NUTS: Google, Apple Break Sales Records, Verizon Takes Heat from Consumers

IPhone 4S Debuts in China, Apple Makes an Unprecedented Payout

Apple is preparing to launch the iPhone 4S in China next week after months of regulatory hurdles, as the company ramps up its competition against Google Android. The 4S sold out in minutes when it debuted in Hong Kong in November, and with strong promotion through regional carriers, sales are expected to soar. The 4S will also debut in several countries in Africa and the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Jamaica, the British Virgin Islands, Bolivia, Antigua and Botswana.

The iPhone 4S continues to perform well, but the iPad 2 faces increasing competition from Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet. To bolster its book division, Apple plans to discuss its iBooksplatform at a media event at the end of January, and rumors point to everything from a revamped iBookstore to new licensing deals, or even a decision to jump into the world of textbooks.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company is also looking to boost its struggling mobile advertising business by hiring Todd Teresi, former vice president of Adobe, as the new vice president of iAd. Many companies remain discouraged from using the service due to expensive ad space and a limited audience, even in the wake of discounts on ad space Apple offered last year.

At least one of Apple's numerous court cases will end in a pricey $5 million patent settlement. Apple will remit the sum to Taiwanese company Elan Microelectronics to avoid going to court next month over elements of touchpad design, and the deal includes a cross-licensing agreement allowing the two companies to use one anothers' patents going forward.

Meanwhile, iPhone 4S users are consuming more data than ever, doubling usage over previous iPhone models. The increase is reportedly due to Siri, the 4S's voice recognition software system, and it is placing additional stress on an already spectrum-crunched network.

Steve Jobs will be immortalized in the form of a new action figure, as memorials of the late Apple co-founder continue to pay homage to his genius. Creator, In Icons, is taking pre-orders for the 12-inch action figure, priced at $100, with shipment set for the end of February.

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