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  • Apple ordered to pay $440 million to FaceTime patent troll

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    10.16.2017

    VirnetX's seemingly endless FaceTime patent lawsuit against Apple is winding down... sort of. An Eastern District of Texas court has denied all of Apple's motions to end the case in a non-infringement ruling or retrial, leaving the tech giant with a final judgment that orders it to pay VirnetX $439.7 million. That's much more than the $302.4 million Apple was told to pay last year. VirnetX, widely considered a patent troll, is unsurprisingly "elated" at having won its third jury battle against Apple. However, it can't really rest on its laurels -- that judgment isn't as final as it seems at first blush.

  • Judge rules lawsuit claiming Apple broke FaceTime can proceed

    by 
    Mallory Locklear
    Mallory Locklear
    07.31.2017

    Apple was hit with a lawsuit earlier this year that claims the company purposefully broke FaceTime on iOS 6 in order to push people to upgrade to iOS 7. And as of late last week, Apple failed to get the suit dismissed as District Judge Lucy Koh ruled that iPhone 4 and 4S users can pursue claims against Apple.

  • AP Photo / Paul Sakuma

    Apple accused of intentionally breaking FaceTime on iOS 6

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    02.03.2017

    We don't normally cover individual lawsuits against corporations because, hey, they make a lot of money, and everyone wants a slice. But the circumstances around this one are sufficiently controversial that we've made an exception. A woman from California has filed a claim against Apple saying that the company intentionally broke FaceTime on iOS 6 to force users to upgrade to iOS 7.

  • Tony Avelar/AFP/Getty Images

    The iPhone's legacy, 10 years later

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    01.09.2017

    January 9th, 2017 is a milestone day in the technology world: It's the 10th anniversary of Apple's iPhone. Yes, it's been a full decade since Steve Jobs took to the stage and introduced the device that many credit with defining the modern smartphone. But was it an overnight revolution? Well, no. Despite all the initial hype, the iPhone actually represents a gradual reinvention strung across many years. It wasn't the first out of the gate with many basic concepts, but its fresh approaches to those concepts helped smartphones escape their niche business-tool status and become the must-have companion devices they are now.

  • AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

    Apple loses FaceTime patent retrial, ordered to pay $302.4 million

    by 
    Richard Lawler
    Richard Lawler
    10.01.2016

    In the continuing saga of Apple vs. VirnetX, Reuters reports that a federal jury in the Eastern District of Texas has ruled in favor of VirnetX, ordering Apple to pay $302.4 million in damages. This particular case has been going on since 2010, and in the last verdict, a jury ruled Apple owed more than $600 million to the "non-practicing entity (read: patent troll) over technology used in FaceTime. However, in August the appeals court threw that ruling out, saying jurors may have been confused by references to the first iteration of this case.

  • Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Apple won't have to pay a patent troll $625 million after all

    by 
    Steve Dent
    Steve Dent
    08.02.2016

    Patent troll VirnetX has won multiple patent lawsuits against Apple, including a recent $625 million judgement over FaceTime and VPN tech. However, it appears it overplayed its past success during that trial. After Apple appealed, federal Judge Robert Schroeder threw out the judgement and demanded a retrial. The reason? VirnetX inappropriately mentioned the previous verdict, possibly prejudicing the jury against Apple.

  • Turkish president interviewed via FaceTime during military coup

    by 
    Richard Lawler
    Richard Lawler
    07.15.2016

    As Turkey's armed forces seized control of the country today, an odd scene unfolded on CNNTurk as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared live on the screen of an iPhone. News reports indicated he was safe but did not confirm his location, while Erdogan called on the public to support him in public squares and airports. Being forced to rely on internet communications like FaceTime is particularly notable for Erdogan, who has been described as "One of the world's most determined internet censors," for repeatedly shutting down access to services like Twitter and YouTube.

  • Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Apple ordered to pay $625 million in FaceTime patent lawsuit

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    02.03.2016

    VirnetX has been a thorn in Apple's side (and a good chunk of the tech industry) for the better part of this decade. It first sued Apple in 2010 over the alleged use of virtual private network (VPN) patents in FaceTime video chats, and has been successful enough in court to wring hundreds of millions of dollars out of the folks in Cupertino. And today, it's striking again: a court has ordered Apple to pay $625 million dollars for purportedly using VirnetX's security tech in both FaceTime and iMessage. That's actually more than the $532 million VirnetX had wanted, and a huge windfall for a company that has little business outside of lawsuits (aka a patent troll).

