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Apple toys around with a new way to check the status of your online orders, a U.S. senator wants the DOJ to stop playing into Amazon’s hands, and AT&T avoids tapping into the FaceTime-pricing game—for now. The remainders for Wednesday, July 18, 2012 are all fun and games.

Apple online store adds text message notifications for order status updates (9to5Mac)

The company already provides tracking numbers, personal pickup options, and email notifications for online ordering, but that wasn’t enough: No, now you’ll be able to receive text messages on your phone go obsessively check the whereabouts of your new Apple item. Ah, but what if your soon-to-arrive package is an iPhone itself? “I’m texting you from inside the box…”

Memo to DOJ: Drop the Apple ebooks Suit (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)

New York Senator Charles Schumer, often the instigator in federal tech investigations, took a different tack in a Wednesday editorial piece published in the Wall Street Journal. In it, he asks the DOJ to drop the ebooks collusion lawsuit against Apple and other publishers, lest Amazon wrest sole control of the marketplace and make it more difficult for budding authors to get published traditionally. “Of course,” said Amazon Direct Publishing with a cackle, “There’s always my way…”

Will AT&T Charge For 3G FaceTime? CEO Randall Stephenson Says It’s ‘Too Early’ To Know (TechCrunch)

The mobile giant’s CEO dodged a question about potential surcharges on 3G FaceTime calls, saying only that he’d “heard the same rumor,” and that it was “too early to talk about pricing.” Really, he means that the thousands of pencil-pushers in AT&T’s basement lair have yet to figure out how to best siphon the cash from their subscribers. Funny, usually they’ve got that down pat.

Earliest known photos of an Apple iPad prototype (NetworkWorld)

These images, taken from a deposition for Jony Ive in the Samsung/Apple case, appear to be some of the earliest iPad mockups from the company, dating back somewhere between 2002 and 2004. Not shown: the prototype’s operating system, no doubt flavored with a healthy dash of eWorld.

Apple Must Publish Notice Samsung Didn’t Copy IPad In U.K. (Bloomberg)

And this is why you can’t trust compliments from judges. The same British official who proclaimed that the iPad wouldn’t be mistaken for Samsung’s Galaxy tablets because they were “not as cool” has now ordered Apple to take out an advertisement and post on its U.K. website that Samsung didn’t copy the iPad’s designs. Apple, I know you want to appeal this, but the judge is lining you up for a whole new series of iconic advertisements. “Incomparable. Inimitable. Our new iPad is so magical, Samsung couldn’t even figure out how to copy it.”

Toys Playing with Toy-Size Apple Gadgets Will Make You Either Sneer or Coo (Gizmodo)

“How rude!” C3PO tapped on his tiny iPhone keyboard, replying to the nasty Instagram commenters insulting his self portrait. “It’s not my fault my outer shell is reflective!”

Updated at 6:30 p.m. PT to correct an error about a Skype patch. The patch is not yet available for Mac users.

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