Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Gearing Up: A report from a Chinese-language media outlet indicates that Apple (AAPL) is expecting a huge launch for its next generation iPhones this year, DigiTimes notes. Taiwan’s Commercial Times says that Apple plans to order 90 million iPhone 6 units from Foxconn in 2014. The article quotes an analyst at Citigroup Global Markets, who predicts that the launch of the iPhone 6 will send 2014 iPhone shipments surging 24% compared to last year. That would be almost double the 13% year-over-year growth that iPhone shipments saw in 2013. If the report is correct, the massive iPhone 6 order could signal an June/July launch date for the new handset. An earlier launch would likely boost iPhone 6 sales this year. Apple sold 51 million iPhones during the final calendar quarter of 2013, after launching the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. Most analysts expect Apple to debut the iPhone 6 in September, but others are predicting an early summer launch. Recent rumors indicate that Apple will use sapphire crystal instead of Corning’s (GLW) Gorilla Glass on the next iPhone. An Arizona factory built under a joint venture between Apple and GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) was expected to start production on sapphire components this month, with a capacity to produce more than 100 million units during its first year of operation. Other recent reports indicate that Apple will launch two iPhone 6 models with screens measuring 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches. Apple is also expected to drop the iPhone 5c after the launch of the new iPhones later this year.
Denied: Older Samsung smartphones that infringe on Apple patents will continue to be sold in the U.S., Reuters notes. That was the ruling of U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh, who rejected a request from Apple to ban their sale. Koh said that Apple had failed to prove that the older Samsung models had enough impact with consumers to justify forbidding their sale. In 2012, a California jury found Samsung guilty of infringing on Apple patents in some of its older smartphones and awarded Apple damages of $1 billion. Judge Koh reduced that to $600 million, but last year a new jury awarded Apple another $290 million in damages. Apple and Samsung have been battling over patent infringement claims for almost three years. The California court has mandated high-level meetings between top executives from the two tech giants, but two rounds of discussions have failed to reach an agreement to settle the patent litigation.
Tour: During a visit to California this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, AppleInsider noted. Apple CEO Tim Cook was on hand to greet the prime minister and the two were reported to have had lunch. Apple operates three research and development facilities in Israel and has acquired a number of Israeli technology firms over the past several years. Netanyahu’s delegation later posted a short video of his visit on the prime minister’s official YouTube page.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.