Apple Targets Electric-Car Shipping Date for 2019

Apple Targets Electric-Car Shipping Date for 2019

Sep 23, 2015

By Daisuke Wakabayashi, Wall Street Journal Consumer-electronics maker accelerates efforts to build Apple-branded car Apple Inc. is accelerating efforts to build an electric car, designating it internally as a “committed project” and setting a target ship date for 2019, according to people familiar with the matter. The go-ahead came after the company spent more than a year investigating the feasibility of an Apple-branded car, including meetings with two groups of government officials in California. Leaders of the project, code-named Titan , have been given permission to triple the 600-person team, the people familiar with the matter said. Apple has hired experts in driverless cars, but the people familiar with Apple’s plans said the Cupertino, Calif., company doesn’t currently plan to make its first electric vehicle fully autonomous. That capability is part of the product’s long-term plans, the people familiar with the matter said. Apple’s commitment is a sign that the company sees an opportunity to become a player in the automotive industry by applying expertise that it has honed in developing iPhones—in areas such as batteries, sensors and hardware-software integration—to the next generation of cars. An Apple spokesman declined to comment. There are many unanswered questions about Apple’s automotive foray. It isn’t clear whether Apple has a manufacturing partner to become the car equivalent of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the Taiwanese contract manufacturer that builds most iPhones and is known by the trade name Foxconn. Most major auto makers build and run their own factories, but that hasn’t been Apple’s strategy with iPhones or iPads. Contract manufacturing in the auto industry usually is limited to a few niche models. The 2019 target is ambitious. Building a car is a complex endeavor, even more so for a company without any experience. Once Apple completes its designs and prototypes, a vehicle would still need to undergo a litany of tests before it could clear regulatory hurdles. In Apple’s parlance, a “ship date” doesn’t necessarily mean the date that customers receive a new product; it can also mean the date that engineers sign off on the product’s main features. It isn’t uncommon for a project of this size and complexity to miss ship-date deadlines. People familiar with the project said there is skepticism...

Apple Patents New Liquidmetal Techniques For Manufacturing

Apple Patents New Liquidmetal Techniques For Manufacturing

Aug 20, 2015

By John Biggs, TechCrunch Liquidmetal, as you’ll recall, is a bulk metallic glass – BMG – that can be cast into shapes and then hardens into a metal. It’s popular in watchmaking and was recently taken up by Apple in their iPhone manufacturing process. Today’s patent, however, addresses the process of casting multiple metals or BMGs, allowing manufacturers to surround alloys in other alloys. Patent No. 9,103,009 is a “method of using core shell pre-alloy structure to make alloys in a controlled manner.” This means you can cast objects consisting of multiple metallic layers including metal over BMG, BMG over metal, and an alloy of both. By cooling the material at proper rates you reduce the opportunity for crystals to form inside the metal, thereby ruining the object. Clearly this esoteric patent isn’t aimed at the average consumer – yet – but it could mean some interesting designs for phones and wearables down the road. The company holds the exclusive license to the technology and should be implementing it in more hardware in the...

A lot of people are optimistic about the Apple Car…

A lot of people are optimistic about the Apple Car…

Feb 18, 2015

“A lot of people are optimistic about the Apple Car, but for all the wrong reasons” By Steve Kovach, Business Insider There hasn’t been this much hype about a nonexistent Apple product since Steve Jobs was quoted in his official biography as saying he had finally “cracked” TV. It was the line that kicked off a thousand blog posts: When is the Apple television coming? What will it be able to do? What will it look like? Analysts like Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster assured us the Apple television was imminent.  That was over three years ago, and Apple has yet to launch a television or even an updated version of the Apple TV box. Starting last Friday and through the long weekend, all anyone in the industry could talk about were the various reports that Apple is working on a top-secret car project. The Wall Street Journal said the car will be an Apple-branded electric vehicle that currently resembles a minivan. (A minivan?) Reuters reported Apple is working self-driving technology. The Financial Times reported Apple has a secret research lab filled with automotive experts trying to work on new products for cars. And an Apple employee emailed Business Insider to say the company’s working on something that will “give Tesla a run for its money.” Within a few days, there was so much smoke about Apple’s secret ambitions for the car that there has to be fire. But as neat as it sounds, there are some who are overly optimistic about Apple’s ability to turn cars into its next major business. A Cantor Fitzgerald analyst implied that Apple’s car could be the company’s next iPhone. Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor Keith Rabois thinks Apple will be able to turn cars, which are modestly profitable, into something that’s suddenly and magically able to mint profits. All of those thoughts are wildly optimistic. As Business Insider’s Jay Yarow wrote a few years ago, the iPhone is a once-in-a-lifetime megahit. I’ll probably be an old dude or dead before someone comes up with a product that fundamentally changes the way people live and interact with each other. For all the talk and criticism about Apple “needing” to find its next big thing, Apple has proven that it can do...

