The Truth About Cars » apple http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 30 Aug 2015 16:08:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » apple http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: Express-ions via More Data Points? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/piston-slap-12/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/piston-slap-12/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 12:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1150873 TTAC commentator TrenchFoot writes: Hey, I’ve got a problem in that I like data. As an engineer and car enthusiast, I want to know more data points than the manufacturer thought I would/should. So I want to add some tech to my ride, and I want it all. The problem is, no one seems to sell […]

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TTAC commentator TrenchFoot writes:

Hey, I’ve got a problem in that I like data. As an engineer and car enthusiast, I want to know more data points than the manufacturer thought I would/should. So I want to add some tech to my ride, and I want it all. The problem is, no one seems to sell the all-in-one solution I’m looking for.

I have a 2007 Chevy Express AWD 1500 (backoff with your comments, I love that van!), but tech in that rig is limited to a power locks. Since I use it to tow a smallish travel trailer, I’m always wondering about the state of the tranny. So my wish list is:

  • Backup camera
  • Bluetooth
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring
  • Tachometer
  • Tranny temp/gear/Torque Convertor Lockup
  • Do I want a tuner, too?

Some of what I want is available with low-cost double DIN stereos (backup camera, Bluetooth) and some is available with a tuner like one offered by Bully Dog (camera, gauges). Even though the van has most of the running gear from a Silverado, Bully Dog is one of the few tuner companies that support the Express/Savana vans.

Adding TPMS is the tough one. I’ve had 3 flats this year and lost both a summer and snow tire that probably could have been saved had I known I was losing pressure. I don’t want to end up with a tuner, standalone TPMS, and new stereo as the cockpit will start to look cluttered and inviting to thieves.

Any thoughts on a Swiss Army device or how I can get it all with just a new stereo and one extra display?

Sajeev answers:

I, as a former engineering student, understand your need for data. Hopefully there’s a 12-step program to rid you of a future with analysis paralysis. But let me be the enabler to your addiction!

There are 2DIN stereos that not only have the backup camera and Bluetooth, but also interface with the OBD-II port for useful vehicle information. As this video — disgustingly cute music aside — shows, Android has a nice tachometer for you!

Apple users aren’t left in the cold, either.

Either way, spending a couple hundred more for one of these is worth the upgrade from whatever you see at Best Buy. These new stereos cover a large number of your requirements in one clean(-ish) interface.

The vehicle tuner? Yes, you both need and want it to upgrade air-fuel ratios, transmission algorithms, etc. from the conservative factory setting to something that will perform better and likely net you a modest increase in fuel economy, and assuming the factory settings for torque/throttle management, cushy transmission action, etc. are not up your alley. I mean, you are an Engineer…right? 

You’ll want the tuner to see those transmission parameters, as I suspect they’re unique PIDs your average Apple and Android interface cannot grab. Damn those unique PIDs!

So you now have a replacement stereo in your dash hole and a BullyDog display. Brace yourself for an aftermarket TPMS monitoring system. Nobody’s gonna interface with an aftermarket system — unless later model Express’ have factory TPMS and you are willing to re-wire the chassis (and install a new powertrain control module) to make it work. I reckon that ain’t happening, no matter how strong that data obsession lies within your soul.

It’s really not a concern, considering your canvas.

2004 Chevrolet Express. X04CT_EX015MX

(photo courtesy: www.autoevolution.com)

Take it from the dude that left engineering school to pursue a career in car design (i.e. styling) now doing that Vellum Venom thing: You got ample choices to install both the TPMS and BullyDog modules. Cut a hole, mount them in: use glue, sandpaper and charcoal paint if needed for a super trick installation.

The Express was designed to be upfitter friendly. This is perfect for your needs and maybe 20 more modules!

Go make it happen!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Apple Hiring All The Robot Car Experts Now http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/apple-hiring-all-the-robot-car-experts-now/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/apple-hiring-all-the-robot-car-experts-now/#comments Sat, 22 Aug 2015 15:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1150825 Expert marketing company, and sometimes computer-maker, Apple has poached an automated car engineer from Tesla to join its growing roster of robot car builders, Reuters is reporting. According to Jamie Carlson’s LinkedIn profile, the former Tesla engineer has joined Apple in “Special Projects.” Carlson is the seventh high-profile hire for the Cupertino-based company who has […]

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Apple Logo Circa 2005

Expert marketing company, and sometimes computer-maker, Apple has poached an automated car engineer from Tesla to join its growing roster of robot car builders, Reuters is reporting.

According to Jamie Carlson’s LinkedIn profile, the former Tesla engineer has joined Apple in “Special Projects.” Carlson is the seventh high-profile hire for the Cupertino-based company who has specific automotive experience. Carlson joins a former Volkswagen engineer, a Chrysler VP and the former deputy director of autonomous systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, among others, at Apple.

Maybe they’re all working in the cafeteria?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has address the fact that a few of his employees have left Tesla to work at Apple. In May, Musk said he welcomed whatever “special project” Apple would be working on and said that he had poached employees from Apple at a rate of about 5-to-1.

“I actually hope Apple gets into the car business, that would be great,” Musk said.

Reportedly, Apple has dubbed their secret car program “Titan,” although many insiders believe that is the name for the company’s mapping program. Whatever it’s called, they’re hiring a lot of people who know a lot about cars to do — something.

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Analyst: Tesla Could Surge with Autonomous Ride Sharing Biz http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/analyst-tesla-surge-autonomous-ride-sharing-biz/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/analyst-tesla-surge-autonomous-ride-sharing-biz/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 17:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1144945 Tesla’s ride-sharing business could be worth hundreds of millions to the company in the future, an analyst for Morgan Stanley said Monday. Adam Jonas increased his price target for Tesla from $280 to $465 — but said the stock could go even higher to $611 — based on his forecast that Tesla could introduce an autonomous ride-sharing […]

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2012 Tesla Model S

Tesla’s ride-sharing business could be worth hundreds of millions to the company in the future, an analyst for Morgan Stanley said Monday.

Adam Jonas increased his price target for Tesla from $280 to $465 — but said the stock could go even higher to $611 — based on his forecast that Tesla could introduce an autonomous ride-sharing service by as early as 2018, Bloomberg reported.

It’s at least the third time that Jonas has publicly pumped Tesla’s stock.

Jonas says that Tesla’s future could be in part-time car ownership or autonomous sharing, which could position the carmaker with the likes of Apple or Google who may be building cars for those purposes.

Jonas dubbed the prospective venture “Tesla Mobility” although the automaker hasn’t publicly shared plans for that kind of service. Jonas said the automaker could make public plans for a ride-sharing program in 12 to 18 months, with a launch shortly after the mid-size Model 3 in 2017. He predicted that Tesla could launch a fully autonomous, ride sharing program in roughly 10 years.

