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Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Apple iPad Mini With Retina Screen Available For Sale

Apple said its new iPad mini with a high-definition screen is now available for shipping, in time for the holiday shopping period.

The device will start from $399, Apple said on its website. Due to "limited supply" and "high demand," the new iPad mini with Retina display will be available at Apple Stores exclusively through the Personal Pickup service for the time-being. Personal Pickup allows a customer to purchase a Retina iPad mini via the Apple Online Store, then pick it up at an Apple Retail location of their choosing. This also means that a customer who wants a Retina iPad mini cannot simply walk-in to an Apple Store and buy one, at least for now, and until demand meets supply.

The larger iPad Air went on sale on Nov. 1.

The new iPad mini brings all the pixels from the 9.7-inch iPad to its 7.9-inch screen and a thin and light design. It features the Apple-designed A7 chip with 64-bit architecture, built-in Wi-Fi, expanded LTE cellular connectivity and iOS 7.

The iPad is Apple's second-biggest source of sales after the iPhone, accounting for $71 billion in revenue last year. Apple sold 14.1 million units last quarter, down from 14.6 million in the previous three-month period.

The device's starting price of $399 is $70 more expensive than last year's model. The most expensive model can cost as much as $829 with 128GB of memory and access to wireless networks. The older model released last year will start at $299.

In related news, Apple may be looking to hire GlobalFoundries to make some of the chips used in its iPhones and iPads, according to the Albany Times Union. The paper cited "sources familiar with the matter" and reported that GlobalFoundries could soon begin manufacturing some of Apple's chips at its Fab 8 factory in Malta, N.Y.

Currently, Samsung makes the majority of chips for Apple's mobile devices. The paper added that Samsung would continue to make chips for Apple, along with assist GlobalFoundries in getting its Apple chip manufacturing processes set up.

Besides GlobalFoundries, Apple it's been said that Apple has been in talks with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company about making chips for its upcoming mobile devices.

And while Samsung seems to remain a chip partner for Apple, it is also engaged on legal trials with the U.S. company. Now the companies are returning to court in one of the most high-profile patent battles of recent times.

In August 2012, a jury found Samsung guilty of infringing six Apple patents and awarded one of the largest payouts of its kind on record. The verdict and $1bn awarded in damages were seen as a massive victory for Apple.

In March 2013, a judge re-examined the $1bn awarded to Apple and reduced the amount saying the damages would need to be assessed at a new trial.

Judge Lucy Koh said the original jury in the court in California had incorrectly calculated part of the damages. The judge said that $550m of the award had been worked out in the proper manner but she ordered that the remaining $450m be reassessed.

Apple has asked for a sales ban to be imposed on the Samsung products that had been found to infringe the patents. But the judge ruled that Apple could adequately be compensated financially.

Apple appealed against that ruling and the result of the appeal is due before the end of the year.

Apple faces another trial over claims by California inventor NetAirus Technologies LLC that a patent he holds covers key features of the iPhone.

Jury selection is set to start today in federal court in Los Angeles in the lawsuit brought 3 1/2 years ago by NetAirus.

In May, Apple won a ruling that NetAirus can't seek damages for alleged infringement that occurred before Oct. 8, 2012, when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a reexamination certificate that the judge agreed "substantially" changed the patent's claims. The ruling narrows the potential damages to sales of iPhone 4 models after that date.

NetAirus filed a new complaint against Apple in May for patent infringement by the iPad, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.

The case is NetAirus Technologies LLC v. Apple Inc., 10-03257, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

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