Analyst: Apple could purchase partner TomTom to accelerate improvements to Maps app

TomTom iOS 6TomTom, one of Apple’s main partners providing data in its new Maps app, could be acquired by Apple, according to report from Netherlands-based Rabobank analyst Hans Slob. Bloomberg covered the analyst’s research report released early today, noting that Slob said there is a 30 percent chance Apple seeks to takeover TomTom in trying to make quicker improvements to its controversial new Maps app:

TomTom NV (TOM2), the Dutch supplier of navigation applications for Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone 5, rose the most in almost eight weeks after an analyst at Rabobank International said the U.S. company may make a takeover bid.

“TomTom needs the cash from Apple, and Apple needs the know-how of TomTom,” said Slob, who estimated Apple would pay a price of as much as 10 euros per share for the supplier. A takeover is also a “royal way out” for the Dutch company’s founders, said Slob, who has a buy recommendation on TomTom and raised his share-price estimate by 38 percent to 5 euros.

TomTom climbed 7.2-percent, an eight-week high, to 4.12 euros today, and it currently sits at a value of approximately 906 million euros ($1.18 billion USD).  Read more

Big updates to Skype, Vimeo, TomTom, Adobe Photoshop Touch, DataMan Pro for iPad, deals, more

Vimeo version 3.0: Vimeo is today releasing an entirely redesigned app that brings a new UI with tab-based navigation, automatic Twitter and Facebook sharing, the ability to upload videos in the background, a Watch Later queue, and much more:

-Conveniently manage and watch all your videos on the go
-Quickly search for videos from the entire Vimeo catalog
-Discover new and amazing videos in the Explore tab
-Upload easily from your camera roll or shoot right from the app
-Continue using the app while your videos upload
-Share any video via Facebook, Twitter, email, iMessage, or copy the link and share how you want
-Watch videos from your Vimeo feed, Watch Later queue, or your uploads or likes
-Easily like videos, comment, and add to your Watch Later queue

Skype version 4.2: One of the biggest updates today goes to Skype’s iPhone app with the introduction of the support for Messenger, Hotmail and Outlook.com contacts and the ability to sign in and sync your Microsoft account. Other new features include easy account creation from within the app, the ability to edit instant messages by tapping and holding, and support for animated emotions on Retina displays. A full list of what’s new below:

-Chat with Messenger, Hotmail and Outlook.com contacts – sign in with and merge your Microsoft account.
-New to Skype? Create a new account right from the app.
-Tap and hold on instant messages to edit them.
-Choose an emoticon while typing an instant message.
-Animated emoticons for devices with a Retina display.
-Edit saved phone numbers right from the dial pad.
-Bug fixes.

TomTom U.S.A version 1.12: TomTom is updating the majority of its apps today with many new features, a few of which include full compatibility with iOS 6, optimizations for iPhone 5, integration with Apple Maps as a routing app on iOS 6, improved HD traffic, and more. TomTom also released variations of the update for its US & Canada, Europe, Western Europe, Brazil, Australia, UK & Ireland versions, as well as the majority of other locations it offers apps for.
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WSJ: Google putting final touches on Google Maps for iOS, distributed to a small number of outside testers

The previous version of Maps included on iOS 5.0.

After Apple moved to its own mapping solution on iOS, the rumors of Google bringing a standalone Maps app to the platform have intensified. The Wall Street Journal reported that the highly anticipated Google Maps for iOS may be here soon, with word that the app has entered its final testing stages and will include turn-by-turn navigation.

The WSJ wasn’t able to give specific time frame for the app’s launch, but the report added that the app has been distributed to a few members outside the bounds of Mountain View for testing before it is submitted to the iTunes App Store review team. The launch sounds like sooner than later, as several publications in the recent months have pegged the launch before the end of the year. The question is: will Apple accept it?

Google won’t be alone in the iOS Maps-alternative battleground, however. Nokia announced yesterday it plans to release its own iOS map solution under the “Here” brand. Nokia said it plans to make the app available on the iTunes App Store in the coming weeks, offering offline maps, voice-guided navigation, and information on public transport.

More on Eddy Cue’s Apple Maps involvement below

Nokia to release free ‘Here’ maps app for iOS with voice-guided navigation, public transport directions, and offline

While a native Google Maps iOS app has yet to hit the App Store, Nokia said today it plans to release a new free maps for iOS under the “Here” brand in the coming weeks. “Here” is a cross platform effort for mapping applications that the company described as “the first location cloud to deliver the world’s best maps and location experiences across multiple screens and operating systems.”

San Francisco, California – Today Nokia introduced HERE, the first location cloud to deliver the world’s best maps and location experiences across multiple screens and operating systems. With the new brand, HERE, Nokia aims to inspire a new generation of location services and devices that make the mobile experience more personally significant for people everywhere… To further extend its location services, Nokia is launching a maps application for iOS under the HERE brand. 

The new HTML5-based iOS app, also called “Here”, will arrive in the App Store in the coming weeks and feature “offline capabilities, voice-guided walk navigation, and public transport directions.” Read more

iPhone 5 beats Galaxy S III in Web traffic already despite negative Maps app press

Not the best looking pie chart—especially for Samsung.

Apple’s iPhone 5, at just three weeks old, is apparently experiencing more Web traffic than its three-month-old arch nemesis Samsung Galaxy S III.

The latest report from research firm Chitika depicts the iPhone 5 as gobbling up 56 percent of Web traffic volume, compared to the S III’s 44 percent, in just 18 days since it officially released. Chitika attributed the sudden growth to record-breaking sales numbers and 4G speeds:

Record-breaking sales numbers, along with new 4G browsing speeds which encourage data usage, are the most likely explanation for this tremendous growth. This latest shift in the mobile ecosystem is not welcome news for Samsung, which has positioned its device as a direct competitor to the iPhone 5.

Chitika has notably come under fire recently for publishing incorrect information on Google’s local search queries. The firm realized its errors after reading an article by SearchEngineLand. While today’s Web traffic report is significant—yet sudden— for Apple, lets hope Chitika has straightened out its metrics for analyzing Web data.

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Nike+ FuelBand colors launch, Walking Dead: The Game, Mana Pass Builder, ClassicMap, and more

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A few apps updated, went on sale, or made announcements recently, and 9to5Mac gathered the most noteworthy ones in our regular round up below. Today’s selection includes app accessory news from Tim Cook’s second favorite company, Nike, a few tweaks to an official Walking Dead game in celebration of the show’s upcoming season three premiere, a fresh app for creating Passbook passes, two alternative Maps app updates, and a price drop. Per usual, we will continue to update this list throughout the day.

Check them out:

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