Before people could split payments for robot cars, Jonas says that there would be two phases: a semi-autonomous phase and then a nearly completely autonomous phase before launching a fully driver-less car in 2025.

Jonas asked Tesla CEO Elon Musk about the program earlier this month during an earnings call and Musk was predictably tight-lipped:

Jonas: First question: Steve Jurvetson was recently quoted saying that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told him that if by 2020 Tesla’s cars are autonomous, that he’d want to buy all of them. Is this a real, I mean, forget the 2020 for a moment, but is this a real business opportunity for Tesla? Supplying cars to ridesharing firms, or does Tesla just cut out the middleman and sell on-demand, electric mobility services directly from the company on its own platform?

Musk: That’s an insightful question.

Jonas: You don’t have to answer it.

Musk: I don’t think I should answer it.

Jonas: Sometimes you can tell more from the non-answer than from the answer.

Shares of Tesla were up 1.5 percent in early trading Tuesday to $259.05.

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Honda Lifts Cover Off Updated Accord, Now With Apple CarPlay http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-lifts-cover-off-updated-accord-now-apple-carplay/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-lifts-cover-off-updated-accord-now-apple-carplay/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 21:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125041 Honda unveiled its refreshed mid-sized sedan on Thursday, complete with facelift and available 19-inch wheels on the Acura Accord. The new car also sports updated technology, including Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto systems and a 7-inch touchscreen on EX and higher trims. The Accord will continue to use its 2.4-liter four and 3.6-liter V-6 engines. In addition […]

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2016 Honda Accord

Honda unveiled its refreshed mid-sized sedan on Thursday, complete with facelift and available 19-inch wheels on the Acura Accord.

The new car also sports updated technology, including Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto systems and a 7-inch touchscreen on EX and higher trims.

The Accord will continue to use its 2.4-liter four and 3.6-liter V-6 engines.

In addition to the new nose and updated technology, Honda says its signature sedan will offer a suite of safety features including frontal collision warning and collision mitigation braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning and a hint of correction.

According to our own Tim Cain, sales of the Accord have remained relatively steady since the ninth-generation Accord went on sale in 2013. Honda quietly killed the plug-in hybrid Accord this year, which is statistically just as rare as a Porsche 918 Spyder.

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Apple Adds Former Chrysler VP for Car Project – or Not http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/apple-adds-former-chrysler-vp-car-project-not/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/apple-adds-former-chrysler-vp-car-project-not/#comments Tue, 21 Jul 2015 17:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1121217 Doug Betts, former senior vice president at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in charge of quality, quietly began work at Apple this month, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. Betts, who led the effort to turnaround Chrysler’s quality rankings beginning in 2009, left the car company last year one day after Consumer Reports ranked the car company […]

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Doug Betts

Doug Betts, former senior vice president at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in charge of quality, quietly began work at Apple this month, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

Betts, who led the effort to turnaround Chrysler’s quality rankings beginning in 2009, left the car company last year one day after Consumer Reports ranked the car company near the bottom of its quality survey.

Betts’ LinkedIn page confirms the appointment at Apple, but the famously secret computer company won’t say whether he’s working on an automotive-related project — or perhaps, janitorial duty.

Betts would be one of the first known hires for the Cupertino, California-based software company with specific knowledge of automotive manufacturing.

Apple has hired hundreds of people to secretly work on an automotive-related initiative called “Project Titan,” which Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged in a May sales call. It’s unclear if the software and computer maker is building an autonomous car to join the ranks of Google and others, or if Apple is merely developing car-related systems for future use.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple has hired Swiss autonomous car engineer, Paul Frugal, and former Ford engineer Steve Zadesky to lead the project.

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2016 Chevrolet Volt On Sale In California, Google, Apple Systems Coming This Summer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2016-chevrolet-volt-on-sale-in-california-google-apple-systems-coming-this-summer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2016-chevrolet-volt-on-sale-in-california-google-apple-systems-coming-this-summer/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 20:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1077578 California consumers will be the first to buy the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, which will have Google’s and Apple’s infotainment systems beginning this summer. The second-gen PHEV is available for ordering in California starting Thursday, Inside EVs reports, with deliveries set for August. Oregon and the Northeast will join in late August with delivery in early […]

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2016 Chevrolet Volt

California consumers will be the first to buy the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, which will have Google’s and Apple’s infotainment systems beginning this summer.

The second-gen PHEV is available for ordering in California starting Thursday, Inside EVs reports, with deliveries set for August. Oregon and the Northeast will join in late August with delivery in early October, while the rest of the nation can put their orders in beginning October 1 for deliveries starting in November. Price of admission begins at $33,995 MSRP.

When those Volts are delivered, they will be among the first in Chevrolet’s lineup to have Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay systems, Autoblog notes. Joining the Volt will this summer will be the 2016 Cruze, Camaro, Spark and Malibu equipped with MyLink and seven-inch touchscreen. Overall, 14 2016 models will have the systems across all trims.

The decision to offer both systems came down to providing consumers choice, GM’s connected-vehicle experience chief Alicia Boler-Davis said, adding “no two customers are alike, and we cannot expect a single solution that works for every driver in every situation.”

The announcement follows Hyundai’s move to introduce Android Auto to the 2015 Sonata Tuesday, with CarPlay to follow later.

[Source: Chevrolet]

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Marchionne May Marry FCA To Apple, Google If No Automaker Will http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/marchionne-may-marry-fca-apple-google-no-automaker-will/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/marchionne-may-marry-fca-apple-google-no-automaker-will/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 16:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1056962 FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne’s search for a consolidation partner may take him to Silicon Valley if the automakers won’t give him the time of day. While making his pitch for consolidation during Wednesday’s Q1 2015 earnings call, Marchionne said dialogue about a possible partnership with Apple or Google if he couldn’t pair FCA off with […]

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Apple Logo Circa 2005

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne’s search for a consolidation partner may take him to Silicon Valley if the automakers won’t give him the time of day.

While making his pitch for consolidation during Wednesday’s Q1 2015 earnings call, Marchionne said dialogue about a possible partnership with Apple or Google if he couldn’t pair FCA off with another automaker should be encouraged, Bloomberg reports.

His reasoning?

I’ve always been intrigued by the notion of having technology disruptors show up in the marketplace and change the paradigm. If they show up and they are truly successful, with their cash piles and know-how, they could fundamentally hurt this industry.

At present, FCA already has an established relationship with Apple, with the tech giant’s Internet software and services boss Eddy Cue having a seat on Ferrari’s board, and CFO Luca Maestri having several years of experience in the automotive industry, including helming General Motors’ relationship with Fiat between 2000 and 2005.

