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

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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.

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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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IDC: iPad’s first year of decline expected as worldwide tablet growth significantly slows

ipadThe latest numbers from market research company IDC reveal that worldwide tablet growth is expected to have significantly declined in 2014, with just 7.2% year-over-year growth compared to 52.5% in 2013. A contributing factor will likely be the iPad’s first year of decline as the tablet’s market share continues to fall because of a growing number of cheaper alternatives. Read more

Twitterrific 5 for Mac may become the first casualty in Twitter’s war on developers, but it won’t be the last

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If you open the Mac App Store right now and do a search for “twitter,” you’ll find results just like the ones in the image above. You may recognize the official Twitter app along with some of the most popular and prolific third-party clients. Right below Twitter for Mac you’ll find Twitterrific.

Twitterrific has been around for quite a while now, and was the very first native Twitter application ever built for Mac. It was also the first app to use the word “tweet” to refer to the posts on the network, and introduced many modern staples like conversations and replies. To this day it remains a popular choice among users and has seen many major updates and redesigns. It’s currently on its fourth major version.

In December 2012, Twitterrific 5 was released for iOS devices. The Iconfactory, Twitterrific’s developers, promised that a Mac version of the updated app was in development and would include support for the new iCloud syncing feature and an all-new design. Three days shy of a year after releasing the iPhone update, however, users were given what is currently the app’s most recent update. It included only two bug fixes. The developers have noted that the 5.0 update for Mac is facing big delays.

So what’s going on here? Why has it taken two years for any more news of the update? When will the new version finally be available?

The unfortunate truth? Not even the developers know.

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Parallels Desktop 10 Black Friday bundle: 1Password, Camtasia, CleanMyMac 2, Gemini, and more for $50 upgrade/$80 new ($285 off)

From 9to5Toys.com:
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Starting this evening and running through Black Friday weekend, Parallels is running a special bundle of Mac apps for free when you upgrade to Parallels 10 for $49.99 or buy it new for $79.99. The bundled apps 1Password password manager, Camtasia screen recorder, CleanMyMac 2 file organizer/remover, Gemini file de-duplicator, Acronis True Image backup and restore software and a 2 year subscription to Parallels Access which allows you to run parallels VMs remotely on iOS and Android devices. Not a bad deal at all of you need any of these other apps.

Parallels 10 was announced in August and we reviewed it shortly thereafter noting it was the best way to run Windows and Linux VMs on a Mac.

Not sure you are into Parallels? Grab a 14 day free trial here. Just want Parallels in a shiny box? Amazon has it for $62. More info on the bundled apps below:

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

 

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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

iFixit: How to fix your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus in 21 easy guides

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iFixit gave Apple’s iPhone 6 a repairability score of 7, the highest ever for Apple’s flagship and most popular device in their September teardown.  That bodes well for folks who want to take their iPhone repairs into their own hands, though perhaps it’s best to give the Geniuses at Apple a chance to gift you an out of warranty repair before getting your hands dirty.

In any case, today iFixit announced an updated library of 21 repair guides for the iPhone 6 (and 14 for the 6 Plus). The new guides cover everything from replacing the battery to speakers to the glass panel and everything in between. The tutorials walk you through the process and also conveniently provide links to purchase any necessary tools you might not have (hit up their Amazon store for some hefty discounts).

As with any iPhone take-apart, be very careful and be prepared to forfeit your warranty if you screw up.
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Apple patents smoke detectors in iDevices that can call 911, activate sprinklers and locate building occupants

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The Nest smoke detector may look decidedly old-fashioned if one Apple patent ever makes it into production. Apple has patented the idea of embedding smoke detectors into “electronic devices” and using those devices to provide a comprehensive response to a fire.

In response to detecting smoke with the smoke detector, the electronic device may issue an alert or take other suitable action. The electronic device may transmit alerts to nearby electronic devices and to remote electronic devices such as electronic devices at emergency services facilities. Alerts may contain maps and graphical representations of buildings in which smoke has been detected. Motion detectors and other sensors and circuitry may be used in determining whether electronic devices are being used by users and may be used in determining where the electronic devices are located. Alerts may contain information on the location of detected smoke and building occupants.

In other words, your Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad or Mac could detect smoke, alert you, alert other devices within range, activate sprinklers, call emergency services and use the fact that an iDevice is moving or in use to tell fire crews where in the building you and your family members are …  Read more

Apple reportedly bundling Beats Music with iOS next year

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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

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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

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