Project Titan lives?
We have not heard a lot from Apple’s self-driving car project, dubbed “Titan,” which was rumored to have been shut down all the way back in 2016. But there have continually been little dribbles of information here and there, including a rescue of a struggling self-driving car company, Drive.ai, in mid 2019.
But now, in shocking news, Apple might just be full steam ahead on becoming a major Tesla competitor.
In other words: clash of the titans.
“Apple Inc is moving forward with self-driving car technology and is targeting 2024 to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology,” Reuters says. “Apple has progressed enough that it now aims to build a vehicle for consumers.”
Important note: be cautious. Rumors are just that: rumors.
However, this is not a random tiny rumor blog that offers unverifiable streams of information every day and twice on Sundays. This is Reuters, which is about as straight-laced a news organization you can get.
According to Reuters’ information, the car incorporates a new battery design that could radically increase the car’s range and decrease the car’s cost: both welcome news to electric car fans who are stuck with low-range options like the Nissan Leaf (I own a 2015 model) or expensive options like Teslas, with some other options in between.
While Apple has huge engineering chops, it’s not a manufacturer, and Reuters says it will rely on a manufacturing partner to build the Apple car. Also, it’s still possibly the case that Apple would reduce the scope of its vision and simply built the software and intelligence for an Apple self-driving car, and license the technology to partners in the automotive industry.
This is, however, antithetical to Apple’s entire approach to its business, which has been to own as much of the supply chain as possible, and not license software to others.
One of the potential breakthroughs: a battery technology called LFP, or lithium iron phosphate, which apparently is safer than lithium ion batteries and has the potential to offer greater range.
The result would be a true clash of the titans.
Apple, which started in computers, is now a consumer electronics giant with a $2.2 trillion market capitalization. It’s so big — and phones are getting commoditized — than many have wondered how the company would sustain its growth rate, and what else it might expand into. Tesla, on the other hand, has a market cap of over $600 billion, which dwarfs the rest of the auto industry, and has seen that value balloon over the last few years as investors pick Tesla as a winner of the electrification of the world’s car fleet — and a leader in self-driving technology.
One thing we know about the automative industry: it’s expensive to get in.
Apple, however, has a massive cash hoard likely over $200 billion now, which means it could buy General Motors almost four times over just with cash. Let me repeat … just with cash. For Toyota, Apple would have to borrow a small amount of cash, about $10 billion.
Apple could buy two Volkswagens, three Daimlers, almost four BMWs, four Hondas, almost six Fords, and about 10 Nissans.
In other words, if Apple decided that the best way to enter the car market would be to buy an existing player and make them a production cog in its global go-to-market plan, it is more than capable of doing so. Look for car company valuations to rise in response to this news, if for nothing other than acquisition speculation.
That said, Apple trails Google and Amazon in AI, and artificial intelligence is critical in making self-driving cars work well. Tesla probably also has a significant lead here.
Final note: Tesla stock is down $45 today, or 6.5%.
Apple earns $100 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time ever – MobileSyrup
In the tech giant’s fiscal Q1 2021 earnings report, Apple revealed that it crossed the $100 billion USD (about $128 billion CAD) in quarterly revenue mark for the first time in the company’s history by bringing in $111.4 billion USD (roughly $142 billion CAD) in total, and $1.68 USD (about $2.15 CAD) per share.
This number also surpasses the company’s expected revenue, which was predicted to hit $103.12 billion USD ($132 billion CAD).
It’s important to note that quarterly earnings report includes iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max sales, which amounted to $65 billion USD (approximately $83 billion CAD) in revenue, another all-time record for the company. The previous highest iPhone revenue quarter was $61.58 billion USD (roughly $78 billion CAD) in the first quarter of 2018.
It will be interesting to see if the predicted “super cycle” of upgrading from older iPhones like the iPhone X series to the iPhone 12, which features 5G and the most substantial redesign to the look of the smartphone in years, continues later into 2021.
“This quarter for Apple wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless and innovative work of every Apple team member worldwide,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a recent press release.
“We’re gratified by the enthusiastic customer response to the unmatched line of cutting-edge products that we delivered across a historic holiday season. We are also focused on how we can help the communities we’re a part of build back strongly and equitably, through efforts like our Racial Equity and Justice Initiative as well as our multi-year commitment to invest $350 billion throughout the United States.”
