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Apple CEO confirms company is developing autonomous technologies for vehicles

Apple Inc. is certainly entering the automotive market by working on autonomous technologies for vehicles, the tech giant’s chief executive confirmed to Bloomberg Television.

During an exclusive interview with Bloomberg Television's Emily Chang, Apple CEO Tim Cook has divulged several details about the tech giant’s plans in the automotive market. This marks the first time that Cook divulged more elaborate information about its automotive ambitions, after the company ended a not-so-secret car project.

Apple has been testing the grounds of the automotive industry through its so-called Project Titan, which is essentially a supposedly secret electric car scheme. This car project had Apple poaching employees from Tesla – including former Tesla senior engineer Jamie Carlson – and a number of experts from other carmakers and tech giants. Tesla had responded by also poaching employees from Apple.

Read the entire article Apple CEO confirms company is developing autonomous technologies for vehicles

Apple shows 'Do Not Disturb While Driving' mode on the future iOS 11 featured on iPhone and iPad

In previous reports, Nissan came up with a lifesaving solution that will address the pressing issue of distracted driving in the form of Signal Shield Concept: The vehicle's arm rest compartment will be converted into a Faraday cage-like area where you can place your mobile device and when the lid is closed, the system will immediately set up a silent zone that will block all the phone's incoming and outgoing cellular activities, Bluetooth and even Wi-fi connections. It is really a cool safety concept coming from the Japanese automaker, and now Apple will also contribute to that cause and is now planning to release a safety feature geared towards drivers.

Have you ever gotten the urge to check your text messages, Facebook notifications and Instagram while driving? Apple wants you to stop the dangerous habit with a new feature called "Do Not Disturb While Driving." DNDWD feature was revealed at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference and will be launched as part of iOS 11 for the iPad and iPhone this coming fall. The feature will be activated when the cellular phone will notice that the user is in a vehicle, and is not using Apple CarPlay at that time, and will block any incoming notifications.

Furthermore, it can even send automatic text message replies that will indicate that the phone's owner is currently driving. DNDWD utilizes information about Bluetooth connectivity and adjacent Wifi networks to know if the phone is in a moving vehicle, according to Endgadget. The feature will also be immediately allowed to function when the mobile device is situated in a running car, although passengers or the person behind the wheel with no regard for safety can manually override the feature. IOS will provide the feature with no payment required, and it will be available this fall for the iPhone 5s to the newest iPhone.

Read the entire article Apple shows 'Do Not Disturb While Driving' mode on the future iOS 11 featured on iPhone and iPad

Tesla may become a takeover target for Apple, says Citigroup analyst

Having $250 billion in free cash certainly gives Apple Inc. massive buying power. Apple could approach and take over valuable companies whose operations and business are in line with its interest or that will expand the tech giant’s reach. Interestingly, one of these companies is luxury electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc.

This comes as Citigroup recently published a list of companies – seven in total -- that could possibly become takeover targets for Apple. Tesla’s name surfaced on the list, which also includes Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Hulu, Netflix, Take Two Interactive Software and Walt Disney.

Jim Suva, an analyst at Citigroup, said in a note to clients that more than 90 percent of Apple’s free cash is sitting beyond the United States. He quipped that should the tax proposals of US President Donald Trump be realized, Apple would have cash coffers amounting to $220 billion, which the tech giant could use for acquisitions or buybacks.

Read the entire article Tesla may become a takeover target for Apple, says Citigroup analyst

Apple selects steering wheel for games as backup for autonomous driving

If you’ve ever visited an arcade, chances are you have already seen a Logitech G920 wheel. If that doesn’t ring a bell, it’s the steering wheel that you use when playing racing games. For Apple however, this device can serve a better purpose than simply gaming.

According to Business Insider, through documents that came to its possession, the brand’s entry to the world of autonomous cars will have a training program wherein testers will be taught how to get back manual control. Those familiar with racing games will likely see that the main feature of this training program is the Logitech wheel. While the photo included in the documents were in black-and-white and appear sketchy, there is a high possibility that it is indeed the Logitech G27. Though no longer being sold by Logitech, a similar version being sold on eBay is priced at about $200.

The documents further reveal that there will be a makeshift rig wherein the individual is expected to sit. They will then undergo a total of seven tests from driving at different speeds to undergoing maneuvers. Once the brakes or the wheel are used, this will immediately disengage the electric mode. Operators though can still use the accelerator.

