Apple’s electric car plans

Apple-Car

It looks like Apple is working on an electric, possibly autonomous automobile. Numerous publications have reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook started the project about a year ago, which followed a M&A meeting with Tesla’s Elon Musk in the Spring of 2013.

We must remember that Apple has many R&D projects and “says no a thousand times for every yes” and of course even if the car project does happen, any type of product is many years off (barring any acquisition). Then there is the current mess that is CarPlayRead more

Review: Incipio’s new Clarion, Faraday & Tuxen folio cases offer three small twists on iPad Air 2 protection

clarion-faraday-tuxen-ipad-air-2

Having reviewed hundreds of different models over the years, I can say with some authority that iPad cases are rarely “exciting.” Early on, Apple established the folio — a lidded sleeve with the ability to stand upright for videos — as the de facto standard for iPad case design, and perhaps half of all the iPad cases since then have followed the same general theme, differing more in materials than functionality. Incipio’s latest designs for the iPad Air 2 are all small riffs on the same idea: fabric lids connected to plastic iPad holders, varying more in the particulars than the broad strokes.

We’re taking a quick look today at three cases: Clarion ($35), Faraday ($40), and Tuxen ($50). Despite their varied MSRPs, they can all be had for between $31 and $33 through Amazon, with some color options going for higher prices. Functionally, they’re very similar to one another: all three support both video and typing angles, protect most of the iPad against scratches and dings, and use magnets to automatically turn the iPad’s screen off or on when it’s closed or opened. Read on for what makes them different from one another…

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Reuters: Apple’s electric car is ‘all about autonomous driving’, Apple is in talks with automotive suppliers

Oatmeal-autonomos-carImage via the Oatmeal

One of the weird details in the WSJ report on the Apple electric car project yesterday was this bit:

Other Silicon Valley giants are looking at autos. Google Inc. has been working on a self-driving car for years. The head of Google’s autonomous vehicle project said last year that the company aims to forge a partnership with auto makers to build a self-driving car within the next few years. A self-driving car is not part of Apple’s current plan, one of the people familiar with the project said.

This morning’s Reuters report contradicts the earlier WSJ report saying that Apple’s electric car will be autonomous.

“It’s a software game. It’s all about autonomous driving,” the source said.

That makes a lot of sense. In 5 years, many cars will have some level of autonomy built in. In 10 years, most cars will be autonomous. Every major automobile manufacturer and most big tech companies see the huge potential here and are actively investing in R&D.

Google and Tesla are the most obvious leaders in this field. Google’s Autonomous car project is well on its way. With public demonstrations already happening and Google lobbying governments for legislation to allow for autonomous driving, the groundwork is already being laid out.

Doug Field, a former Apple executive, demonstrated Tesla’s autonomous driving to me a few months ago (along with an insane 0-60mph time). Tesla expects to have at least partial autonomy in its cars within a year and its cars coming off the assembly line already have the hardware on board to do a lot of this.

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How-To: Now’s the right time to swap your old iMac’s hard drive for a fast new SSD

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If you bought your iMac 3-5 years ago, there’s probably nothing so seriously wrong with the hardware that you need to consider replacing the machine. Sure, the new iMac with 5K Retina Display looks a little nicer, but at a steep $2,499 starting point, it’s still a luxury, not a necessity.

Yet there’s something you can do for $200 to $500 that will radically change your iMac’s performance: install a solid state drive (SSD) in addition to or instead of its original hard drive. SSDs use high-speed memory chips rather than the spinning platter mechanisms in traditional hard drives, achieving up to 5X benefits in speed while requiring no moving parts. Five years ago, SSDs were both expensive and limited in capacity, making them unlikely components for most Macs. Today, high-quality, capacious SSDs can be had for reasonable prices, and they’re surprisingly easy to install in iMacs. With limited expertise and only three tools, I swapped out my old hard drive for an SSD in roughly 30 minutes. Here’s how I did it, and – if you’re up for a quick do-it-yourself project – what I’d recommend for you.

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Apple hires head of Mercedes-Benz R&D, other auto experts for new secret research lab

Apple has hired former president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Johann Jungwirth to join the company as Director of Mac Systems Engineering. The hire was confirmed by Jungwirth’s LinkedIn page, and first noted by a report in the Financial Times detailing Apple’s recent hires in the automotive industry and secretive new automotive research lab.

The report claims Apple’s automotive hires are for a new research lab where “experienced managers from its iPhone unit, are researching automotive products.” Read more

Federal government embracing Apple Pay, enabling support for federal-payment cards

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Tim Cook is set to speak ahead of President Obama today at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity at Stanford University, and the White House has already shared some unexpected news regarding government support for Apple Pay. As noted by Bloomberg, the White House announced that federal-payment cards will support Apple Pay, including debit cards where veteran benefits and Social Security payments are issued. Read more

Watch: Apple CEO Tim Cook talk cybersecurity at White House Summit

Tim Cook White House Summit on Cybersecurity

As we mentioned earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook is in attendance at the White House Summit on cybersecurity today at Stanford University where he’s expected to discuss Apple, privacy, and security. Notably, Tim Cook is the only technology company chief executive participating in the event with the White House as CEOs at Facebook, Yahoo, and Google each declined deciding to send lower-level staff instead. Other CEOs in attendance include the heads of Apple Pay partners Bank of America and Visa as well as the chief executive officer of AIG. You can view a stream of the event below: Read more

Nike+ FuelBand iPhone app adds HealthKit integration, no longer requires a band

Nike today released a long-awaited update to its FuelBand app for iPhone users with the fitness tracking FuelBand wearable adding support for sharing NikeFuel points with Apple’s Health app on iOS 8. The update also adds support for motion tracking right from the iPhone for iPhone 5s users and up and no longer requires a Nike FuelBand to use.

The new version uses HealthKit, a framework introduced with iOS 8, to let Nike’s FuelBand app share data easily and with your permission to Apple’s built-in Health app and other apps that integrate with HealthKit. NikeFuel, the fitness company’s metric for tracking movement throughout the day, is featured as a supported fitness metric in Apple’s own Health app. Read more

Mattel plans to release its new Google Cardboard-based VR toy on iOS by end of the year

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Google and Mattel are holding a press event today to announce a new product that merges Google’s experimental Cardboard virtual reality platform with Mattel’s classic View-Master toy. Also announced at the event: Mattel plans to bring the new View-Master toy and with it Google’s Cardboard platform to the iPhone by the end of the year. Read more

Opinion: Could Apple’s Pinterest profile be an early step toward properly-curated apps?

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iOS and Android are completely different worlds when it comes to apps. Android is pretty much the wild west, with little control over quality or even safety (malware is commonplace). iOS, on a non-jailbroken device, is a walled garden, where Apple decides what apps can and can’t do, and which ones get approved for sale.

Yet despite that carefully-controlled approach, the App Store can still feel like a bit of a jungle. Which is why I wonder whether the Pinterest tie-in announced yesterday may offer hope for the future.

But let’s start with the problem I think needs to be solved, and that problem begins with search. Results may vary by country, and you can try the searches for yourself to compare your results with mine, but here’s what I get for a few obvious app searches …  Read more