Apple’s Mac sales also surged this quarter to $8.68 billion USD (roughly $11.1 billion CAD), likely as a result of more people working from home amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In Q1 2021 Apple revealed a new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini powered by its own M1 processor. The company is expected to release a new version of its desktop iMac that features the M1, likely bolstering Mac sales even further.
On the services side of things, an area where Apple continues to shift into growth, the company earned $15.76 billion (about $20 billion) this past quarter. Services include platforms like Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple TV Plus, Apple News+ and most recently Apple Fitness+, a fitness subscription service.
Apple says its big privacy change is coming in 'early spring' as conflict with Facebook heats up – CNBC
The long-awaited privacy update to Apple’s iPhone and iPad operating systems that could dramatically hurt mobile advertising is coming in “early spring,” Apple told CNBC on Wednesday.
To target mobile ads and measure how effective they are, app developers and other industry players currently often use Apple’s (IDFA), or a string of letters and numbers that’s different on every Apple device. But once this update rolls out, app makers will be forced to ask permission to access a user’s IDFA through a prompt. A significant portion of users are expected to say no, reducing the effectiveness of targeted ads.
Apple first announced the change last summer, giving advertisers and app makers ample time to prepare. But it’s become a major point of contention for ad-supported companies, who could lose revenue from the change.
Facebook in particular argues that the change will hurt the availability of free content on the open web and the ability of small business to place personalized ads. On Facebook’s Q4 2020 earnings call Wednesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg slammed the change, calling Apple one of its biggest competitors and claiming that the change “threatens the personalized ads that millions of small businesses rely on to find and reach customers.”
The timing of Apple’s change has been the subject of intense speculation in the mobile industry. Apple CEO Tim Cook is set to speak Thursday about data privacy at the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference in Brussels. On Thursday, the company is also releasing new marketing materials, including an update to its website and a report on data usage to illustrate how companies track user data across websites and apps.
Apple told CNBC that the next beta version of iOS will require app developers to ask permission to access the phone’s unique identifier.
The current version of iOS is 14.4, which was released earlier this week. There currently isn’t a public beta version beyond that available to developers. Apple declined to provide additional timing details.
As companies prepare for the change, they’re letting partners and advertisers know how they plan to approach the change. Google on Wednesday said in a post that it will no longer use any information that falls under Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency framework for its iOS apps, and doesn’t plan to show the prompt on those apps.
Nominations are open for the 2021 CNBC Disruptor 50, a list of private start-ups using breakthrough technology to become the next generation of great public companies. Submit by Friday, Feb. 12, at 3 pm EST.
Cyberpunk 2077 bans unauthorized Keanu Reeves sex – The Verge
Cyberpunk 2077 creator CD Projekt Red would kindly like modders to stop making Keanu Reeves into a sex object. Following a fan mod that allowed players to have sex with Reeves’ character, Johnny Silverhand, the developer told PC Gamer that user-generated content cannot be “harmful towards others” — especially when it comes to mods. “In the case of model swaps, especially those that involve explicit situations, it can be perceived as such by the people who lent us their appearance for the purpose of creating characters in Cyberpunk 2077,” the developer said.
It’s worth noting that Reeves’ character does have an in-game sex scene, though it plays out from his perspective. As Johnny, the player has sex with a blonde woman who inexplicably dumps good liquor onto her white top to a backdrop of guitar riffs, while Johnny bounces her around.
Eurogamer first reported on the Nexus Mods files that swapped a sex worker “joytoy” character model for Reeves’ Johnny. In the mod, Johnny — who remains clothed — is now the sexualized character seen through the players’ eyes. It also uses the joytoy’s voice acting throughout the brief scene.
It’s typical for players to personalize their experience through mods, and the Cyberpunk community has been doing so since the game’s release. CD Projekt Red just released official modding tools. However, the mod — which has since been hidden by the creator on Nexus Mods — crosses that boundary.
“For the characters we’ve invented for the game, we broadly permit you to tweak the game at will and just have fun,” CD Projekt Red told PC Gamer. “When it comes to models of real people whom we’ve asked to participate in the game, we kindly ask you to refrain from using them in any situation that might be found offensive if you don’t have their explicit permission.”
Apple earns $100 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time ever – MobileSyrup
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