  • The next Apple Watch reportedly has a video chat camera

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    06.18.2015

    The first Apple Watch might have only just reached stores, but that isn't stopping rumors about Cupertino's next wearable. Sources for 9to5Mac claim that Apple already has some big plans for its second-generation Watch, and the highlight would be a front camera for video calls -- yes, you'd get to live out your Inspector Gadget dreams and have a face-to-face chat from your wrist. There's a chance this feature could get cut if there's either a change in the roadmap or logistical problems, but it's currently on the cards for a "likely" 2016 debut.

  • Apple considered messenger-like status options for phone calls

    by 
    Mariella Moon
    Mariella Moon
    04.15.2015

    A great thing about messenger apps is letting people know when you're away (even if you're not). Convenient, no? An Apple patent spotted by AppleInsider describes a feature that would let you do the same for voice calls, too. Since it's just a patent and (and thus, might never be developed), Cupertino doesn't have anything solid on how the system will work. The documents submitted to the trademark office do offer some ideas, though. For instance, it says the feature would upload data about its condition (such as its ringer volume, vibration status, device location, cellular strength, battery life, etc.) to a remote server.

  • Apple made it harder for hackers to breach FaceTime and iMessage

    by 
    Timothy J. Seppala
    Timothy J. Seppala
    02.12.2015

    As a means to further secure your digital life, Apple said today that it's adding two-step verification to FaceTime and iMessage. That still leaves the likes of iTunes and the Apple website vulnerable to ne'er-do-wells who want to remotely access your sensitive info (and have your password), of course, but now Cupertino's universal messaging and video chat programs are locked down a bit further. Given the progress that's been made toward adding the second authorization step to the rest of its ecosystem in recent months, it likely won't be too long before those spots are buttoned up too. Any questions? The Apple two-step verification FAQ is only a click away.

  • Apple's two-factor authentication still leaves some of your data exposed

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    01.13.2015

    Apple took a big step forward when it expanded the scope of its two-step authentication last year, since it's now relatively hard to peek at someone's sensitive content unless you also have their device. However, this extra security measure still isn't the all-encompassing safety net you might expect it to be. Need proof? Just ask Dani Grant: she recently gave a friendly reminder that two-factor doesn't even enter the picture with a number of Apple's services. You only need an Apple ID's email address and password to get into FaceTime, iMessage, iTunes and the company's website. You'll need verification if you change account details, sign in to iCloud or try to buy an app, but that basic login is enough to see people's contact information, view their app download history or impersonate them on iMessage. You don't always get email alerts (they typically appear when signing into FaceTime, iCloud or iMessage for the first time on a new device), so it's possible for someone to misuse your account without your knowledge.

  • How to disable iPhone cellular calls on iPad and Mac

    by 
    Steve Sande
    Steve Sande
    12.10.2014

    If I ever meet Cult of Mac's Rob LeFebvre in person, I'm going to buy him a beer (or coffee). Why? He had a little "how to" article on the site today that answered a question one of my friends had asked the other day, so now I don't have to do any research! LeFebvre answered the question that a lot of people have been asking since the arrival of iOS 10.8 and OS X Yosemite -- "How do I keep my Mac and iPad from 'ringing' every time a phone call comes in on my iPhone?" As you'd expect, the answer lies in FaceTime preferences on the Mac, and in Settings on the iPad. First, take a look at the image at the top of this post. FaceTime settings are accessed by launching FaceTime, then selecting Preferences from the FaceTime menu (or pressing Command-Comma). In the preferences panel that appears, uncheck the iPhone Cellular Calls checkbox. Exit FaceTime and you'll never be bothered with the sound of your Mac "ringing" again. Now, let's move to the iPad (image directly above). Here you're going to launch Settings, scroll down to the FaceTime button, and then toggle the iPhone Cellular Calls switch to "off" (white). That's it -- you're done. Now when a call comes in on your iPhone, you won't be bothered with the chorus of devices all ringing and you can just reach for your iPhone to answer it.

  • Ecamm introduces Call Recorder for FaceTime

    by 
    Steve Sande
    Steve Sande
    11.21.2014

    Ecamm Network has made a name for itself with some really great Mac products over the years, things like Printopia, an app that makes it possible to turn any Mac or PC attached printer into an AirPrint-compatible powerhouse. Now the company has just introduced Call Recorder for FaceTime (US$29.95), designed to record FaceTime calls - both audio and video - to your Mac. We'll have a full review of the app next week, but in the meantime, feast your eyes on this list of features: Records FaceTime chats, podcasts and interviews in HD Calls can be converted to MP3 for podcasting or into internet-ready movies for YouTube or Vimeo Using Handoff to relay a phone call from your iPhone? Call Recorder can record it for you (perfect if you're calling Comcast to dump your account...) Sounds cool, right? Here's a short video describing the app in more detail. You can download and try Call Recorder for FaceTime for free for seven days to see if it does the job for you. The app requires Mac OS X 10.8 or newer, and of course FaceTime for Mac.

