Top Apple Maps app manager for Watch, iOS & OS X exits for Uber

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Apple is having trouble retaining top talent in its Maps division.

We’re told that a notable number of exits have occurred on the Maps team over the last several months with a large portion of those engineers heading to ride-sharing startup Uber. The most notable Apple employee to recently depart is Brad Moore, who exited in October to become a manager at Uber. As “Senior Engineering Manager, Maps Apps & Community” at Apple, Moore “built and managed the application and community teams responsible for Maps on iPhone, iPad, CarPlay, OS X, and Apple Watch,” according to LinkedIn.

Since Moore was in charge of such a critical application across all of Apple’s major hardware and software platforms, his departure marks a significant loss for Apple and a huge gain for Uber. Apple is said to also be overhauling its public transportation team following the group’s inability to launch the planned directions service for iOS 8 last year. Sources say that Apple’s Maps team is also progressing on its testing in major districts like New York City of a new indoor mapping service. Chris Blumenberg, another former top Apple Maps manager at Apple, left for Uber in July.

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Free 50-minute video tutorial video shows you how to make an Apple Watch app

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If you want to get quickly up to speed on the basics of creating an Apple Watch app following the release of WatchKit, developer Nick Walter has put a free 50-minute video tutorial online. You can also sign up for a full online course for just $39 on Kickstarter – saving $161 on the likely launch price.

Walter gained a certain amount of fame recently when Forbes reported that he made $66,000 in one month following a similar Kickstarter campaign for a course in making iPhone apps …  Read more

Fleksy opens free, public SDK for its alternative iOS keyboard

Found in a number of well-crafted apps including Launch Center Pro and Wordbox, the iOS-friendly alternative keyboard Fleksy today announced the release of a public SDK allowing developers to easily integrate it with their own apps. Prior to the public SDK, support was  somewhat limited as it required a private partnership. Fleksy say a dozen new apps will gain support today expects new support to be frequent based on the volume of requests from developers to integrate the keyboard prior to the public SDK. Read more

A first for iOS as Fleksy adds alternative keyboard support to apps

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Since the unveiling of third-party keyboards for Android some years ago, iOS users have looked on with envy. That is, until today as Fleksy is using the simplification of iOS 7 code and adding their alternative keyboard to iOS apps. Things will kick off with four apps: Wordbox, GV Connect, Launch Center Pro and Blindsquare but where the company goes from here is still up for some debate. As an option inside each app, Fleksy still won’t work like an alternative Android keyboard which works across the board no matter which app is being run.

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Facebook releases SDK 3.0 Beta with iOS 6 integration & new iOS Dev Center

Facebook announced today that it is releasing its biggest iOS SDK update yet with the release of SDK 3.0 Beta for iOS, which also includes iOS 6 integration for native Facebook login. It is also rolling out a completely refreshed iOS Dev Center with tutorials, concepts, and reference docs to help iOS app developers build great Facebook-integrated apps for iOS devices. Read more

iPhone 4S / 5 appears in Apple’s inventory system, iPod touch may see price drops

Yesterday we reported that tweaked iPhone 4 models and white iPod touch models have appeared in Apple’s internal inventory systems ahead of the October 4th Apple event. Today, though, comes the big news: the next-generation iPhone has made its way into Apple’s inventory system. This new iPhone is the N94 device that we found in the iOS SDK many months ago. This device is confirmed to pack Apple’s dual-core A5 processor, and is likely the device we described with an 8MP camera, 1GB of RAM, Nuance Dictation speech-to-text, and the groundbreaking Assistant feature.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the new iPhone appearing in the inventory system is that the model number is similar to the one from a purported ‘iPhone 4S’ packaging label we spotted yesterday on a Chinese forum. We quickly dismissed the label as fake due to its unknown origin, but it is now possibly real. The model number from the label is MD239 (a 16GB unit), while the model number for the “better” (likely 32GB unit) is MD234. According to Mr. X, this sequence is sensible, but could  just be a coincidence. If legitimate, the next-generation iPhone will be marketed as the iPhone 4S, but we definitely would not call that anywhere near confirmed. Another tidbit: IMEI and MEID being together on the label would seem to confirm this new iPhone to be GSM+CDMA (thanks @rokorre!).

Following up on our report yesterday that two new tweaked iPhone 4 models have appeared in the system, we are now hearing that the two models represent black and white units. The N90A is likely an 8GB iPhone 4 that comes in black and white.

iPods too!

We are also hearing that all three iPod touch capacities will be seeing price drops in certain international countries. The price drops for the 32GB and 64GB models will be minimal – perhaps due to currency fluctuations – but the 8GB pricing will change substantially. Translated, the 8GB iPod touch may even reach the $199 price point or below again in the United States, but that is unconfirmed. With the release of the $199 8GB Kindle Fire yesterday, a move like this from Apple makes sense.

Thanks, Mr. X!

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