Read the entire article Apple selects steering wheel for games as backup for autonomous driving

It doesn’t matter how much people want it to happen; it’s still unlikely that we’ll soon see a vehicle from Apple. It is because as far as Apple is concern, creating its own car is not within its radar anymore. But what if the company did proceed with its plans to build its own Apple Car?

Alex Imnadze -- a visual artist specializing in automotive and industrial design from Turin, Italy – has created his own rendition of a would-have-been car from Apple. This rendition was published in Imnadze’s account in Behance, a Web site that allows artist to showcase their creative works.

Imnadze is calling this car the Apple Eve Concept. This moniker could have been picked simply because this car is supposed to be an electric vehicle (EV). Likewise, this moniker could be symbolic and refers to a Biblical event – when the first woman Eve took a bite from the forbidden fruit, which is commonly believed to be an Apple. It could be a play on the fact that Apple’s logo has a bite on it.

Read the entire article Automotive designer from Italy creates Apple Eve sports car concept

Apple's top man for its electric car project is quitting from the tech giant, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources privy with the matter. Steve Zadesky, who has been in charge of the project for the past two years, is leaving Apple for personal reasons, and not because of his performance.

It remains unclear when Zadesky would be leaving Apple. The company has never confirmed initiating a project to create and build an electric car. However, Apple has recruited quite a number of auto experts, many of whom come from known carmakers like Mercedes-Benz and Ford.

In 2014, Apple chief executive Tim Cook visited BMW's headquarters, with a number of senior Apple executives touring the German carmaker's Leipzig facility to learn how it builds the i3 electric car, people privy with the matter told Reuters.

Read the entire article Steve Zadesky quits Apple after two years as electric car project lead

It seems that tech giants Apple and Google are progressing on automotive projects faster than the top honcho of German carmaker Daimler had assumed. Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche told German weekly Welt am Sonntag that Silicon Valley companies that are working to develop a self-driving car seemed to know and can do more than assumed.

He noted that these companies have more respect for Daimler’s achievements than they thought. Google is currently testing prototype vehicles and is seeking partners from the auto industry, the company car’s project leader John Krafcik recently told the Automotive News World Congress.

There were also rumors that Apple is working on a vehicle, but the company did not confirm any speculations. In response to Google’s car project, Mercedes-Benz developed an S-class sedan that managed to drive 103 km (64 miles) sans any driver input.

Read the entire article Daimler CEO says Apple and Google are getting nearer to making a self-driving car

Smartphones are now able to link to vehicle infotainment systems but automakers will be controlling the data that technology partners such as Apple and Google can get access to. Automakers are starting to find ways to monetize the information generated from these systems. They have the potential to gain billions of dollars in e-commerce.

Smartphone use has already generated money for Apple and Google. They offer different products and services, ranging from digital music to targeted advertising. But with the linking of phones and car systems like with Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto, they will be able to extend their reach even farther.

However, auto companies want to limit what tech providers are able to access. Computer systems in cars are capable of acquiring a ton of possibly profitable information. Several automakers have stated that data from the functional systems of the car won’t be given to Apple and Google. Examples are data on steering, throttle, and brakes.

Read the entire article Auto companies to limit in-vehicle data accessible to Apple, Google

A settlement agreement has been reached by Apple Inc. and battery maker A123 Systems LLC to resolve a lawsuit that accuses Apple of poaching scientists to develop an electronic car. According to a May 11 filing in federal court in Boston by lawyers for A123, the parties have entered a deal, inked a term sheet, and are currently drafting a final agreement.

The filing didn’t indicate the terms of this agreement. The suit was filed in February, claiming that five former A123 workers (which include the head of its venture technologies division and three scientists) left to work for Apple’s car-battery division in breach of their agreement not to work for a competitor within a year of departing A123 Systems.

This lawsuit gives away a view of a portion of Apple’s product development plans, telling the public that experts in the car industry are being hired by the company. According to sources, Apple has been looking into car development and is hoping to start producing an electric vehicle by 2020 at the earliest.

Read the entire article Apple inks settlement deal with A123 Systems over poaching case

During Apple Inc.’s annual meeting at its Cupertino, California, one company was mentioned quite a number of times by the tech giant’s shareholders. During the meeting, an investor told Apple chief executive Tim Cook, “Quite frankly, I’d like to see you guys buy Tesla.”

