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

rinspeed

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

Apple tops the list of the world’s most admired companies for 8th year running

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Apple has topped the list of Fortune‘s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies for the 8th consecutive year, with Google taking the number two slot occupied last year by Amazon, while investment company Berkshire Hathaway moved up one slot into third place.

Apple received the top score in all nine categories of innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness (was never going to be too much doubt about that one), long-term investment value, quality of products and global competitiveness …  Read more

Inbox by Gmail iOS app now has full iPad version, still requires invite at present

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Inbox by Gmail, which Google appears to view as a replacement for the popular email client Sparrow, has been very quietly updated, notes TechCrunch, to include a native build for iPad. The app is currently only available in some countries (including the U.S.), and neither the App Store description nor What’s New entry mention the iPad build.

The app, which our hands-on last October described as “a marriage between Gmail and Google Now,” has tended to polarise views, some loving it, others hating it–with very few falling between the two …  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

Tim Cook only CEO taking part in today’s White House cybersecurity summit

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We learned earlier this week that Tim Cook would be speaking at a White House cybersecurity summit today, and it now appears he will be the only tech CEO to do so. USNews is reporting that CEOs of other top tech companies all declined President Obama’s invitation, sending lower-ranking execs in their place.

Unlike Apple’s Cook, other top executives at key Silicon Valley companies declined invitations to the summit. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Google’s Larry Page will not attend amid the ongoing concerns about government surveillance. Facebook spokesman Jay Nancarrow said Zuckerberg is unavailable to attend and that Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan will speak during a panel at the event.

It’s believed other CEOs consider refusing to take part to be the best way to express their objections to increased government surveillance of electronic communications, while Cook takes the opposite view: that it is important to speak up in defence of user privacy …  Read more

Popular news reading service Flipboard launches a web version

Flipboard for the web

Flipboard for the web

The popular news reading service Flipboard is becoming more than an app on your iPhone or iPad today as it launches a web version for the first time. Flipboard first launched on the iPad in 2010 and later released a version specifically for the iPhone, and now Mac users can access Flipboard from any browser with today’s launch of the web version. Read more

iOS 8.3 brings wireless CarPlay, improved Google login, new Emojis, China Apple Pay

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Earlier today, Apple seeded the first iOS 8.3 build to developers alongside Xcode 6.3 beta with Swift 1.2. Readers have discovered that the new operating system brings a new wireless CarPlay feature to the iPhone. This means that users can now wirelessly connect their iPhone to the car to bring an iOS-like experience the dashboard. Previously, users would have to connect their iPhone to the car via a USB Lightning cable. We first reported in March 2014 that Apple has been working on wireless CarPlay. It’s yet to be seen how long the wireless CarPlay rollout takes and which cars support it in the future. The new update also, like with OS X 10.10.3, brings easier Google login functionality for users with two-factor accounts:

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Camera-equipped minivan leased to Apple spotted in Bay Area may point to Street View-style mapping system

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Apple may be preparing a big update to its Maps application for iOS and OS X. San Francisco’s KPIX reported earlier today that a Dodge Caravan sporting an impressive array of cameras has been spotted roaming the area. The California DMV confirmed that the vehicle (seen in the photos above and below, via Claycord) was leased to Apple.

The CBS affiliate reached out to technology analyst Rob Enderle for his thoughts on what this might be. Enderle said that this van simply has too many cameras (a whopping twelve of them) to be a mapping car—though he failed to note that Google uses even more cameras on its own Street View cars.

Video and more photos after the break…

You can now unlock Google Docs, Slides and Sheets for iOS with Touch ID

Google is on a roll this week with updating its iOS apps. Yesterday we saw Chrome for iPhone and iPad pick up a big update bringing Material Design to the browser and adopting Handoff support with OS X Yosemite. Following Chrome’s release, Google today shared new versions of its Docs, Slides, and Sheets apps for iPhone and iPad taking advantage of another Apple technology: Touch ID.

Beginning with Docs version 1.2.6448, Slides version 1.0.5754, and Sheets version 1.1.7297, iPhone and iPad users can now lock and unlock each app using the Touch ID fingerprint scanner as an alternative to the passcode lock screen. Read more

Samsung brings in new design chief from Apple designer Jony Ive’s former firm

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Samsung announced last year that, after negative reviews of the design of its Galaxy S5, its head of mobile design Change Dong-hoon was being replaced by then VP of mobile design Lee Min-hyouck. Today, however, it was revealed that the company is bringing in an outside designer to help refresh its product lineup. A report from the Korea Herald states that Samsung has hired Lee Don-tae to be its new head of design. Don-tae would lead design of all Samsung gadgets, including smartphones.

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