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Afternoon news roundup for December 30, 2013

Good evening! If you've been otherwise occupied today, here are some of the Apple stories that you may have missed this afternoon:

  • Fitbit released an update to its iOS app bringing some minor changes in the UI, along with a big change -- the ability to use an iPhone 5s with its M7 motion coprocessor instead of a Fitbit activity-tracking device. This ability is called MobileTrack, and is part of the changes that also include an easier way for Fitbit owners to set up new devices with the app. Don't worry, though -- Fitbit still thinks you'll buy its tracking devices, and this is its way of giving iPhone 5s owners a way to "try before they buy" a Fitbit product.
  • Arem Duplessis, the design director at The New York Times Magazine and the man responsible for some of the stunning covers on the magazine, is heading to Apple. In his new position, Duplessis will apparently be a creative director working on internal marketing -- those are the folks who get Apple's employees excited about the company's products.
  • There's hope for peace in 2014 ... at least between Apple and Samsung. The companies have apparently resumed talks towards resolving patent-infringement fights between the rivals. An official of the Korean Fair Trade Commission told the Korea Times that the companies are "in the process of narrowing differences over royalty payments." Samsung is now on the hook for US$890 million in penalties after losing a retrial in the ongoing US patent battle. That patent infringement case enters yet another chapter in March, with the Galaxy S III and iPhone 5 taking center stage.
  • Speaking of battles, Apple and Google will be fighting for dominance of the dashboard. Google and Audi are expected to announce next week at the Consumer Electronics Show that they're working together on in-car "info-tainment" systems that will run on Google's Android operating system. Apple currently has the lead in the automotive electronics race, with manufacturers including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors and Honda Motor Company working with the Cupertino company to ease integration with iOS devices.

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