On the other end, Apple is hard at work on an EV, with production set for 2020 unless the execs aren’t happy with progress. The company’s shareholders also would like Apple to pair-off with Tesla — the most recent urging occurring last month — though CEO Tim Cook only stated that the Californian automaker would use his company’s CarPlay connected-vehicle system.

As far as FCA and Apple heading down to the chapel is concerned, no one at the latter offered any comment to Marchionne’s proposal. With the company having just purchased Beats for $3 billion last year and divesting itself of in-house production of its physical offerings, a deal between it and any automaker, let alone FCA, isn’t likely at this time.

[Photo credit: Christopher Aloi/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Question Of The Day: Hit The Deck http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/question-day-hit-deck/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/question-day-hit-deck/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 14:48:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027849 Today’s QOTD comes from a reader, who wants some car audio advice for his Smart ForTwo. Reader Ed writes,   I have a 2008 Smart ForTwo (don’t mock me, I live in San Francisco and I use it as a commuter car). When I bought it used, it had a JVC head unit with navigation, […]

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CarPlay screen-1200-80

Today’s QOTD comes from a reader, who wants some car audio advice for his Smart ForTwo.

Reader Ed writes,

 

I have a 2008 Smart ForTwo (don’t mock me, I live in San Francisco and I use it as a commuter car). When I bought it used, it had a JVC head unit with navigation, Bluetooth etc. The only problem is that it won’t work with my iPhone 6+. I am in my car quite a lot, and I *need* to be able to take phone calls while I’m driving, since my clients are used to being able to reach me at all times. I also wouldn’t mind being able to play my music and charge my phone in the car.

I’ve seen the newest generation of Apple CarPlay head units, and I am really intrigued by them. Do any of the B&B have advice on which one is the best? The Pioneer unit comes highly recommended. Alternately, I am open to other options, provided they have Bluetooth, navigation and the ability to sync my phone. I am also looking for a good local shop to install it. I am willing to pay for the best deck and a good install, so budget is not much of a concern – I am not a big gearhead and I am also a very anxious person, so paying extra for a well-functioning, properly installed deck is paramount.

Anyone have any suggestions for Ed? I am not much of a car audio guy, so unfortunately, I can’t offer too much help. Hopefully someone in the readership can step in. By the way, if you have a QOTD you’d like answered, email us, editors at ttac dot com.

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Study: Samsung Rivals Apple Among Auto-Related Patent Holdings http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/study-samsung-rivals-apple-among-auto-related-patent-holdings/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/study-samsung-rivals-apple-among-auto-related-patent-holdings/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 10:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020385 Just like the ongoing fight between the two titans in the smartphone space, Samsung is Apple’s main rival in the auto industry. According to Autoblog, a study by Thomson Reuters looked over 4,761 auto-related patents filed among Google, Samsung, Tesla and Uber between 1990 and 2014 to compare where Apple stands among them in the […]

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2014 Samsung-Exide BMW M3 DTM at Brands Hatch

Just like the ongoing fight between the two titans in the smartphone space, Samsung is Apple’s main rival in the auto industry.

According to Autoblog, a study by Thomson Reuters looked over 4,761 auto-related patents filed among Google, Samsung, Tesla and Uber between 1990 and 2014 to compare where Apple stands among them in the patent wars. While all have rapidly increased those filings as of late, Samsung is firing full batteries of patents; 600 patents alone were filed in 2014.

Between Samsung and Apple, the differences were stark: the former filed 3,094 over the quarter-century, with more recent patents focused on battery and fuel-cell technology, while Apple held just 275, most of which relate to connected-vehicle technology. That said, the company spent the 1990s rebuilding itself from the clone wars through candy-colored computers, followed by the iPhone-led silver future of the mid-2000s through the present; the auto industry was likely not a primary focus for the late Steve Jobs or his successor Tim Cook.

Thomson Reuters suggests in its study that one way for Apple to better compete in the auto industry — whether it builds a car or not — is to buy Tesla, whose collection of battery patents would compliment the tech giant’s device integration and connected-vehicle patents. The group adds that such a merger would put the duo on par with Google in the patent wars.

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Continental AG Interested In Partnering With Apple In Car Project http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/continental-ag-interested-partnering-apple-car-project/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/continental-ag-interested-partnering-apple-car-project/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 12:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1016658 Whether or not Apple is actually building a car, German tire manufacturer Continental AG wants in. Reuters reports CEO Elmar Degenhart said his company would be interested in teaming up with the tech giant as a partner if the latter decides to enter the automotive industry as a car manufacturer. Degenhart added that he was […]

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IMSA Continental Tire Challenge Mosing Porsche Cayman

Whether or not Apple is actually building a car, German tire manufacturer Continental AG wants in.

Reuters reports CEO Elmar Degenhart said his company would be interested in teaming up with the tech giant as a partner if the latter decides to enter the automotive industry as a car manufacturer. Degenhart added that he was impressed with Apple’s “excellent reputation on information and communication systems,” as well as its financial strength.

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A123 Systems Suing Apple, Ex-Employee For Poaching Engineers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/a123-systems-suing-apple-ex-employee-poaching-engineers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/a123-systems-suing-apple-ex-employee-poaching-engineers/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 13:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004514 Apple may or may not be building a car to battle Tesla, but the tech giant is in trouble with A123 Systems for poaching the latter’s employees. Autoblog reports the battery manufacturing is suing Apple in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, seeking a restraining order preliminary injunction against former employee Mujeeb Ijaz, who it believes […]

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A123 Battery Systems HQ

Apple may or may not be building a car to battle Tesla, but the tech giant is in trouble with A123 Systems for poaching the latter’s employees.

Autoblog reports the battery manufacturing is suing Apple in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, seeking a restraining order preliminary injunction against former employee Mujeeb Ijaz, who it believes is hiring away key employees to the tech giant:

It appears that Apple, with the assistance of defendant Ijaz, is systematically hiring away A123’s high tech PhD and engineering employees, thereby effectively shutting down various projects/programs at A123.

The suit follows speculation that Apple is entering the automotive space with its own EV, with a roster of former Tesla employees likely working on the project.

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Apple Rumored At Work On Titan EV Project http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/apple-rumored-work-titan-ev-project/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/apple-rumored-work-titan-ev-project/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002074 Not about to let Google or Tesla tackle the automotive space without competition, Apple is rumored to be entering the game with its own EV project. Autoblog reports the project, dubbed Project Titan, is an EV resembling a minivan, and has several hundred Apple employees working to make the vehicle a reality. Vice president of […]

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SONY DSC

Not about to let Google or Tesla tackle the automotive space without competition, Apple is rumored to be entering the game with its own EV project.

Autoblog reports the project, dubbed Project Titan, is an EV resembling a minivan, and has several hundred Apple employees working to make the vehicle a reality. Vice president of product design and former Ford engineer Steve Zadesky is said to be leading the project, while director of Mac systems engineering and former Mercedes-Benz R&D chief Johann Jungwirth is contributing his knowledge. Austrian supplier Magna Steyr has also been tapped by Apple execs to help guide the project along.