Give a Little Bit of Heart and Soul

Give a Little Bit of Heart and Soul

Feb 12, 2015

By Rebecca Carnes, Design-2-Part Magazine “A machine can be computerized, not a man” – Spock, Star Trek The designers and engineers of the new Apple Watch would beg to differ with Spock. Not to mention the designers and engineers of countless other new “wearables” on the market that can monitor your heart rate, track your sleep patterns, alleviate lower back pain, alert you when you have an important new text, and even send a love “tap.” Wearables have crossed over from techy fitness trackers into intimate devices that are sleek, attractive, and essentially an extension of ourselves. Send your own heartbeat to a loved one with the “Digital Touch” feature of the new Apple Watch, due out next month. Photo courtesy of Apple.   The Apple Watch — due out next month — claims to be the “most personal device ever,” acting as an electronic expression of what you like, who you are, and even who you love. It will not only play music, work like a credit card, manage apps, check the weather, and transcribe dictated messages, but also send someone else your own heartbeat as an endearment. The “Digital Touch” feature allows you to emotionally connect with other Apple Watch wearers “wrist to wrist” by sketching a quick picture for a friend, forwarding a short voice memo, and sending a loving heartbeat. You can even “tap” someone via a vibrating sensor to get their attention — think Facebook’s “poke” or a “Yo” from the Pebble smartwatch.   But the Apple Watch debut has been delayed since last September and its lack of presence at January’s 2015 International CES (consumer electronics show) in Las Vegas last month has opened the door for other wearables on the market to move into the spotlight, and not just the ones for your wrist. Where Does My Wearable Go? At the 2015 CES, wearables seemed to be migrating from the wrist to other target points on the body, such as the stomach. The new Belty, by French company Emiota, is billed as the world’s first “smart belt.” The chunky, metallic belt connects wirelessly to your smartphone to loosen and tighten as you sit or stand and make...

Tim Cook's Plan for Manufacturing Apple's Macs in the U.S. Should Lead to the Bay Area

By: Tim Cassidy, Mercury News When Apple moves the manufacturing of some Macs to the United States next year, the company obviously should put the factory in the Bay Area. It’s a no-brainer. What’s that you say? I’m the one with no brain? Look, Silicon Valley is in Apple’s DNA. It’s the company’s birthplace. It’s where Steve Jobs in 1984 famously launched the first Mac factory, a plant in Fremont he helped design to spit out one Macintosh every 27 seconds. “This is a machine that is made in America,” he said at the time. It was a memorable moment. But my argument for bringing the Mac back is all about the Bay Area having the people and the proximity to Apple’s headquarters to make the company’s manufacturing experiment a success. This goes beyond sentiment, though even the most analytical are subject to the nostalgic pull of the company’s legacy. “I think it would be great if Apple brought its production back to the Silicon Valley,” says Enrico Moretti, the UC Berkeley economics professor who this year published “The New Geography of Jobs,” a study of why certain places generate certain kinds of work. “That’s where it started. That’s where it historically belongs.” That doesn’t mean he thinks it’s going to happen. And many share that view, given the Bay Area’s expensive land, high wages and steep taxes (though companies, including Apple, have shown great creativity in reducing their tax bills). But hear me out. First, let’s look at what Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this month about bringing some Mac production back next year: Apple will spend $100 million on the initiative, which will be carried out by a contract manufacturer. (Think Foxconn and the like, but probably Foxconn.) We can assume that the U.S. Mac factory is going to be a relatively small operation, given that Cook is talking about only a piece of a small slice of what Apple makes. (Annual figures: 125 million iPhones, 58.3 million iPads, 18 million Macs.) Let’s stipulate that Apple isn’t going to give up its enviable profits on the Mac to make the move, because you don’t end up sitting on $121.2 billion in...