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iPad rumor mill hits high gear, as do Apple's plans for China

Apple Talk Weekly gives you all the big Apple news and rumors from the week, including iPhone 4S launches in China, talk of 50-inch TVs, and how much data Siri really uses.

The Apple rumor mill went into high gear this week, with reports of multiple iPads, giant televisions, and mystery events later in the month.

One tidbit of official news is that the company is planning to bring the iPhone 4S to China and 21 other countries next week. The move, which was expected, should give the 4S a healthy sales boost considering that China has become a top market for smartphones. In Apple's most recently reported quarterly earnings, Greater China came in second (behind North America) on the company's list of top revenue-generation regions.

You can read more about these stories and others--along with the usual dose of rumors--below.

Apple Talk Weekly rounds up of some of the top Apple-related news and rumors. It appears every Saturday morning and is curated by CNET's Apple reporter, Josh Lowensohn.


Apple settles patent lawsuit with Elan Microelectronics
Apple doled out $5 million this week to settle a lawsuit filed against it by Elan Microelectronics in 2009. Elan originally accused Apple of violating its multitouch patent, with Apple countersuing Elan. The settlement brings with it the right for both companies to use each other's patents.

Apple's Q1 earnings set for January 24
All eyes will be on Apple's first-quarter earnings report, which the company said it will release later this month. It's the first report to include sales of the iPhone 4S, which went on sale in October. The iPhone has quickly become Apple's top source of revenue, and analysts are expecting record numbers with this latest model.

Apple's iPhone 4S.
Apple's iPhone 4S. Apple

iPhone 4S arrives in China, 21 other countries next week
Apple this week announced plans to launch the iPhone 4S in China and 21 other countries beginning January 13. The arrival comes almost exactly three months after the launch of the 4S, which is expected to be crowned Apple's fastest-selling phone yet.

Apple outs, pulls, then refunds 'GameStore' app
Buyers of GameStore--a 99-cent app that appeared briefly on the App Store over the weekend and listed Apple as the developer--received an e-mail from the company this week notifying them about the refund. Following its discovery just before the new year, the software was pulled from the App Store.

Apple hires new VP to run iAd program
Looking to fill the void in the vice president spot for its iAd product, Apple hired former Adobe and Yahoo ad man Todd Teresi this week. Teresi will report directly to Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue, and take the place of Andy Miller, who left the company last August.

The hack that puts iPad apps on the Apple TV.
The hack that puts iPad apps on the Apple TV. Steve Troughton-Smith

Hack brings iPad apps to Apple TV
Dublin-based hacker Steven Troughton-Smith showed off a neat discovery over the weekend: iPad apps running full screen on an Apple TV set-top box. The hackery, which was demoed on video, is not yet available to those with jailbroken Apple TV boxes but shows promise of making it there eventually.


Apple holding an event in January?
Apple is rumored to be holding an event in New York sometime this month, according to a report from All Things Digital. Don't expect a TV or a new iPad, the outlet said. Instead, Apple is expected to focus on book publishing and the company's education efforts.

Rumor of 50-inch Apple TV re-emerges
In a story about CES, which kicks off next week, USA Today cited a source saying that Apple was looking at 42-inch or larger panels for its future TV set. The interesting tidbit came with mention that Apple's head of design currently has a 50-inch set sitting in his office, suggesting Apple may be thinking on the big side. A different report suggested Apple was aiming somewhere in the 32-inch to 37-inch range.

iPad 3 to get FaceTime HD, camera from 4S
In a flurry of rumors about Apple's future iPad plans, iLounge weighed in this week saying that the next iPad will sport better cameras than the iPad 2. That includes the front-facing camera, which comes in VGA quality on the current model. iLounge says Apple plans to bump it up to HD, while giving the rear camera the same module that's found in the iPhone 4S.

Apple launching iPad 3 then iPad 4 this year?
We could see not just two new iPads, but two separate product launches this year, assuming you believe the latest report from the rumor-a-minute Taiwanese news site DigiTimes. Citing component makers, the site this week said that Apple is gearing up on parts for two separate iPad releases this year, with one taking place in March and another sometime in October.

Siri a data hog?
Siri a data hog? Apple

Siri doubles iPhone data usage?
Siri's got plenty of sass, but she might also be a gateway drug for data users, a new study found this week. In its examination of data use among smartphones, mobile-network management company Arieso said iPhone 4S owners use twice as much data as iPhone 4 users, and three times the amount as iPhone 3G owners. The company blamed the Siri voice assistant for the 4S's usage numbers.

Apple and Target hooking up for mini stores
Apple reportedly wants to expand its presence at Target retail locations with plans to open up store-within-a-store showcases of its products. Citing sources, AppleInsider this week said the company plans to roll out "Apple-branded areas"--similar to what it already offers at Best Buy--to 25 Target stores.