News of the rumored EV comes amid other rumors regarding the company’s poaching missions to Tesla — who allegedly have done the same to Apple in return — as well its desire to enter the autonomous vehicle market to one-up Google down the road.

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Cadillac’s Director of Brand & Reputation Strategy: “We Don’t Want To Be An Automotive Brand” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/cadillacs-director-brand-reputation-strategy-dont-want-automotive-brand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/cadillacs-director-brand-reputation-strategy-dont-want-automotive-brand/#comments Sun, 30 Nov 2014 17:41:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=953897   In an interview held at Cadillac’s new business headquarters in New York City’s trendy SoHo district with Fortune, Melody Lee, ‘director of brand and reputation strategy’ for General Motors’ luxury brand, had some interesting things to say about the move to NYC, about the brand, and about herself. Other than to say that it’s […]

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Photo courtesy of General Motors

Photo courtesy of General Motors

In an interview held at Cadillac’s new business headquarters in New York City’s trendy SoHo district with Fortune, Melody Lee, ‘director of brand and reputation strategy’ for General Motors’ luxury brand, had some interesting things to say about the move to NYC, about the brand, and about herself. Other than to say that it’s just quite possible that outstanding product is a little bit more important to a company’s success than Ms. Lee seems to think, I’m not going to comment on her remarks because I think they speak for themselves and, frankly, I think they don’t bode well for the brand. You can read them and offer your own commentary after the jump. The engineers and designers at GM have given Cadillac the best products that it has had in decades, but automotive history has many examples of fine vehicles that were crippled in the marketplace by the very people trying to market them.

Thus spake Melody Lee:

“I’ll often say, ‘Well, do you want a millennial’s perspective?’ You have one right here.”

“Everyone in New York is always just a little bit ahead of everyone else and we need to be the brand that stands for that.”

“I don’t buy products, I buy brands. I don’t use Apple computers because they are the best computers, I use them because Apple is cool. We need to show drivers what the Cadillac lifestyle is all about.”

“We want to be a global luxury brand that happens to sell cars. We don’t want to be an automotive brand.”

Hat tip to Pete DeLorenzo for spotting the interview with Lee.

The floor is open for your discussion now.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

 

 

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Daimler, Volkswagen Urge Independence From Google Data Platform http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/daimler-volkswagen-urge-independence-google-data-platform/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/daimler-volkswagen-urge-independence-google-data-platform/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 14:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=939705 Google knows what you’re thinking. If you decide to search for brown diesel manual station wagons that bring out your inner American, Google will auto-complete that very phrase as one of its suggested searches as soon as you type out the word “bro.” Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG aren’t too thrilled with this electric eye’s […]

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Google-Android-KitKat

Google knows what you’re thinking. If you decide to search for brown diesel manual station wagons that bring out your inner American, Google will auto-complete that very phrase as one of its suggested searches as soon as you type out the word “bro.”

Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG aren’t too thrilled with this electric eye’s ability, urging its fellow automakers to develop automotive data platforms that would secure sensitive customer information from the Mountain View, Calif. tech giant.

According to Bloomberg, VW boss Martin Winterkorn says that while his company seeks a connection with Google’s data systems, it still wants to have dominion over its own vehicles, citing “potential conflict” rising from making consumer data available to Google. Daimler’s CEO Dieter Zetsche stated similar concerns with Google:

Google tries to accompany people throughout their day, to generate data and then use that data for economic gain. It’s at that point where a conflict with Google seems pre-programmed. That’s where we need to negotiate.

Zetsche also found the discussion of in-house data systems among automakers like his company and Volkswagen encouraging, proclaiming the move would maintain independence against the rising tide of “third parties,” such as Google’s Android Auto, Apple’s CarPlay and BlackBerry’s QNX OS, as it would “boost” Daimler’s position “when working with Google.”

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Android Auto vs. Apple CarPlay vs. Your Precious Bodily Fluids http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/android-auto-vs-apple-carplay-vs-your-precious-bodily-fluids/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/android-auto-vs-apple-carplay-vs-your-precious-bodily-fluids/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 11:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=853505 At yesterday’s Google I/O keynote speech, Google laid out its vision for Android Auto (reported here yesterday), which is quite similar to Apple’s CarPlay. I’ve ranted here before about Apple’s CarPlay when it was first announced and after more details came out last March. Both have the idea that your phone can hijack the screen in […]

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tumblr_m9hum9gnmd1rsen2io1_500At yesterday’s Google I/O keynote speech, Google laid out its vision for Android Auto (reported here yesterday), which is quite similar to Apple’s CarPlay. I’ve ranted here before about Apple’s CarPlay when it was first announced and after more details came out last March. Both have the idea that your phone can hijack the screen in your car. What’s newsworthy from Google is that we have an enlarged list of vendors who are playing along. (Wired has the full list. Suffice to say that you’ll have plenty of choices if you want a car that goes both ways, if you know what I mean. Most interesting factoid: Tesla isn’t playing with either Apple or Google. Hear that? It’s the sounds of thousands of alpha-nerd Tesla owners crying out in terror.)

Today, I want to address why you should stop worrying and learn to love having your phone in charge of your car’s telematics display.

Using most computer crap in cars will kill you. I’ve had enough of people arguing about BMW i-Drive vs. Audi MMI vs. giant Tesla touchscreens vs. your smartphone. You all don’t get it. They’re all part of a Communist plot to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids. Or at least distract us and get us into horrific driving accidents. When you’re driving, you should have your hands on the wheel, or your passenger’s thigh. No, no, definitely on the wheel.

But some computer crap in cars is exceptionally valuable. When you’re driving somewhere new, nav systems are great. Even if you’re driving somewhere you go all the time, modern nav systems like Waze give you real-time user-reported intel on the traffic and even where the speed traps are. But how do Waze drivers report speed traps? They press tiny buttons on the phone and promptly create new accidents for other Waze drivers to report.

So how can you use a computer in your car safely? What we’ve seen so far from the automakers is largely a massive failure on this front. BMW’s iDrive, no matter how much they simplify it, is still an abomination upon humanity. Tesla’s giant and beautiful touchscreen, much like the Chevy Volt and other new cars that don’t have real buttons any more, require you to look for the button you’re trying to press. Prior attempts at voice recognition are laughably inaccurate, particularly once the car is moving at freeway speed and you’ve got wind noise and tire noise, never mind a blaring stereo. What’s left? The thing that Google seems to get, and you know Apple will copy it a year later and claim they invented first, is that they have all this knowledge about you. Your calendar has your destination address right next to your appointment. And they know where you live and where you drive every day on your commute. Why is this a good thing? Because Google will (hopefully) be very good at guessing what you’re up to and will just do it with little or no user intervention at all. When you do need to use your voice to tell your nav system what to do, or what music you want to play, you’ll get the benefit of Google’s backend data center megabrain which can do a way better job of figuring out what you’re talking about than the puny computer in your car or phone. Why? Because it’s got context. If you’re trying to navigate to a some business, it’s going to compare your vocal garble to the names of local destinations, especially if you did a Google search on your computer beforehand or your buddy emailed you the address. If you’re trying to play some hipster indie band, it’s going to look at the names in your library and in its “people who like X tend to like Y” megabrain graph. Smaller search space = higher recognition accuracy.

