Opinion: What we can expect from an Apple Car if it really goes on sale in 2020

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What a difference a couple of weeks can make. We knew on February 5th that Apple was offering quarter-million dollar signing bonuses to Tesla engineers to persuade them to jump ship, but the idea that the company planned to make a car was just a vague rumor. Fast-forward a fortnight and it’s now being treated as established fact.

Our own exclusive reporting on the sheer range of automotive hires by Apple makes it clear that the company is, at the very least, seriously investigating the possibility, with a 1,000-strong team reportedly approved by Tim Cook. And while we need to bear in mind the cautionary note in Seth Weintraub’s piece that there’s a big difference between an R&D project and a real, live product, at this stage an Apple car seems more likely than not.

But if Bloomberg is right that Apple plans to launch a car by 2020, I think it’s important to recognize what form that car will and won’t take (spoiler: it won’t look like the above) …  Read more

Virgin Mobile drops complete iPhone lineup from its online store

Virgin Mobile iPhone 6

Since the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last fall, we’ve noticed that Sprint subsidiary Virgin Mobile USA has offered limited-to-no stock on its iPhone lineup with “out of stock” messages on each of their iOS device and seemingly no plans to replenish inventory. Specifically, the pre-paid carrier went head first into the holiday season without any iPhone inventory for shoppers.

Virgin later confirmed that it had no specific plans to carry the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at the time, and now the prepaid carrier has completely scrubbed the entire iPhone lineup from its online store. Read more

Apple said to be considering deal with Japan Display to help finance new factory

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A new report claims that Apple is in talks with Japan Display to help finance an LCD display factory in Ishikawa next year. The exact details of the agreement are still in flux, but Apple is said to be considering an investment of somewhere around 200 billion yen (or just under $1.7 billion).

The factory would churn out the same types of low-temperature polycrystalline silicon displays that are currently used in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Japanese news sources also say the factory could eventually be repurposed to build OLED panels like those found in the Apple Watch—and possibly in future iPhones. The factory’s output wouldn’t be exclusive to Apple’s devices, however, as the deal currently allows JDI to sell its wares to competitors.

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Bloomberg: Apple planning to launch its own car by the year 2020

Apple's car team

Apple’s car team

Apple is pushing to launch its own electric car by the year 2020, according to a new Bloomberg report citing “people with knowledge of the matter.” The company has been rumored in recent weeks to be working on the project in secret, with some claiming that Tim Cook authorized it as much as a year ago.

Apple has been poaching employees from Tesla Motorsbattery technology manufacturers, and elsewhere in an effort to build a team of experts to work on the vehicle, currently codenamed “Titan.” Whether this car will be a self-driving vehicle is still unknown, with some reports claiming that it will and others contradicting that idea. Apple employees have said, however, that it will “give Tesla a run for its money” when it’s released.

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Apple launches Repair Extension Program for 2011-2013 MacBook Pros with video problems

Following a number of complaints from consumers regarding graphics issues with Apple’s 2011 MacBook Pro, the company today announced a replacement program to remedy the issue for customers still experiencing problems.

The affected models include 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros built in 2011, as well as 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros built in 2012 and early 2013. MacBook owners who believe they may have one of these machines can check their warranty coverage on Apple’s website to determine whether they are eligible for a repair under this program.

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Apple considering dedicated Apple Watch stores as it sets up Paris booth

Apple Watch hands on table from September

Apple Watch hands-on table from September Media Event

According to multiple reports out of France, Apple is constructing a dedicated display for the upcoming Apple Watch in some upscale Paris-based retail outlets. The reports say that the size of the display is close to the length of a few small balconies and that Apple Retail Senior Vice President Angela Ahrendts has been directing the construction of the booth at retailer Galeries Lafayette on Champs Elysees. While these claims for France are still unconfirmed, sources have told us that Apple is considering constructing dedicated Apple Watch retail stores in the future if demand deems such outlets necessary…

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Opinion: Five reasons why Apple Car is happening, and five big issues to consider

Apple Car The Onion

Unless you’re Seth Weintraub, the idea that Apple would more likely develop a car than a search engine would have been controversial — as shown above, even The Onion-level comical — two weeks ago. That’s changed. Following public sightings of Apple-leased vans that looked a lot like street view mappers, numerous reports have substantially confirmed that Apple’s working on an electric car, quite possibly a self-driving car. Blessed with great insight (and sources), Seth already highlighted some of the big picture reasons Apple would get into the automotive industry before most people had accepted it as reality.

