Bing and Yahoo reportedly aiming to become default iOS search engine as Google’s contract runs out

IMG_3704

Last week Mozilla announced that its Firefox browser would be dropping Google as the default search engine in favor of Yahoo. While it’s a good move for Yahoo, it won’t gain the company the exposure that comes with being the default search engine on something more widely used, such as Apple’s Safari browser on iOS devices.

That position has been held by Google since the iPhone’s launch in 2007, but the agreement that made the Mountain View-based company the default site for all of Safari’s searches will expire next year, and The Information reports that Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing are both vying for the spot.

Read more

Apple crosses $700 billion market cap milestone, stock price up 50% since January

AAPL $700B

Apple stock ($AAPL) crossed yet another momentous milestone for its financials, hitting $700 billion market capitalization as the stock ticked over $119.65. At a pre-split price, this tallies $837.13. The stock last peaked in late 2012, when it topped out in the mid $650’s. That’s a $50 billion increase from two weeks ago.

Through 2013, the price tumbled over investor doubts about new product categories and Cook’s leadership. In recent months, though, $AAPL stock has returned and surpassed its 2012 highs. The reduction in shares due to Apple’s buybacks program has been more than offset than share price growth, off the back of the company’s strong earnings and forecasts.

Read more

Apple defends safety of Siri use while driving after university study rated it highly distracting

 

carplay

Apple has responded to a University of Utah study which criticized the safety of using Siri while driving, stating that it didn’t test the company’s in-car versions, Siri Eyes Free and CarPlay.

Of the six speech-recognition systems tested by researchers, Siri was found to be the worst for driver distraction. The study hooked up drivers to heart-rate monitors and other equipment designed to measure the degree of stress experienced by drivers while carrying out a range of voice-command tasks, giving each system a distraction rating from 1 (best) to 5 (worst) …  Read more

GarageBand, Star Walk, Threes and more apps go (RED) until December 7th, all proceeds going to charity

A range of apps have been updated today with limited-time promotions, in aid of the (RED) charity. Apple has participated in the event with an update to GarageBand, offering a limited-edition In-App Purchase that makes over 300 new drum, guitar, synth and bass loops available as an In-App Purchase. All proceeds from the sale of this expansion pack go directly to the (RED) charity, which sends the money to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The In-App Purchase, which is priced at $0.99, will be available until December 7th.

Other notable developers are also participating, many of which including exclusive additional content. For example, Threes has been updated, with a fresh red theme and updated icon. Monument Valley has added one special (RED) level, Star Walk has added exploration of Mars, The Red Planet. The popular drawing app, Paper, has also participated with a red application theme and icon. The ‘Over’ app has made special edition font and artwork packs available for purchase. djay and Heads Up! are also taking part in the event. Like GarageBand, 100% of proceeds of app and IAP sales go to the (RED) fund.

Read more

Microsoft’s new Cortana ad mocks Siri for lack of contextual reminders and traffic reports

Microsoft has released yet another Cortana advertisement that mocks Siri for lacking contextual reminders and real-time traffic reports. Microsoft pokes fun at the personal voice assistant by claiming that it “just got bigger,” a sarcastic reference to the larger screen sizes on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Perhaps the Redmond-based company is overlooking all of the new features Siri gained in iOS 8. Read more

America First Credit Union announces Apple Pay support for its Visa card

America-First-Apple-Pay

Adding to the growing list of banks and card issuers adding support for Apple Pay in recent weeks, America First Credit Union today announced it’s rolling out Apple Pay support for its Visa card.

“Security and privacy is our upmost priority when it comes to offering our members the latest in technology and mobile advancements,” said Rich Syme, executive vice president at America First Credit Union. “Apple Pay will bring a new level of efficiency for members, allowing them to pay with their mobile devices in a fast, easy and secure way.”

Apple has been adding several new banks since first launching Apple Pay last month and now lists a total of 17 card issuers (not including America First Credit Union) on its support document last updated earlier this week. There is, however, a long list of banks that have already announced support will arrive soon. The list also includes information for supported card types available through the banking partners. A growing list of retailers have also added support for the service at retail locations recently.

We have a running list of banks that plan to support Apple Pay in the coming weeks and months here. We also have a running list of the latest stores and apps that accept Apple Pay here. Read more

Apple reportedly bundling Beats Music with iOS next year

iPhone 6 Beats Music

According to a new report from the Financial Times, Apple is expected to bundle the Beats Music streaming service with an upcoming version of iOS next year.

Apple will bundle the subscription music service it acquired from Beats into its iOS operating system early next year, instantly making it available on hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads – and ramping up pressure on Spotify, the market leader in music streaming.

The report comes amid rumors that Apple is planning to rebrand the Beats Music subscription service for a potential relaunch around February, although FT has added that the bundling is expected “as early as March.” Read more

Fitbit users can finally view their data in the Health app thanks to 99 cent sync tool

fitbit-sync

A 99 cent app finally allows owners of Fitbit activity trackers to view their data in Apple’s Health app. Sync Solver for Fitbit provides a daily sync of ten different pieces of data to the Health app built into iOS 8 – a feature the company itself said it had no plans to introduce.

The first sync needs to be performed manually, by tapping a button in the app, after which it will sync data automatically every 24 hours …  Read more

Apple getting serious about iAd as it offers automated purchasing of mobile ads

iad

When Steve Jobs said something was going to happen, it generally did. One notable exception, though, has been Apple’s mobile advertising platform, iAd. Jobs said back in 2010 that it would grab 50% of the mobile ad market; right now, it’s sitting at just 2.6%. That may be about to change after advertising middleman Rubicon announced that automated purchasing of iAds will soon be supported …  Read more

Apple will soon let third-party products use its Lightning port, opening up new possibilities for accessories

iphone8

Last week at Apple’s yearly briefing for accessory makers in its Made-for-iPhone/iPad (MFi) licensing program, the company unveiled new Lightning connectors and specs for Lightning receptacles that will soon be available for implementation in MFi accessories. The new Lightning receptacle, scheduled to start shipping next year, will allow accessory makers to build new types of accessories that include a port for Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector previously reserved for its own iOS devices (pictured above). Read more

Eddy Cue takes KTLA holiday shopping to show off Apple Pay (Video)

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 12.31.14 AM

Apple executive Eddy Cue, in charge of the team that developed Apple Pay, recently participated in some holiday shopping with local news station KTLA to demonstrate how the new mobile payments platform works. Cue, alongside tech reporter Rich DeMuro, visited a number of stores in Santa Monica, California, including Panera Bread, Bloomingdale’s and the Disney Store. Read more