The comment was then followed by laughter in and then some applause. Cook tried to sidestep the question by saying that Apple doesn’t really have a relationship with Tesla, and then shifted the topic to CarPlay, the company’s in-car information and entertainment system.

He said that he’d love Tesla to pick up CarPlay, which would mean that every major auto brand is committed to the system. Despite that remarks, investors still brought up Tesla during the meeting. In fact, one shareholder said that he has been a fan of Apple since 1984, but that that there is something else he is in love with that’s not Apple – a Tesla Model S.

Read the entire article Apple investors are eager for a marriage with Tesla Motors

Apple Inc. is exploring a possible resolution of a lawsuit wherein it allegedly poached employees from A123 Systems LLC amid reports that the tech giant has an ongoing project to develop an electric car. Apple has asked a federal judge in Boston, Massachusetts for more time to respond to A123’s request for a court order stopping Mujeeb Ijaz, one of its former employees, from breaking his employment agreement as well as preventing the California-based company from urging him to do so.

A123 also accused five of its former employees of breaching non-disclosure agreements as for working at Apple or planning to go. The lawsuit filed by A123 is providing a glimpse into Apple’s latest venture, indicating that the tech company was tapping engineers with automotive experience a year ago when recruiting A123’s employees.

The engineer in the lawsuit, Ijaz, founded A123’s Venture Technologies division that focused on materials research, cell product development and advanced concepts.

Read the entire article Apple is seeking resolution of poaching lawsuit filed by A123 Systems

Apple Inc. has been rumored to be developing a car, and recent evidences are appearing up that it might really be, according to a review by Reuters. Just over a year ago, Apple had applied for just eight patents related to auto batteries, but just recently, it has tapped some engineers – one of whom had filed for 17 in his former career, a Thomson Reuters analysis showed.

These hiring and patent filings only beef up rumors that that Apple really trying to boost its industrial lithium-ion battery capabilities for developing a car. While electric vehicle are seen as a promising technology for the environment and for the future, its widespread adoption has been hampered by high costs and "range anxiety."

These concerns, where appropriately addressed, could make EVs a lot easier to sell. According to an analysis by Thomson Reuters, the number of auto-related patents filed by Apple, Google Inc., Samsung, Tesla Motors Inc. and Uber tripled from 2011 to 2014. Apple has so far lagged behind its rivals in terms of the number of filed patents, filing for only 290 such patents as of 18 months ago.

Read the entire article More evidences point to Apple developing a car

Retired General Motors chief executive Dan Akerson believes that Apple Inc. should not venture into car-making and instead get more involved in auto electronics. “I think somebody is kind of trying to cough up a hairball here,” Akerson told Bloomberg in a phone interview. He said that if he was an Apple shareholder, he would be highly suspect of the long-term prospect of “getting into a low-margin, heavy-manufacturing” business.

He remarked that the auto industry is harder than people realize because of the regulatory and safety requirements. He said those who were not operating in the auto industry have a tendency to underestimate.

He said that Apple could find more potential in working with carmakers in areas of electronic operating systems and entertainment equipment. He even remarked that he would have turned over the infotainment and interconnectivity of every GM car to Apple when was still GM’s CEO. Akerson was GM’s top honcho from 2010 to 2014, when he stepped down to care for his wife.

Read the entire article Apple should stay away from car-making, says former GM CEO Dan Akerson

Apple is reportedly is pushing its secret team to commence output of an electric vehicle as early as the end of the decade, people privy with the matter told Bloomberg. Carmakers usually spend between five to seven years to develop car, which means that the timeframe for Apple’s new project indicates aggressive goals.

An Apple EV is expected challenge current pioneers of such vehicles -- Tesla Motors and General Motors -- both of which are aiming to roll out by 2017 models that could travel over 200 miles on a single charge and cost less than $40,000. Steve LeVine, author of “The Powerhouse,” said on Bloomberg TV that the launch of those EV will be inflection point that brings on the “electric age.”

After posting $18 billion in profit in the last quarter, Apple has around $178 billion in cash – a lot of money that could be used to finance a number of new projects. Apple chief executive Tim Cook has been pushing for an entry into new categories to make the company’s products and services more ubiquitous among consumers.

