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AOL Reportedly Shutting Down TUAW Next Week in Larger Restructuring Move [Updated]

AOL will soon be shutting down The Unofficial Apple Weblog, a long-running Apple blog better known as TUAW, according to The Verge. TUAW will reportedly close next Monday, February 2, just a few months after celebrating its tenth anniversary. The website currently has 11 staff on its editorial team. TUAW has been providing Apple news, reviews, how-tos and other content about the Cupertino-based company since December 2004. AOL gained ownership of the website through its acquisition of Weblogs Inc. in 2005. The company has three other flagship media properties in The Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Engadget. The expected closure is part of larger restructuring plans at AOL that will also see long-running gaming website Joystiq shut down. TechCrunch reports that AOL will be laying off about 150 people, mainly in sales, and merging TUAW's Apple-related content and Joystiq into larger technology website Engadget. The majority of the layoffs will be the result of AOL shifting to more programmatic advertising. AOL's restructuring plans are largely unsurprising given CEO Tim Armstrong's comments during the company's fourth quarter earnings call in November:“As we look out to 2015, our strategy and decisions will be driven by the following organizing principles,” said Armstrong. “Number one, we’ll focus our capital allocation resource management and management time against scaled assets and platforms. Two, we will organize our asset portfolio around scaled value and scaled growth assets. Three, we’ll simplify everything that can be simplified.”The impending closure of TUA

Video Walkthrough of Apple CarPlay on Pioneer Receiver Shows Siri, Phone, Maps, and More

Last week, Pioneer announced that it became the first company to offer support for Apple's CarPlay vehicle integration feature in five of its 2014 NEX in-dash multimedia receivers through a firmware update. Now, Josh Carr of technology repair firm Fix Denver (via TUAW) has put together a four-part video walkthrough of downloading, installing and using CarPlay on Pioneer's $700 AVH-4000NEX receiver, giving an overview of various apps and features. After the 200 MB firmware update is downloaded from Pioneer's website, the user is required to create a bootable USB drive for the update which can be done through Disk Utility on OS X. From there, users plug the USB drive into the powered-on receiver and scroll to the device's settings to initiate the firmware update. Carr notes that the vehicle containing the deck must be on during the process with its emergency brake enabled. CarPlay then pops up on the receiver's home screen as an option, and boots into its own interface once selected. Carr demonstrates a variety of different apps on CarPlay including Phone, Music, Spotify and Apple Maps along with how Siri integrates itself into the interface. Like on the iPhone, the Phone app contains options for Favorites, Recents, Contacts, Keypad and Visual Voicemail and uses Siri to tell the driver who is calling. The Music app contains options for iTunes Radio, Genius playlists, Artists and Now Playing, as Siri can also play a song when requested. Meanwhile, launching the Messages app allows users to compose a message and send it to a specific contact through Siri.

FCC Filings Reveal Apple's First-Party iBeacon Hardware

FCC filings discovered by electronics company Securifi (via TUAW) have revealed Apple's plans for first-party iBeacon hardware to go along with the microlocation technology found in iOS. The transmitter is registered as the "Apple iBeacon" and carries a model number of A1573, which is in line with the company's other products. According to the documents filed by Apple, the iBeacon was tested in collaboration with China-based Audix Technology from April 30 to May 13, 2014. The beacon tested has a diameter of 5.46'' and has a highest working frequency of 2.4GHz, which is in line with modern Bluetooth standards. Originally introduced at WWDC 2013, iBeacon technology enables iOS devices to communicate with transmitters through Bluetooth in order to deliver relevant information to apps and services when a user is nearby. Apple introduced a "Made for iPhone" iBeacon specification in February, signaling a more primary role for the technology in its devices and services. So far, however, companies have used third-party transmitters, like the Estimote Beacon to work with the technology and iOS devices. Shopping app Shopkick and Macy's partnered during the holiday season last year to integrate the technology into stores, while Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association have used iBeacons to enhance live events. Apple has also integrated iBeacons into its own retail stores to notify customers about picking up online orders and special upcoming events. Internationally, Virgin Atlantic integrated iBeacons into London's Heathrow Airport to notify users

Apple's Retail Stores Running Dry of AirPort and Time Capsule Stocks?

We've received several reports today indicating that Apple's retail stores are quickly running out of stock of the various AirPort and Time Capsule wireless networking products, hinting that a full refresh for the line could take place as part of the company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote next Monday. One source has indicated that his local Apple retail store has completely sold out of both Time Capsule models, as well as the AirPort Extreme and AirPort Express base stations. A second source reported that Time Capsules are sold out at a different location, with Apple sales reps indicating that no new shipments appeared to be planned. There was no word on the status of AirPort Extreme and AirPort Express stocks at that location. It seems now that TUAW has been hearing similar reports. They too have heard that several Apple Stores across the US are low or out of stock of AirPort devices.A reader let us know that all of the Apple Stores in his area are out of AirPort Express models, and one of our sources confirmed the Apple Store in his area is out of stock on not just the Express, but the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule as well. Another source says supplies at one store are not constrained and never have been, but the store "may have" received a notice to send its AirPort device inventory back.TUAW acknowledges that WWDC is expected to be a software only event, but also raises the possibility that updates could come somehow be tied to Apple's iCloud offering.

Mac OS X Lion Almost Ready?

TUAW reports that Mac OS X Lion has been released for "internal testing" last week at Apple. It's not clear what that really means, but TUAW believes that means that Lion is nearly ready for release.This suggests the new OS might possibly ship as early as WWDC with an "available today" mention at the keynote -- or it might not. But Lion is looking to be one step closer to availability for Apple customers.We do know the last Mac OS X Lion developer preview was said to be much faster and more stable than the previous releases.