Top Apple News Stories: Apple v HTC, Macintosh Developer License, iPad Launch and More

It’s been a busy week for Apple

Apple shares hit another high today at the end of a week where the computer company (which is now predominantly by it’s own COO’s admission a mobile device company) launched it’s first thinly veiled attack on it’s old bedfellow Google, dropped the entry price for developers to it’s desktop developer license, officially announced release dates for it’s highly anticipated entry into the Tablet computer market and was lauded as the “World’s Most Admired Company” by Fortune.

Apple v HTC.

The Apple v HTC lawsuit has divided many industry pundits on what it’s implications are. HTC is the mobile phone manufacturer who makes handsets which run both Microsoft’s and more pertinently Google’s mobile operating systems. In some camps the belief is simply that the US Patent System is to blame and Apple must protect it’s patents like any other company, or lose the right to defend them. In the middle ground some people see it as a growing divide, and the beginning of a proxy war between previously friendly tech companies who now have too many overlapping interests. In the slightly more crazy camp certain bloggers see it as a bitter Steve jobs not wishing to see Apple’s designs absorbed by other ‘Borg’ like entities and Apple subsequently suffering a similar fate it did at the hands of Microsoft back in the early days of the first GUI operating system designs.

Whichever way you look at it the entire case, or cases, will either last years or be settled privately at some point in the future, when all involved feel that enough blood letting has been done. It should also be noted that Apple is itself a respondent in a similar lawsuit where Nokia alleges that it stole their designs. Apple has countersued in that case and there is some merit to the supposition that Apple, following advice from it’s legal department, is attempting to strengthen it’s position in that lawsuit with Nokia by enforcing it’s patents against another rival. Enter HTC.

Ideas have certainly been aped by each manufacturer to varying degrees. And Apple’s innovations are being copied. What Apple needs to decide is whether irritating, and potentially alienating Google, by bullying HTC with measures like trying to block imports of their handsets to the US, is really worth the end result it will yield. Having made this move it seems likely that this is only an opening salvo from Apple, with more lawsuits to follow in coming weeks against other Android manufacturers.

The bottom line is lawsuits like this are not healthy for the companies involved, and don’t really benefit the end consumer. In terms of tangible effects it will have for us as end users the most worrying aspect is that if Google and Apple fall out sufficiently iPhone and Mac users might actually get stuck with Bing as their default search engine in Safari. Not something I relish personally, and something potentially harmful to Apple in terms of it’s own image. But hopefully it won’t come to that.

US$99 Macintosh Developer Licenses.

On a more positive note, after a lengthy downtime for the Developer section of Apple’s website yesterday, the system came back online with a new low price of $99 US for their Macintosh Developer License. This brings it into line with the price of the iPhone Developer License, and raises the possibility that Apple may be prepping for a Mac App Store. Every shiny lining has a dark cloud wrapped around it, and that comes in the form of no more hardware discounts for developers. Boo!

WiFi iPad shipping on the 3rd April.

As we have already reported the iPad will hit the streets on the 3rd of April in the US. A Saturday. So keen early adopters don’t have to make imaginative excuses and skip work to be able to pick up their new toy at an Apple store on the first day of availability. If trekking to an Apple Store is too much like hard work on a Saturday morning (with or without a hangover) then you can order your WiFi iPad online from the 12th of March and have it delivered to your door on the 3rd. Those who live outside the US, or want 3G models will have to wait until later in April. Countries outside the US officially getting the iPad in late April are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. Other countries and their official release dates are to follow. Some of us in more far flung places may have to take a trip to the US or pop to places like MBK in Bangkok and take our chances with the price there. It’s a little disappointing that there is still no news on developers being able to snag a unit outside the US at the same time as their US peers.

Apple tops Fortune’s list of “Most Admired Companies”.

Apple has achieved the Number 1 spot on Fortune’s list of most admired companies. Previously it was number 2!

“With 250 million iPods, 43 million iPhones, and 32 million iPod touches sold to date, plus the promise of a game-changing iPad, Apple won this year’s vote by the highest margin ever for a No. 1. Two more years as champ and Apple will match GE for most appearances in the top spot.”

As BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer puts it, “The whole world held its breath before the iPad was announced. That’s brand management at its very best.” — Christopher Tkaczyk

Apple removes “titillating” Apps from iTunes.

Last week AAPL shares took a little hit around the day that Apple decided to drop some of the more racy iPhone apps from it’s iTunes Store to much consternation from the developers who had been profiting from such “titillating” programs! Their main complaints were reasonable. They were that the ban hammer fell without any notice and that certain large publishers of similar programs remained in place. Opinions are strongly divided in the developer community about whether the App Store is a better place with or without these Apps. But the world does indeed seem to still be turning…

AAPL hits $218+ and still counting…

In the last few weeks Apple’s share price had been vacillating between the mid $190 mark, and popping it’s head occasionally just over $200 per share before receding again. Around the initial announcement of the iPad shares had briefly risen above $200 before falling back again.

On the back of the announcement of the iPad launch today Apple’s shares have solidly broken through the $200 barrier and as of this writing are still rising, passing $218 per share.

All in all an exciting and action packed week for Apple watchers, consumers and developers. Can’t wait for next week!

Let us know your thoughts below. Did we miss anything?

By: Stephen Northcott

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