But I don’t trust the Google megabrain with my precious privacy fluids. We are rapidly approaching a moment of truth, both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, truth is not always a pleasant thing, but the fact is that you’re already telling Google, Apple, the NSA, OkCupid, and the fiendish fluoridators far too much about yourself. It’s a huge pain to keep apps from profiling you, but you can do it if you insist. (I use the totally not user-friendly XPrivacy. My proposed solution for the real world: government regulation. But I digress.) For the rest of us, there’s a tradeoff. You give up some privacy. In return you get something. Maybe that something is a free version of some game. You could pay $1 and get the advertising-free version. But do you pay that dollar? No? That’s how little you truly value your own privacy.

When you use Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, or Microsoft Win9 Cartopia Enterprise Edition, you’re indeed giving up some privacy, but look at what you’re getting back. You’re getting good stuff. For a great price.

How will we ultimately trade our privacy for all these great features? Will Google crack down on apps’ ability to learn totally unnecessarily personal things about you? (There is a new feature in Android “L” that’s supposed to help with this.) Will government regulators ultimately crack down on Google? We’ll see. Now let’s get this thing on the hump — we got some flyin’ to do.

Dr._Strangelove_-_Riding_the_Bomb

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Google Debuts Android Auto During I/O Keynote http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/google-debuts-android-auto-during-io-keynote/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/google-debuts-android-auto-during-io-keynote/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 10:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=852889 Google’s entry into the connected-car game stepped up to the next level this week when Android Auto was unveiled before the developers in attendance at the 2014 Google I/O Keynote Address. Automotive News reports Android Auto — formerly known as Google Auto Link — will not be an embedded system, but “projected” from Android-powered smartphones […]

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Android Auto + Honda Civic

Google’s entry into the connected-car game stepped up to the next level this week when Android Auto was unveiled before the developers in attendance at the 2014 Google I/O Keynote Address.

Automotive News reports Android Auto — formerly known as Google Auto Link — will not be an embedded system, but “projected” from Android-powered smartphones through USB into the head unit. Its main feature is its voice-enabled operation, allowing the driver to receive and respond to texts, get directions to the nearest restaurant or fuel station, and dictate to-do lists for later reference, all without having to take their eyes off the road.

Android Auto was also designed for app developers in mind, simplifying the process of creating, distributing and updating their work without worrying if the embedded system will play nice with them by centralizing everything around the smartphone or tablet.

Though players such as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Volkswagen Group and Honda are among those on-board with Android Auto, Google did not say which of the members of the Open Automotive Alliance would be the first to bring the technology to the showroom. However, Hyundai product planning manager John Shon says his employer will be the first out of the gate when newer models of the 2015 Sonata arrive with both Android Auto and competitor Apple’s own CarPlay by the end of 2014; current 2015 models will receive both systems upon release.

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Nokia Enters Connected Vehicle Fight With $100M Investment Fund http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/nokia-enters-connected-vehicle-fight-with-100m-investment-fund/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/nokia-enters-connected-vehicle-fight-with-100m-investment-fund/#comments Mon, 12 May 2014 12:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=819377 Having moved its smartphone business to Microsoft, Nokia’s next project is a $100 million investment fund for companies specializing in smart cars. BBC News reports the fund will be administered by Nokia Growth Partners, while Nokia itself aims to bring its navigation offerings — one of three key points the Finnish company will pursue alongside […]

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nokia evolution brief

Having moved its smartphone business to Microsoft, Nokia’s next project is a $100 million investment fund for companies specializing in smart cars.

BBC News reports the fund will be administered by Nokia Growth Partners, while Nokia itself aims to bring its navigation offerings — one of three key points the Finnish company will pursue alongside networks and new technologies — into the connected car market.

Nokia is only the latest to enter into the fray, with Google, BlackBerry, Apple and Intel — who has its own $100 million fund for the rapid development of Internet-connected vehicles — seeking to make their mark on the potentially disruptive market. While Google’s Android will soon find its way into offerings by Hyundai and Audi, Apple’s iOS-based CarPlay has found partners in Ferrari and BMW.

As for what’s at stake for all who enter, the connected car market promises to not only bring the smartphone experience into the vehicle, but to connect vehicles with each other, altering driving behaviors while increasing safety as NGP partner Paul Asel explains:

For the last few years there has been a surge in innovation that has brought technological advances leading to safer, cleaner, increasingly connected, intelligent and more affordable vehicles. Vehicles are becoming a new platform for technology adoption very similar to phones or tablet.

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BlackBerry Fights Google, Apple To Maintain Connected-Car Lead http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/blackberry-fights-google-apple-to-maintain-connected-car-lead/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/blackberry-fights-google-apple-to-maintain-connected-car-lead/#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2014 12:44:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=782913 Though BlackBerry owns a sliver of the smartphone market they once dominated, its QNX-based connected-car systems may be the best weapon they have in maintaining its lead over the companies that drove the Canadian company nearly out of the smartphone business. Bloomberg reports QNX — the choice for connected-car systems by Ford, Porsche and BMW […]

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Blackberry-QNX-Car-Entertainment-and-Telematics

Though BlackBerry owns a sliver of the smartphone market they once dominated, its QNX-based connected-car systems may be the best weapon they have in maintaining its lead over the companies that drove the Canadian company nearly out of the smartphone business.

Bloomberg reports QNX — the choice for connected-car systems by Ford, Porsche and BMW among others — is now facing competition from both Apple and Google for market and mind share of an industry expected to be worth $53 billion in 2018.

According to IHS Automotive analyst Mark Boyadjis, the bigger challenge will come from Google, whose Android operating system helped finish the job Apple’s iPhone began in 2007 in pushing out BlackBerry from the global smartphone market. Google — who also collaborates with the QNX division on occasion — has already put its mark on the Kia Soul and Mercedes-AMG SLS, and established the Open Automotive Alliance with Audi, General Motors, Honda and Hyundai.

Meanwhile, BlackBerry and Apple are on more equal footing with the latter’s CarPlay platform, bringing the connect-car/iPhone experience to Ferrari at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show this month.

