Four cores may not be in the cards just yet, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Read the story to find out why.

The electronics department at Sam's Club, soon to get more Apple gear?
The electronics department at Sam's Club, soon to get more Apple gear? Sam's Club

Apple mini stores headed to Sam's Club?
Wholesale retailer Sam's Club is rumored to be in talks with Apple to bring store-within-stores to Sam's Club warehouses. A report this week said the two companies were in early discussions about just such a thing, but that no deal had been struck just yet. Sam's Club already sells a number of Apple products including iPods and the iPad. The rumored mini store deal could expand that to Apple's Mac computers too.

iOS 5.1 to coincide with iPad 3 unveiling?
Deep within the carrier profiles found inside of Apple's latest beta of iOS 5.1 are hints that the software may have a final release date of March 9, 2012. That date wouldn't be all that significant except for the fact that it's the same week Apple's now rumored to be taking the wraps off its next iPad. These release hints within developer beta versions of iOS have been wrong plenty of times, so take this one with a grain of salt. As a frame of reference, Apple's last iOS 5.1 beta was released in early January.

 

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