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Replacing Bing, Google Will Now Power Siri and Spotlight Web Search Results

Matthew Panzarino, reporting for TechCrunch:

Apple is switching the default provider of its web searches from Siri, Search inside iOS (formerly called Spotlight) and Spotlight on the Mac. So, for instance, if Siri falls back to a web search on iOS when you ask it a question, you’re now going to get Google results instead of Bing.

“Switching to Google as the web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on Mac will allow these services to have a consistent web search experience with the default in Safari,” reads an Apple statement sent this morning.

As pointed out by Zac Hall of 9to5Mac, the timing of this change coincides well with Apple’s upcoming HomePod. Though the details of Google search’s implementation for HomePod are unclear, it’s possible that this switch will enable HomePod to provide the same answers to common web queries that its competing home speaker, Google Home, offers. Even if support doesn’t extend that far, with this change Siri should at least be able to supply the type of reliable search results Google users expect.


Camera+ for iPad 2.0 Includes Enhanced Editing and New Design

After releasing the eighth iteration of hit app Camera+ for iPhone last month, developers tap tap tap are back with version 2.0 of Camera+ for iPad.

The most notable change is a major redesign – Camera+ for iPad now matches the design language of its iPhone counterpart. If you’re already a user of the iPad app, the transition from skeuomorphic buttons to a modern design is worth going to the App Store and upgrading immediately.

Version 2.0 also takes a big step forward in its editing prowess with improvements to The Lab, Camera+’s suite of photo enhancement tools. On iPad, you’re now able to use your finger or, for more precise input, an Apple Pencil to brush filters and make edits. To enable brushing, move the effect slider to your desired location in The Lab and tap “brush”.

By wrapping up the improvements with multitasking support, Camera+’s update pushes the app past mediocrity and into a serious photo editor.

You can find Camera+ for iPad on the App Store for $4.99.


How Adobe is Reimagining Photoshop for the Mobile Era

Harry McCracken, writing for Fast Company:

What wasn’t instantly obvious, however, was exactly how to translate Photoshop into an experience that made sense on the iPad and other mobile devices. In 2011, Adobe released three “Photoshop Touch” iPad apps—Eazel, Color Lava, and Nav—which were complements to Photoshop in its full-strength form rather than stand-alone tools. Then in 2012, it introduced an app called Photoshop Touch, which took a smallish subset of desktop Photoshop’s features, stripped out most of their advanced features, and rejiggered the interface so it worked with touch input.

This year, the company started all over again. It discontinued development of Photoshop Touch—which was available for iPhones and Android devices as well as iPads—and announced that Photoshop’s future on the iPad and other mobile devices would henceforth involve smaller, specialized tools rather than anything that retained Photoshop’s traditional everything-and-the-kitchen-sink flavor.

Adobe has done a rather phenomenal job in its transition from boxed software to the subscription-based Adobe Creative Cloud, as its latest quarter’s record revenue figures clearly demonstrate. Over that same period, Adobe has also invested substantially in developing apps for mobile devices, and most significantly, the iPad. In fact earlier this year in May I looked at the number of iOS apps developed by Adobe, and at the time they had 50 apps in the App Store that had been updated within the last year (another 59 had been pulled from sale or not been updated in over a year).

As McCracken’s story makes clear, Adobe’s strategy for mobile devices isn’t about slimming down their flagship desktop products so that they can run on mobile devices. Instead, Adobe has focused on creating apps for specific tasks, whether it be Photoshop Fix for retouching photos or Photoshop Mix for combining and blending images and layers together. In that way, Adobe claims that they can offer a better mobile product, that can in some ways offer a better experience than on the desktop.


Craig Federighi Discusses Swift on The Talk Show

Episode 139 of The Talk Show with John Gruber:

Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi joins the show for a wide-ranging half-hour discussion about Swift — Apple’s new programming language that just went open source.

Next, John Siracusa returns to the show to follow up on Federighi’s segment on Swift. Other topics include Apple’s new Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 6/6S, and our mutual (and perhaps futile) desire to head into this week’s premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens knowing as few spoilers as possible.

A great episode of The Talk Show, ready for your morning (or evening) commute. It is fantastic (and kind of amazing) to hear an Apple Executive discuss what can be a deeply technical topic, outside of WWDC. There’s also a transcript of the Federighi segment for those of you who would prefer reading the discussion.


Apple Music Gets Taylor Swift 1989 World Tour Video Exclusive

Re/code’s Peter Kafka:

Apple and Swift are syncing up for a multi-pronged deal that will give Apple exclusive rights to a Swift concert video that debuts on Sunday, December 20, as well as her help on a big Apple Music marketing campaign. Swift, apparently, will get a nice check in return.

It’s easy to see what Apple gets out of the deal, because an Apple spokesperson was happy to talk about it: Access to the concert video will be limited to Apple Music subscribers — that includes both the 6.5 million people (or more) who are paying for the music service, as well as anyone in the free, three-month trial.

It’s kind of amazing to look back at the history of Apple and Taylor Swift in the last six months. Back in June, Swift published a widely circulated criticism of Apple for not compensating artists during the three-month trial period of Apple Music. Famously, Apple responded swiftly to the criticism and within hours (on a Sunday no less) announced that they would change their plans and pay rights holders on a per-stream basis during the trial period. A few days after Apple’s backflip, Swift announced that her album 1989 which was not available on any streaming music services, would be available on Apple Music.