As for QNX itself, the BlackBerry-owned division continues to expand further into the connected-car market, with Ford dropping Microsoft for the micro-kernel OS in its maligned Sync/MyFord Touch system last month. The Blue Oval’s action would place the automaker in good company, as QNX also powers systems used by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Hyundai, and Jaguar.

The biggest advantage QNX has over Google and Apple is its proven track record in running safety systems, where a software issue could mean the difference between life and death, which Boyadjis believes will carry BlackBerry and QNX into the future against the two technology titans from California.

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Apple to Show iOS in the Car at Geneva … in a Ferrari http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/apple-to-show-ios-in-the-car-at-geneva-in-a-ferrari/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/apple-to-show-ios-in-the-car-at-geneva-in-a-ferrari/#comments Sun, 02 Mar 2014 16:49:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=759081 According to Brand Finance and other business experts, Ferrari- not Apple- is the world’s strongest brand. Apple, however, are no dummies- and they’ve decided to hitch their “iOS in the Car” wagon to Ferrari’s ever-rising star when both companies step out onto the stage at the 84th Geneva International Motor Show and show off Apple’s […]

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Ferrari Apple iOS

According to Brand Finance and other business experts, Ferrari- not Apple- is the world’s strongest brand. Apple, however, are no dummies- and they’ve decided to hitch their “iOS in the Car” wagon to Ferrari’s ever-rising star when both companies step out onto the stage at the 84th Geneva International Motor Show and show off Apple’s in-car operating system … in the new, production-ready LaFerrari hybrid super car and the new for 2014 Ferrari California T.

Apple and Ferrari first announced their collaboration almost a year ago, after last year’s Geneva show. It makes perfect sense, then, that the first fruits of their labor should appear now, on the largest automotive stage in the world … and not too long after Ford hilariously announced that it would be integrating- *snerk!* a version of Research in Motion’s BlackBerry OS into its own cars.

Further evidence for the upcoming announcement comes in the person of Eddy Cue. Eddy’s the vice president of Internet Software and Services at Apple, likely one of the people most involved with iOS in the Car, and just so happens to have been named to the Ferrari’s board of directors last November, making the Ferrari/Apple connection that much more obvious.

SO, while we wait for the official announcement to happen at Geneva, let’s take a look at the highly visible Ferraris that are expected to carry the new Apple iOS in the Car system, below. Just, you know, don’t expect Siri to be any good.

 

Apple iOS in the Car / Ferrari California T

Apple iOS in a Car + Ferrari California Apple iOS in a Car + Ferrari California Apple iOS in a Car + Ferrari California Apple iOS in a Car + Ferrari California

 

Apple iOS in the Car / Ferrari LaFerrari

Apple iOS in a Car + Ferrari LaFerrari Apple iOS in a Car + Ferrari LaFerrari Apple iOS in a Car + Ferrari LaFerrari Apple iOS in a Car + Ferrari LaFerrari

Originally published on Gas 2.

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Product Review: LX Dual USB Car Charger with Leather Grip http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/product-review-lx-dual-usb-car-charger-with-leather-grip/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/product-review-lx-dual-usb-car-charger-with-leather-grip/#comments Mon, 03 Feb 2014 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=730842 The vehicles we aspire to own have one thing in common: timeless design over mere transportation: Ferraris over Fiats. CUVs instead of sedans, or personal luxury vehicles in lieu of a hatchback. So why not treat yourself to a leather-wrapped charging apparatus? Oh yes, it charges your smartphone/tablet with precision…but where’s the passion in that? […]

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The vehicles we aspire to own have one thing in common: timeless design over mere transportation: Ferraris over Fiats. CUVs instead of sedans, or personal luxury vehicles in lieu of a hatchback. So why not treat yourself to a leather-wrapped charging apparatus? IMG_2492 Oh yes, it charges your smartphone/tablet with precision…but where’s the passion in that? Let’s charge things up with a review enhancement to id America’s “LX Dual USB Car Charger with Leather Grip” with a two-pronged (get it? nevermind…) attack:

  1. Rename this stunning work of modern art with a more fitting title: ZOMG LEATHER USB CHARGER!!!1!  or “ZLUC” for short.
  2. Go down memory lane: showing how much better automobiles from several decades work with a ZLUC in their cigar holes.

And, for this Lincoln-Mercury fanboi, what better starting point than the famous 1961 Lincoln Continental? IMG_2484 As you can clearly see, ZLUC is a fantastic fit in one of the finest automobiles to grace American roads in the 1960s.  The leather-wrapped goodness shows itself off against the strong aluminum elements of the Conti’s dashboard.  Also note how ZLUC is intended for Apple products ONLY… Android users?  No leather wrapped chargers for you. In fact, do yourself a favor and close this browser (probably not Safari, either) and peep those all-plastic chargers on eBay. Philistine! I’m just kidding!  ZLUC’s packaging lists the following items as worthy of getting their electrons massaged by the tender luxury of leather wrapping, in this order:

  1. iPad
  2. iPad mini
  3. iPhone
  4. Tablets & Smartphones

So you Android and Windows people can indeed continue reading! IMG_2498 The Continental Mark III was well-known for the time a C/D scribe made it from coast to coast with no money, only promises to gas station owners underwritten by the sheer class of this stunning machine.  So how dare you consider any non-ZLUC phone charger to duplicate this trip today? IMG_2485 Note how ZLUC not only adds to the Mark III’s faux stitching with its REAL leather wrapping, the contrasting color actually matches the wood grain trim!  And when not needed, it hides easily in the ashtray binnacle so mere mortals who live without leather infused battery charging shall not be violently jealous of your elevated status. Like you Android users! IMG_2499 Obviously the pinnacle of personal luxury design was the late 1970s, before there was a cure for disco fever with downsized machines “from here to eternity.”  And obviously the Continental Mark V was the baddest of them all: three inches longer than a Ford Excursion when Cadillac was downsizing their rides for some stupid energy crisis. How will ZLUC fare against the toughest American Hustler? Could it possibly fail? IMG_2486 ZOMG DAT LEATHER AND WOOD!  You are an absolute fool to not rest your tired booty after a long night of coke snorting disco dancing in the super-classy interior of the Mark V, and let your iPhone recharge via leather wrapped battery rejuvenation! IMG_2489 Quite honestly, you need multiple ZLUC’s for every cigar hole in a Mark V!  Why you need TWO of these beauties for the rear of both door panels. IMG_2491 Did I forget the 1980s?  Hardly.  Yes the 1990s had mobile phones, but never such uncharted luxury as a USB charger wrapped in the same quality leather as the finest German machine of the era. Yes, the ZLUC smells as good as it looks! But I digress.. The futuristic center stack of the 1993-1995 Lincoln Mark VIII looks rather fantastic in its so good it’s almost not faux wood trimming, complete with ZLUC’s matching brown leather wrapping.  Also note the high-tech technology of the blue LED light on ZLUC’s face, proving it’s ready to take your mobile device to the next level… …with luxury in mind! 971620_10151508996138269_1350646760_n Why that leather wrapped charger is so fantastic I will never use my factory installed car phone again…ever!