Read the entire article Apple may start output of its electric vehicle by 2020

Apple Inc. is tapping automotive technology and design experts who will work on a top-secret research lab, which may imply of the tech giant’s ambition to build a car, according to a report the Financial Times that cited several people privy with the company.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, citing people familiar with the matter, said in a report that Apple has hundreds of workers doing secret work that would pave way for an Apple-branded electric vehicle. According to the Journal, the project code-named “Titan” features an initial vehicle design resembling a minivan.

The paper that while Apple may decide not to proceed with a car, the technologies featured in an EV – like advanced batteries and in-car electronics -- would be of great use in the development and improvement of other Apple products.

Read the entire article Apple is hiring auto tech and design experts for secret electric car

People’s attentions were almost focused on Apple last week, when the tech giant unveiled its Apple Watch and iPhone 6. Ford, however, won’t let itself be out of the picture. During Apple’s Web cast, Ford used its main Twitter account and the hashtag "#wegotthat2" to jokingly note that its offerings already has the features of Apple’s newest products.

For instance, Ford compared the iPhone's new curved glass front to the windshield of a car, even saying that “objects appear in 3D!" When Apple boasted of the iPhone’s longer battery life, Ford twitted "That's cool. Our batteries power an entire car."

Now that the phone will come with two larger sizes, Ford shared a picture of a MyFord Touch screen and noted its size of 8 inches. Ford only noted that it offered mobile-payment capability long before the iPhone.

Read the entire article Ford uses #wegotthat2 hashtag to tweet during Apple Watch and iPhone 6 launch

A technology that enables drivers to use iPhones with voice commands or steering-wheel buttons will be available in vehicles as early as 2014, Apple Inc. said. The company said that Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo Car Group will show the CarPlay system this week to customers, with other carmakers introducing it later.

CarPlay will be available as an update to the iOS 7 mobile software on iPhones, and works with the Siri voice-recognition feature.

Around 39 percent of car buyers consider in-vehicle technology as one of the factors in choosing a vehicle while around 14 percent cited traditional performance measures such as power and speed as their first consideration, according to a study published by consulting company Accenture in December 2013.

Read the entire article Apple unveils new CarPlay system at 2014 Geneva Motor Show

Tesla Motors Inc. chief executive Elon Musk has confirmed to Bloomberg TV has had "conversations" with Apple Inc. but wouldn’t provide details on the nature of the talks. He, however, remarked that that it is "very unlikely" that Tesla would be acquired by any company. "We need to stay super focused on creating a compelling mass-market electric car," Musk said.

"I'd be very concerned in any kind of acquisition scenario, whoever it is, that we would become distracted from that task, which has always been the driving goal of Tesla."

The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that Musk met with Adrian Perica, Apple Inc.'s head of mergers and acquisitions, in 2013. The report prompted Tesla’s shares to surge even as some analysts doused the prospect of an agreement.

Read the entire article Tesla CEO confirms 2013 conversation with Apple

Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. traded at a record high as speculations rose on the nature of a 2013 meeting between the chief executive Elon Musk and Adrian Perica, Apple Inc.'s head of mergers and acquisitions, four analysts said. San Francisco Chronicle reported on Feb. 16, citing a person privy with the matter, that Musk met with Perica in early 2013.

Driven by this report, Tesla’s shares rose to $206 before closing at $203.70. Musk told Bloomberg in an interview in May 2013 that he was not planning to step away from Tesla for "several years" and that an acquisition by another carmaker wasn't a probability.

He, however, remarked that being acquired is "one of the possible outcomes," adding that a potential buyer would have to have a big cash position.

Read the entire article Tesla shares soar amid rumors of Apple acquisition

During the holidays, there seemed to be not enough news on the auto industry that the media could report about. However, there have been plenty of speculations. For instance, there was a speculation during the holidays on whether Tesla Motors could turn into an acquisition target for a major Detroit carmaker in 2014. Yra Harris of Praxis Trading even told CNBC that he expects Tesla to be acquired by General Motors this year.

There were also some suggestions that Apple could acquire Tesla and regain some of the creative charm that had gone after founder Steve Jobs passed away in 2011 – a claim from some analysts who have been claiming that the tech giant has lost its innovative edge under current chief executive Tim Cook.

"People are questioning Cook's status as a leader of an innovative company," Josh Stewart, portfolio manager at the Wasatch World Innovators Fund, told USA Today.

Read the entire article Apple buys Tesla: speculations fill void in automotive news during holidays
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