If you’ve paid attention to Apple’s automobile ambitions over the past few years, you’re probably just as confused as every tech journalist that’s been covering them. It seems that once every few months, the company is changing its mind and refocusing its efforts to different parts of the car industry, whether that be the software cars come with or physically making an Apple-branded vehicle for mass market sales.
Lately, it’s seemed that Apple has shifted its efforts in the latter direction, placing Kevin Lynch (head of the Apple Watch team) in charge of the project with a clear intention of building a car. Now, a report out of Bloomberg seems to indicate that the car could be ready for orders in 2025, with a custom chip in tow built by Apple.
For context, this car will likely be totally different than what you’re used to. Apple has been working on self-driving technology for years and has been testing it on public streets in states like Texas and California. According to Bloomberg’s Mark German, that technology will be front and center, being the sole method of transportation once you enter the vehicle. Rumor has it the vehicle won’t come with any manual controls like a steering wheel and pedals.
Project Titan, as it’s called, will feature a large touchscreen front and center with an iPadOS-like operating system. This will be the primary way users will input destinations and control other aspects of the car like music playback and environment adjustments. The car will reportedly also come with limousine-style seating, but other details regarding how the vehicle will look remain unclear.
If the company’s now rumored 2025 launch date for the car is to be believed, we’ll more than likely get those details in the next few years.
By the way, the reason the car’s now targeted to come out in 2025 is interesting. Bloomberg says Apple recently made a breakthrough with its custom chip for the vehicle, completing “much of the work” behind it which gives it a tremendous head start. Many employees working on Project Titan had reportedly expected the car to take five to seven years from the point of the chip’s completion, and they’re all very surprised at Apple’s new push to get a car to market by 2025.
This is ambitious, to say the least, and it seems to signal a nagging need within the company to do something big to break into the car market. The company’s CarPlay infotainment system and CarKey integration with third-party vehicles doesn’t seem to be enough for Apple who likes to take over every industry it enters, and building its own car could be the way to gain the marketshare and reputation it desires.
How it sells the car will obviously define whether it’s successful at that. Rumor has it Apple has been exploring whether to exclusively sell the car to companies like Uber and Lyft and deploy fleets of them for public transportation. However, at least for the time being, the company is focused on selling it to individuals and compete with others like Tesla in the premium electric car market.
That seems like a risky bet, and it’ll be even riskier if it sells its car for a premium over a Tesla or other electric car, and it’s almost certain that’ll be the case. Apple will also need to focus how it implements charging, with reports indicating the company will utilize existing EV charging networks in the US.
If it manages to get the right formula down, Project Titan could prove to be a real competitor to Tesla, if only because it comes from Apple. It’s clear people will want to buy the car simply for the brand, but many might feel weird riding in a car that doesn’t have any driver-centric controls tot are over if the self-driving software fails. This car will need to win far more bets than most other companies are willing to take, so it’ll be interesting to see whether Apple can pull it off.
We’ve got at least four years before we know anything for sure, so sit tight. It might be a bumpy ride.
The news I’m watching
The death of AMP? Or, the slow progressional deprecation of it?
I can’t be the only one who hasn’t heard anything new or exciting about AMP in a while. After Google’s huge push for publishers to help get it off the ground a few years ago, it’s seemed that Accelerated Mobile Pages have remained relatively stagnant. Meanwhile, companies have focused far less on implementing them while some have even stopped doing so, instead opening links as full web pages rather their boiled-down Google-approved counterparts.
Twitter’s now following in these same footsteps. As spotted by Christian Oliveira, the social media platform has confirmed in a developer documentthat it’ll completely phase out AMP implementation by the end of the year. There doesn’t seem to be an explanation behind the change, but it’s likely driven by the controversy and general distaste surrounding the feature that has yet to have a good press day.
With Twitter backing out of AMP and Google no longer requiring publishers to provide AMP versions of their content to be featured in Top Stories, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before AMP is taken behind the barn. That being said, we’re probably looking at at least a few more years of Accelerated Mobile Pages before everyone drops it, so it’ll be a gradual deprecation at best.
Hope you don’t miss them when they’re gone.
MediaTek is coming for Qualcomm’s throat, so long as it manages to get chips in enough devices. The company’s new Dimensity 9000 chipset is supposed to be an alternative to the Snapdragon 888, built on a 4nm process and similar performance. Not a lot of companies actually use MediaTek processors in flagship devices, however, so it’ll be interesting to see if it ever picks up steam. Kishan Vyas at XDA-Developers has more details.
Google’s Pixel 6a has leaked in new renders, and surprise-surprise, it looks just like the Pixel 6. Everything from the camera bar to the minimal bezels to the lack of a headphone jack are all here, and the device is even rumored to come with a 6.2-inch screen which is just 0.2-inches smaller than the Pixel 6. OnLeaks doesn’t detail what the phone might feature in terms of specs, but they’ll likely be noticeably worse than the flagship Pixels since Google will likely sell the phone for around $500. 9to5Google’s Ben Schoon wrote up a nice piece with more information for those curious.
There are two stories about Spotify I’d like to mention:
The company has finally added real-time lyrics to its mobile apps, letting you follow along to the words of a song karaoke-style. It’s about time the feature showed up, too, since Apple Music’s had it for quite some time. Jon Porter at The Verge has more.
Multi-platinum-selling artist Adele somehow convinced Spotify to remove the shuffle button from album listings. The feature is seen as a way for users to incorrectly listen to the flow of an album, so the “Easy on Me” singer got the company to take it down. Notably, you can still select any song you want to listen to on a particular album and hit the shuffle button in the player interface. Jennifer Meierhans at BBC News has more details.
Apple dropped iOS 15.1.1 that adds a patch for those experiencing dropped calls on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12. It also has a few other bug fixes inside, but Apple’s saving any larger updates for iOS 15.2 which is currently in beta. Chance Miller at 9to5Mac has some extra details.
If you use Threads, I have some bad news. Instagram has confirmed its standalone messaging app will be shut down by the end of the year as its parent company, now called Meta, continues to tie all of its messaging products into a single platform. TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez has a lot more information on Meta’s transition and plans for shutting down Threads.
Hulu says it’s raising the price of its Live TV offering. The ad-supported tier will go from $65/month to $70/month, while the ad-free version will go from $71/month to $76/month. In exchange, subscribers will get the Disney Bundle which includes Disney+ and ESPN+. Dave LeClair at How-To Geek(shameless plug, I know) has more.
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