IMG_2467

But how timeless is this classic for one’s cigar hole?  Let’s put it to the ultimate test. IMG_2490 ZOMG TESTAROSSA LEATHER USB CHARGER!!!1!  As the photo shows, Crockett and Tubbs only need a ZLUC in Cocaine White Leather to completely dominate the Drug Trade! Is there a better way to look moody and intense while charging your iPhone? I think not! Can you imagine the great selfies Crockett could post on Instagram if his iPhone was connected to ZLUC? Hashtag that’s what’s In The Air Tonight!

So can you, dear reader, put a price on such perfection?  You fool, the ZLUC is priceless!  Or $24.99 plus shipping, available directly at id America’s suitably upscale website. Well, what are you waiting for?  A leather wrapped invitation to buy one of these babies for yourself?

 

(id America provided their LX Dual USB Car Charger with Leather Grip in brown leather for this review.)

IMG_2498 coverphoto IMG_2491 IMG_2486 IMG_2489 IMG_2499 IMG_2492 IDPA201BRN_front IDPA201BRN_angle web_feature_lxcarcharger IMG_2490 IMG_2485 IMG_2484 971620_10151508996138269_1350646760_n

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Scrambling the Politics of Mass Transit in San Francisco http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/scrambling-the-politics-of-mass-transit-in-san-francisco/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/scrambling-the-politics-of-mass-transit-in-san-francisco/#comments Mon, 23 Dec 2013 11:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=686034 Image from Twitter @craigsfrost Positively or negatively, mass transit is often viewed as a social leveler. Rich and poor alike ride the subway in New York, London and Berlin. Atlantans of all economic and social backgrounds make use of MARTA’s facilities, as they do in many other American cities where public transit is the most […]

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googlebus

Image from Twitter @craigsfrost

Positively or negatively, mass transit is often viewed as a social leveler. Rich and poor alike ride the subway in New York, London and Berlin. Atlantans of all economic and social backgrounds make use of MARTA’s facilities, as they do in many other American cities where public transit is the most efficient way of navigating the inner cities. Of course, these are public systems, funded by fares and taxpayer money.

 

They fulfill the transportation needs of a wide segment of the population, and they generally give the same level of service regardless of income or status. In areas that aren’t as densely urbanized as the aforementioned examples and where car ownership for city dwellers is a more practical proposition, mass transit usage tends to skew towards a less affluent demographic. As a political football, mass transit can thus be kicked in many directions depending on ideological necessity. However, the underlying assumption for either end of the political spectrum remains the same: mass transit is an equalizer. But what happens when this typical political equation is turned on its head? Could riding the bus be considered a show of affluence instead of equality or penury? Protestors in the San Francisco bay area seem to think so.

On December 20th, demonstrators blocked the paths of two private buses (operated by tech firms Google and Apple) in a protest action. In Oakland and in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco, protestors held up the buses when they stopped to collect employees. This was the second such action in two weeks. Previous protests were peaceful, but in Oakland things got ugly. The Google bus had a window broken and tires slashed; protestors dispersed after police were called, with no arrests or citations issued. Before they left, protestors harangued bus riders and handed out copies of this supremely classy flyer. Many of the largest tech firms with headquarters in the area run private bus lines that ferry workers from the city to the suburbs. This sort of anti-Levittown arrangement has led to simmering tensions between employees of the tech giants and other city residents.

So what’s driving these protests? In a word, gentrification. The expansion of tech firms on the city’s outskirts and general economic recovery since the Great Recession has driven up rents enormously within the city. The median rental rate for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is now almost $2800 a month, a 27% increase since 2011. Protestors blame new arrivals to the city for skyrocketing rents, a new wave of evictions, and overall social unrest. They claim that Google, Apple, and other tech companies are turning older neighborhoods into bedroom communities for their employees. This is done, they say, with little regard for the impact on long-term residents, many of whom live in rent-controlled apartments. The bus services are the most obvious manifestation of this trend, and have thus become a target for protestors.

Tech companies offer shuttle service between the city and their suburban campuses as an employment perk. These unregulated private buses often use public stops to pick up and drop off employees, without paying anything to city. This has generated complaints about congestion and obstruction of public buses. Some metro San Francisco buses have been forced to stop short or to let passengers off in the middle of the street, undoubtedly an irritating circumstance. The city is currently in negotiations with Google and other tech companies to institute a fee system for use of public stops, and to prevent congestion. But it’s clear that frustration with the situation has already transcended bureaucratic dialogue.

One can sympathize with the concerns of protestors about the upheaval in established neighborhoods and the misuse of public facilities. Forking over the better part of three grand a month for a one-bedroom apartment seems insane anywhere outside of Manhattan or Tokyo. But attacking the workers responsible for a city’s economic renaissance is surely a self-defeating strategy. New construction may help alleviate housing pressures, as thousands of city apartments are scheduled to become available within the next several years. Until then, the city’s longtime residents and the architects of the new tech boom will have to learn to live with each other. In this case, riding the bus divides citizens rather than uniting them.

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Analyst to Apple CEO, Chairman: Buy Tesla http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/analyst-to-apple-ceo-chairman-buy-tesla/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/analyst-to-apple-ceo-chairman-buy-tesla/#comments Tue, 29 Oct 2013 15:16:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=636921 It’s one thing for Tesla Motors to be the Apple of motoring. It’s another for Apple to be the Apple of motoring. The solution, according to one analyst: Apple should buy Tesla to remain profitable long after the gold rush of smartphones and tablets has disappeared from the rear view mirror. CNN Money reports an […]

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Tesla-Model-S. Photo courtesy AutoWeek.com

It’s one thing for Tesla Motors to be the Apple of motoring. It’s another for Apple to be the Apple of motoring. The solution, according to one analyst: Apple should buy Tesla to remain profitable long after the gold rush of smartphones and tablets has disappeared from the rear view mirror.

CNN Money reports an analyst for the German investment bank Berenberg, one Adnaan Ahmad, has penned an open letter to both Apple CEO Tim Cook and chairman Arthur Levinson, strongly suggesting they pay a visit to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s high-tech lab — no doubt interrupting his Lotus submarine studynot with a demand for Doug Field’s return to One Infinite Loop, but with a Halliburton briefcase full of cash. At least five of them.

Why? According to Ahmad, purchasing the EV automaker down the road would allow Apple to obtain the type of growing revenues that will keep the computer maker in the green for a long time to come, something that no iPhone or iPad can guarantee once the age of hipster gadgetry draws to a close. Ahmad also believes that Apple’s habit of disrupting developing markets, such as telephony and tablet computing, is just what the doctor ordered for the auto industry in the United States, leading to a much more rapid transition to hybrid and electric vehicles of all shapes and colors.

