Apple has a well established approach to launching its new products. The company designs in-house, sources its own components, and works with a contract manufacturer to assemble it for sale.
As the tech giant plots a move into the car market, it could adopt a similar strategy — working with a lesser-known contract manufacturer — after talks with some brand name automakers stalled.
To build a vehicle, Apple has three primary options. It can partner with an existing automaker, build its own manufacturing facilities, or team up with a contract manufacturer such as Foxconn or Magna Steyr.
The company has reached out to automakers including Hyundai Motor Group, but the discussions have not gone well. In this scenario, Apple would develop an autonomous system for the vehicle, the interior and external design, and on-board technology, while leaving the final production to the automaker. Such a deal would essentially ask an existing car company to shed its brand and become a contract assembler for a new rival.
A longtime manager at both Apple and Tesla said this would be like Apple asking bitter smartphone rival Samsung Electronics to manufacture the iPhone.
Apple wants to challenge the assumptions of how a car works — how the seats are made, how the body looks, the person said. A traditional automaker would be reluctant to help such a potentially disruptive competitor, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters.
Indeed, discussions between Apple and the car industry seem to have fizzled in recent months. Hyundai and Kia confirmed talks on the development of an electric car, but backtracked soon after.
Apple’s self-driving car team met with representatives from Ferrari last year. It’s unclear what was discussed, but the talks did not advance, according to a person familiar with the meeting.
In February, Nissan said it was not in talks with Apple.
Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess said he is “not scared” of Apple’s entry into the industry.
BMW’s CFO recently said he sleeps peacefully, despite Apple’s possible plans.
For its computers, phones and tablets, Apple relies on contract manufacturers such as Foxconn, Pegatron, Wistron, Flex and Luxshare. The iPhone maker has avoided building its own factories, an effort that would cost billions of dollars in construction, worker pay and training, along with new liabilities and complex deals with local governments.
Factories are generally low-margin businesses. Apple leaves that to partners, while focusing on product design and development. The company’s profit margins dwarf those of suppliers such as Foxconn and Pegatron.
Tesla, the most successful electric automaker to date, has lost billions of dollars running its own factories and only recently began generating regular income. Last year, the company reported a profit of almost $700 million. Apple made more than $60 billion in the same period.
Auto industry “profit margins are lower than Apple’s current model,” Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a recent note to investors. Some luxury brands, such as Ferrari, are more profitable, but those are “edge cases and potentially difficult to replicate at higher volumes,” the analysts added.
Apple is more likely to go with a contract manufacturer because that is the business model they are used to, said Eric Noble, president of consulting firm the CarLab. He thinks a partnership with an existing automaker would be a power struggle because both companies are used to tightly controlling their supply chains.
This is why Foxconn and Magna are two primary contenders for Apple’s business, according to industry insiders.
Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, has an existing relationship with Apple as the main assembler of iPhones. And the Taiwanese company is already branching out into the auto business. In October, it introduced an electric vehicle chassis and a software platform to help automakers bring models to market faster. Last month, it unveiled a deal with startup Fisker to assemble more than 250,000 EVs a year.
An Apple employee involved in manufacturing said Foxconn is used to having Apple engineers tell it what to do and that the company’s factories are already filled with Apple-designed equipment. The person asked not to be identified discussing sensitive matters.
Magna has some history with Apple, too. The two were in talks to build Apple’s car when the iPhone maker first set out on this path about five years ago. Magna is also a lot more experienced at making cars. It assembles luxury models for companies including BMW, Daimler and Jaguar Land Rover.
The CEO of a well-known self-driving car company was surprised to see Apple talking to existing automakers when an option like Magna exists.
Magna is the most logical choice, said Noble, who has worked with the Canadian auto supplier on projects in the past and calls the company “amazingly good” at what they do.
For its part, Apple appears to be designing its car with production in mind. The company recently posted a job listing seeking a “senior hands on manufacturing engineer” for its special projects group, the team leading its work on a car. The candidate will be responsible for growing a team of engineers focused on manufacturing strategy and the supply chain. The person is also required to have experience working with aluminum, steel and composites, key materials in cars.
Nintendo's Switch Online N64 and Sega Genesis games cost $64 for 12 months in Canada – MobileSyrup
After revealing that N64 and Sega Genesis titles were coming to its Switch Online services through an ‘Expansion Pack‘ subscription tier a few weeks ago, Nintendo has confirmed pricing and availability for the service.
An Individual Membership costs $63.99 for 12 months, while a Family Membership costs $99.99 for 12 months. The service officially launches on October 25th. This is a significant jump in subscription pricing from Switch Online’s current $24.99 yearly cost that includes NES/SNES games and cloud saves.
The additional subscription tier gives players access to retro Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis titles. For example, Mario Kart 64, The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Mario Tennis, Super Mario 64 and more are coming to the N64 catalogue. Nintendo has confirmed that games like Banjo-Kazooie, Pokémon Snap, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and Paper Mario are coming in the future.
On the Genesis side, notable titles like Shinobi III, Streets of Rage 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Golden Axe, Eco the Dolphin and more are coming to the platform.
While expensive, this moves the cost of Switch Online more in line with Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus.
During its presentation today, Nintendo also confirmed that the Expansion Pack cost includes Animal Crossing: New Horizons‘ upcoming DLC, Happy Home Paradise.
In other Switch-related news, Nintendo’s N64 and Genesis gamepads are now available to order in Canada for $64.99 each.
Image credit: Nintendo
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp will have a New Horizons update themed event, features Lottie from Happy Home Paradise DLC – Nintendo Wire
It has been a big day for Animal Crossing fans! Today’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons Direct showed off what’s coming to the Nintendo Switch title next month, as well as the announcement of paid DLC, details on the next series of amiibo cards, and more. Not everything made it into the presentation, as noted by the official Japanese Nintendo site. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, the mobile Animal Crossing game, is joining in with an event to celebrate the new update. Lottie from Paradise Planning is ready to party too!
So far we know that the event login bonus will be your new work uniform from Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise (the paid DLC). Nintendo is also teasing that we might see new Villagers roaming around the campgrounds (possibly the “new” Villagers being added to New Horizons)! This lines up with the first New Horizons-focused event that Pocket Camp had way back in March 2020. Lottie’s integration hasn’t been clarified yet – as the monthly event representative at your campsite or as a purchasable NPC via Leaf Tickets. At least, given the render, we know she’ll be included somehow.
Expect more details from the official Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Twitter account later this month as we quickly approach Thursday, October 28th.
Amazon-owned Twitch says source code exposed in last week's data breach – Reuters
Oct 15 (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc-owned (AMZN.O) Twitch said on Friday that last week’s data breach at the live streaming e-sports platform contained documents from its source code.
Passwords, login credentials, full credit card numbers and bank details of users were not accessed or exposed in the breach, Twitch said in a statement.
The platform, which is used by video gamers for interacting with users while live streaming content, had blamed the breach on an error in the server configuration change.
Server configuration changes are performed during server maintenance. A faulty configuration can expose the data stored in the servers to unauthorized access.
Twitch said it was “confident” the incident affected only a small number of users and that it was contacting those who had been directly impacted. The platform has more than 30 million average daily visitors.
Video Games Chronicle had reported that about 125 gigabytes of data was leaked in the breach, including details on Twitch’s highest-paid video game streamers since 2019.
Reporting by Chavi Mehta and Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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