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Apple faces antitrust lawsuitAmazon is tinkering with original programming, a solar storm is distrupting systems again, and Apple is accused of colluding with publishers to increase e-book prices.
It's Thursday, March 8th 2012. I'm Bridget Carrie in cnet.com and it's time to get loaded. Apple has had its share of legal battles but this would be a first. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the United States is planning to sue Apple and 5 book publishers which are accused of colluding to increase prices of e-books. For now, several of the parties are talking with regulators to ward off an expensive court battle. It all comes down to how publishers charge for e-books. In the printed world, bookstores buy a whole bunch of titles at wholesale and the stores are the ones that set the final price, whether that's the price marked in the book jacket or lower. In Apple's bookstore, a publisher chooses whatever e-book price they want and Apple keeps 30% of the sale. The justice department says Apple and publisher are working together to raise prices across the industry because of that model but publishers have denied the claims. Meanwhile, Apple is preparing for the new iPad to hit stores next week on March 16th. The new iPad will be the first Apple product that can tap into faster 4G LTE wireless connection speeds, although most consumers just end up buying the cheaper WiFi only version. The 4G models on AT&T and Verizon start at $629 but the data plans are different for each carrier. AT&T's data plans start at $15 a month to use 250 megabytes. On Verizon, the pricing starts at $20 for 1 gig of data. Users can cancel and start up a data plan on the iPad at any time but on Verizon, there's a $35 activation fee. So starting and stopping on Verizon comes with an extra cost. Apple also released an update to the iOS operating system and it's causing some iPhone users to do a double take. Those with an AT&T iPhone 4S are seeing a 4G icon next to the signal strength meter but as you know, the iPhone can only get 3G, not 4G. It's not exactly an error. The 4G icon shows up on the iPhone is connecting to AT&T's HSDPA network which is tech jargon for 3G network with a little more power. The thing is, phone companies like AT&T like to put the 4G label on advanced 3G for the sake of marketing. So sorry folks, that software upgrade did not just make your iPhone a 4G phone. A massive solar storm has hit Earth and could disrupt communications, GPS, power grids and airline flights over the next 2 days. A burst of charged particles from the sun's atmosphere has hit Earth and it's the largest storm in 5 years. Northern areas are the most affected. It appears that Amazon is taking steps to create original programming for its video offerings and this all started because an Amazon executive wrote on his LinkedIn page that he's the vice president of original television at Amazon. Hmm. Very interesting. Amazon hasn't confirmed but it's not surprising. Netflix and Hula both are now creating their own original content. Those are your headlines for today. I'm Bridget Carrie for cnet.com and you've just been loaded.