  • Just how secure are your messaging apps? The EFF knows.

    by 
    Chris Velazco
    Chris Velazco
    11.05.2014

    Like it or not, your messages -- those funny, tragic, productive, intensely personal missives you fire off without a second thought -- aren't nearly as safe as we all thought. That's why the Electronic Frontier Foundation decided to do a bit of digging into how secure all those messaging apps we use actually are, and it threw its results into this handsome little scorecard. Unsurprisingly, few entrants (like the security-minded calling and texting apps from outfits like Whisper Systems and Silent Circle) scored full marks on the EFF's rubric. What's even less of a surprise is how many well-known services - services we probably all use everyday - don't fare particularly well by the EFF's standards.

  • How to disable taking iPhone calls on your iPad

    by 
    Victor Agreda Jr
    Victor Agreda Jr
    10.28.2014

    While there are a number of how-to's on the topic of enabling your iPad to take iPhone calls in iOS 8, there are unfortunately a lot of people spreading FUD about the ability to turn it off. Yes, you can turn it off. It's the same as turning it on, but you switch to OFF... So, no, this isn't a "conspiracy" as some have called it, to "get you to create more Apple IDs!!!" Yes, these people love those exclamation points. And yes, people are actually positing this conspiracy theory in Apple's forums. Sigh. Anyway, you open your iPad and go into Settings, then FaceTime settings, and switch iPhone Cellular Calls to off (the switch will be green if on). This same toggle is in the Mac version of FaceTime as well, in Preferences for the app there. If only there were a switch for paranoia.

  • Look who's talking: The birth of the video phone

    by 
    Jon Turi
    Jon Turi
    09.07.2014

    The videophone was always the obvious next step in the evolution of the telephone. It's a concept that has spent decades in development. And when it finally arrived, it looked a bit different than had always been imagined. Follow along, as we explore the bumpy road that led to those FaceTime and Google Hangout sessions you enjoy on your device of choice today.

  • App security flaw makes your iPhone call without asking

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    08.24.2014

    If you're an iPhone user, you may want to be cautious about opening messages that contain phone numbers in the near future; they may cost you a lot of money. Developer Andrei Neculaesei notes that maliciously coded links in some apps will abuse the "tel" web handler (which covers dialing) to automatically make a phone call the moment you view a message. Potentially, an evildoer could force you to call an expensive toll number before you've had a chance to hang up. The exploit isn't limited to any one app or developer, either. Facebook Messenger, Gmail and Google+ all fall prey to the attack, and it's likely that other, less recognizable apps exhibit similar behavior. Apple's Safari browser will ask you before starting a call, but FaceTime's behavior lets you pull a similar (though not directly related) stunt.

  • My grandmother's iPad

    by 
    Victor Agreda Jr
    Victor Agreda Jr
    04.11.2014

    Shawn Blanc wrote about how his grandfather's iPad has enabled him to take more photos, just a few days after my dad told me how much my grandmother in Bolivia uses her iPad. My grandma, who is now 80, does yoga regularly and volunteers constantly. She uses her iPad for web surfing, email, Skype and FaceTime. She's always been into technology when it enables her to communicate and reach out, and I recall her using an elaborate HAM radio setup when I was young. They even had a rather large antenna tower at their house near Cochabamba. As Apple's "Your Verse" campaign continues, I think it's wonderful to hear more about everyday people whose lives have been enhanced by the simplicity and power of the iPad. Computers were the first wave, but the next seems to be making things simpler, and even more powerful. While my grandmother isn't afraid of technology (she was using Skype on a computer before the iPad existed), the portability of the iPad actually helps her be more active and engaged. It's a beautiful thing. If you have a similar story, please leave it in the comments! [Photos courtesy my awesome uncle and terrific photographer, Joaquin F. Duran]

  • Toddler saves injured Mom with Facetime call

    by 
    Yoni Heisler
    Yoni Heisler
    03.11.2014

    When Laura Toone of Tuscon, Arizona had her finger nearly bitten off in the midst of breaking up a dog fight, she feared for the worst. Losing blood quickly, she wanted to call 911 but didn't have the strength. Thankfully, her resourceful 2-year old son Bentley came to the rescue, first with a towel to wash off blood from his mom's iPhone and second with a FaceTime call to one of his mom's friends who promptly was able to summon for help after hearing her friend screaming in pain. According to the CNN video below, Bentley doesn't know how to call 911 but is familiar with FaceTime as he uses it often to call one of his mom's friends. You know, just to say hello and marvel at the magic of video chatting. And of course, to make some prank phone calls every now and again.