Now that the dust has settled, and even non-believers are acknowledging that an Apple Car could be coming in the not-too-distant future, it’s time to look at the big picture for Apple and the automotive industry. Below, you’ll find five big reasons the Apple Car is happening, as well as five big potential issues worth considering. Read more

Results: 80% expect the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition to cost under $4500, but will it?

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In a poll of 9to5Mac readers, nearly 80% of people think Apple’s 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition will cost under $4500. Only 16% expect the gold Apple Watch Edition to cost between $5000-$10,000, and 3.8% expect a price tag over $10,000. The biggest group at 29.68% expect the gold model to cost between $1500-$2500. But how much will the gold Apple Watch really cost? Read more

Poll: Do you think Apple should actually build an electric car?

Apple Watch CarPlay

The Apple Watch hasn’t even shipped to consumers yet and there’s been plenty of talk about Apple’s next potential entry into a new product category with the rumored Apple car on everyone’s mind. We discussed Apple’s car project in depth on this week’s 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast and profiled the experts actually working on Apple’s car project earlier today.

So with all of this car talk out of Cupertino, what do you think? Should Apple invest in such a wildly different product category as an electric car would be or do you think Apple might be stretching itself too thin and should stick to improving the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and other products? Read on to catch up on the car story development and let us know what you think. Read more

New Pebble coming soon with thinner design, revamped OS, voice recognition

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Pebble updated its website this morning to tease a new model of its popular smartwatch. The announcement is scheduled for 10 AM on Tuesday next week, but Pebble has not specified what exactly is launching. However, multiple sources tell us that a major update to both the Pebble’s hardware and software have been in the works and that these changes could be ready to debut next week. The new watch is said to (finally) gain a slightly wider, color, e-paper-like display that will be encased in an overall thinner design. The screen will still not be touch like the Apple Watch…

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Review: A-Audio’s Icon over-ear headphones pack Bluetooth and active noise cancellation in a premium package

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These days, it seems like there is an endless variety of headphones to choose from. With new models popping up on a weekly basis, it’s hard to sort through the crowd to find the ones that fit you best. When it comes to active noise cancellation this elite selection thins out a bit, but there are only a handful that fall into the same category as A-Audio’s Icon over-ear headphones.

From a functionality perspective, these headphones give you everything but the kitchen sink. They can be used wirelessly via Bluetooth with active noise cancellation, in passive (wired) mode, and even feature dual sound profiles. Along with that, they include a wide variety of accessories that offer more than enough for any situation…

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Revealed: The experts Apple hired to build an electric car

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In the last few weeks we’ve heard about a poaching war between Apple and Tesla, a couple hires by Apple from the auto industry, and a whole lot of speculation followed by reports that Apple has a team of hundreds working on an electric vehicle. But who exactly is working on the project at Apple?

We can learn a lot about the scope of the research Apple is doing from the talent on the team, so we’ve talked to our sources and compiled a list of some key employees Apple has hired and assigned to the project. 

A couple things we learn from the hires: Evident by this long list of automotive experts, it’s clear Apple’s ambitions go well beyond just its iOS-based CarPlay in-dash system. Well beyond software too, as many of the names below are hardware engineers coming from Tesla, Ford and other notable automotive related areas. In fact, the majority of employees on this list that are reporting to team leader Steve Zadesky come from an automotive hardware background and many only joined Apple recently or around the time Cook reportedly approved the electric car project. 

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