Now Apple is paying Swift to launch ‘The 1989 World Tour - Live’ video, exclusively on Apple Music. Re/code’s Peter Kafka is also reporting that Apple has also obtained the rights to use Swift’s name and likeness in Apple Store promotions and Swift-branded iTunes gift cards. Taylor Swift is also today’s interview guest on DJ Zane Lowe’s show on Beats 1, you can find showtimes here.

Filmed at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium in front of 76,000 fans, this exclusive concert film captures the excitement and energy of the hottest pop artist in the world. Interspersed with footage from her sold-out world tour and loaded with superstar guests, The 1989 World Tour - Live will be available exclusively on Apple Music starting 20 December.


Apple Maps Used “Three Times As Often As Its Next Leading Competitor”

In an article from Associated Press, Anick Jesdanun gets a comment from Apple regarding the popularity of Apple Maps:

Apple says its mapping service is now used more than three times as often as its next leading competitor on iPhones and iPads, with more than 5 billion map-related requests each week. Research firm comScore says Apple has a modest lead over Google on iPhones in the U.S., though comScore measures how many people use a service in a given month rather than how often.

“We are fast learners and we are fast at fixing things,” said Greg “Joz” Joswiak, an Apple vice president who oversees product marketing for iPhones and related services. “We learned the maps business incredibly fast.”

It’s abundantly clear that Apple Maps has improved significantly in just three years, but at least in my experience, it still has a way to go before it is up to the standard of Google Maps, globally.

Which is why I thought it was odd that Apple would publicly reveal, in an almost boastful manner, that Apple Maps is used “more than three times as often as its next leading competitor” (read: Google Maps). At first glance that sounds impressive, but Apple Maps has been automatically installed on every single iOS device since 2012. If someone wants to use Google Maps they need to actively take steps to find it, install it, and avoid using Apple Maps when tapping address links or using Siri.

I wonder what the statistics are for some of Apple’s other default, automatically installed, apps? How many people use Safari, or Apple Mail or Apple Calendars rather than the “next leading competitor”? I would put money on those other default apps being way more than just three times as popular as the third party alternatives.


Google Calendar and Inbox Add Reminders

Vijay Umapathy, writing for the Official Gmail Blog:

Our calendars should help us make the most of our time — scheduling meetings at work, remembering brunch with friends, and keeping track of all our other commitments. But often our to-do list is elsewhere, separate from the Calendar that organizes our day, and we end up overcommitted or miss something important because we forgot to check our list.
Now there’s a single way to manage your day: starting this week, you can create Reminders in Google Calendar to keep track of your to-dos alongside your scheduled events.

Reminders aren’t just kept in Google Calendar either, they will also be accessible from the Google Inbox, Google Keep and Google Now apps - and they’ll be coming to the web in the future. For those of you invested in the Google ecosystem, and just need a simple way to remember about tasks you need to do, this new Reminders feature from Google may be a perfect fit.


Apple Raises iTunes Match and Apple Music Library Matching Limits to 100,000 Tracks

MacRumors reported over the weekend that Apple Music and iTunes Match libraries can now manage libraries with up to 100,000 tracks:

Over the past couple of days, MacRumors has received several reports from users who have been able to upload music libraries of greater than 25,000 tracks to iTunes Match or Apple Music’s similar scan-and-match feature, and Macworld’s iTunes expert Kirk McElhearn has also noted a number of reports on his personal blog.

Update 12:08 PM, December 6: Eddy Cue has confirmed to MacRumors that Apple has indeed “started rolling out support for 100k libraries.”

It has taken some time, and longer than expected, but those of you with iTunes Match or Apple Music and large music libraries can now upload up to 100,000 tracks to the services, up from the previous limit of 25,000. Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, first mentioned on Twitter in late June that Apple was working to “get to 100k [tracks] for iOS 9”. Apple missed that deadline, but Cue subsequently told MacRumors that Apple was working on it and that he expected it would be released “before the end of the year” - and indeed it now has.


How Apple TV Turned Me Into a Game Developer

Alexander Repty documents his experience in developing his first game, Cosmos — Infinite Space, which launched last week on iOS and the new Apple TV:

For several reasons, I have never created a game before. This changed on October 30th, 2015, when I released my first one, Cosmos — Infinite Space. In just over seven weeks, I went from not knowing the first thing about making games to having published a complete, viable game on the App Store for two platforms.

This is a great little story, and whilst the app isn’t selling in great quantities, Repty approached the project as a hobby and in that context the result has been terrific. Something that was particularly interesting to me was that Apple’s introduction of Top Charts to the Apple TV’s App Store earlier this week appeared to have quite a meaningful impact on sales of Cosmos. Hopefully yesterday’s introduction of Categories to the Apple TV App Store will be a further boost to Cosmos and other App Store games.

When Apple slowly introduced top charts and categories, the effect on sales was really noticeable. Before the introduction of charts, my sales in Europe were almost double those of the US market. When charts were introduced in the US, sales there started surpassing sales in Europe by over 50%.

After six days on the store now, Cosmos has brought in $463 for us with no sign of slowing down. Even if it were to keep this up, it would not be remotely enough to live off, but it’s nice to see some reward for all the work in addition to all the lessons learned.