As for Musk’s role, Ahmad believes Cook and Levinson “could strike up a partnership [with Musk] and obtain a new iconic partner to lead Apple’s innovation drive,” invoking the spirit of late Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs while imploring the current guard to go outside of the box once again.

And if Cook and Levinson don’t heed his words? Then, per Ahmad, “the key debate will always be about [Apple’s] ability to sustain these abnormal margins in [their] iPhone business.”

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Hammer Time: Old Tech / New Tech http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/hammer-time-old-tech-new-tech/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/hammer-time-old-tech-new-tech/#comments Tue, 29 Oct 2013 11:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=635777 Ah, the good old days. A time when smartphones were just PDA’s with hormone imbalances. A time of basic cell phones, brick-thick cameras, and camcorders barely big enough to require a hand strap. I remember all this old tech like it was yesterday, and for one simple reason: I still used all of them until […]

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Ah, the good old days. A time when smartphones were just PDA’s with hormone imbalances.

A time of basic cell phones, brick-thick cameras, and camcorders barely big enough to require a hand strap.

I remember all this old tech like it was yesterday, and for one simple reason: I still used all of them until recently.

Until about a month ago, I used the same basic cell phone I got for free back in 2008.

Absolutely nothing special, the bare bones MetroPCS phone enabled one-handed dialing and texting without even looking at the screen.

One thumb and dome. I mean, done.

That primitive device was brutally brilliant for yours truly because it was essentially “dope resistant”. It withstood a 45-MPH launch from  a Lincoln Town Car’s hood with nary a scratch.  I lost it dozens of times, once for two days. Yet I would invariably find it again and continue to beat it like a red-headed stepchild.

In time it was scratched, kicked, dropped, thrown, and beaten all to hell.

I treasured it. With each passing month, that miniature screen would get a little bit more faded and dim. Sometimes – not often…maybe once a month – the screen would freeze up or a button would stick.

No worries. At least not for a guy in a time warp. Even a few minutes of downtime each month was not nearly enough for me to invest in modern smartphones. Five-hundred dollars for a friggin’ phone? Ha! Not from this frugal zealot!

Then something happened…

smasher

I left it on top of a Subaru Outback and gave the keys to one of my customers. After a ten-minute test drive I heard the words that would change the course of my technological future.

“Steve, I really like this Outback. But I heard this strange clunking sound when I made my first turn. Are the CV joints okay?”

“Ummmm… I think it was my cell phone.”

A futile search on the nearby intersection yielded nothing more than a shocking amount of litter, and mild amusement from the passersby.

The time had come.

It was September 19th, 2013, and the cost of not having a phone for my business was far more dire than the relatively low cost of buying a good phone…a damn good phone…maybe even…the best phone?

So I powered up my fully-functional 2001 Pentium 4 with Windows XP and Googled “cell phones” and “best.”  A relentless assault of one-worded responses confronted me:

iPhone.

It was not because the iPhone was better than the Galaxy S4, which was better than the HTC One, which was…. what the hell are all these things?

No, it was because Apple was releasing the new iPhone 5C and 5S models the next day.

So I went to Wal-Mart.

And the AT&T store.

And T-Mobile.

And Best Buy.

But the iPhone 5S was nowhere to be found. It was worse than Chrysler’s release of the new Jeep Cherokee. I couldn’t find this thing in my neck of the woods to save my ass from first base.

I had to do something, anything, to get a decent cell phone.

I Facebooked. I called friends. I contacted people that I’m not even sure are my friends anymore.

One guy offered me a phone, but batteries were no longer available for that (2007) model.  However, the teenage girl working at the battery store was my savior.   She ducked in the back and emerged with something small, pink, and adorned with a Hello Kitty sticker.

I quietly sighed, but left with a new battery and the following phone for $40.

lollipop

The damn thing’s called a lollipop.

Back in 2010 these phones were state-of-the-art…for the low end. But it could do pictures, voice, and even send your photos off to Kodak.

Kodak! Damn!  I was hitting the big time!

Within two days, I had it deciphered and was busy texting and calling away. The flip design would keep the sub-two-inch screen in stellar shape. All would be well again in my world.

Until, that is, I attended a nearby media event. Here, I realized brutal truth of my Luddite life.

I was the sole guy at the event without a smartphone. Not only that, I was the only journalist not typing away before the event began.

When the new car rolled out, they simply  snapped photos with their phones and sent them.

To online publications…to their social media pages…and probably a half-dozen other places thanks to various apps.

Me? I go and unsheath a 2005,  5-megapixel Sony digital camera, whose lens extends like a three-inch probe. I wait for the right exposure, take two pictures, and then the thing spontaneously seizes up in my hand like the relic it is.

Confession time: It wasn’t always like this for me; I used to be a hardcore technophile.

Party on Wayne!

Party on Wayne!

Twenty years ago, I was the first student at my college with a laptop. Thanks to it helping me overcome a fine motor impairment, my grades skyrocketed.  That’s Wayne by the way…

Technology was a beautiful thing in my life, and I almost accepted an offer with an IT consulting firm before my love for cars took over.

The car business, and the interrelated world of auto auctions, became my career, and I eventually became a ”tool guy” technologically.

If the hammer works, just keep on using it. Because “new” means “money”. And “nearly-new” means “nearly free.” And “old” means durable and often perfect for my limited needs.

vw

A lot of long-time auto enthusiasts look at cars in much the same way. Older vehicles, especially those past a decade or even two, can perform the same functions as new models for a fraction of the cost.

Then again, you do miss a few pieces of technology as you go back in time: navigation, stability control, airbags. Everything from the steel polymers used to make vehicles, to the maintenance requirements for a daily driver, have changed substantially within the last ten years.

So here’s my question: Where do you draw the automotive line between old and new? Does a car with ABS, traction control, and dent resistant panels, like a 1992 Saturn, earn the right to be seen as a contemporary? Or does it have to Sync, Link, CUE and Think with mobile and hands-free technologies?

Where do you draw that line?

Oh, and if you happen to have a spare gold iPhone 5S with 30 times more gigabytes than my “pre-Ipod” computer, feel free to let me know.

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Former Apple VP To Aid Vehicle Development At Tesla http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/former-apple-vp-to-aid-vehicle-development-at-tesla/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/former-apple-vp-to-aid-vehicle-development-at-tesla/#comments Fri, 25 Oct 2013 14:16:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=634481 It seems as of late that Tesla is becoming to cars what Apple already is to computing, smartphones, digital music players and tablets. Thus, it should be as no surprise that the automaker has brought aboard former Apple vice president of Mac hardware engineering Doug Field to help them develop “insanely great” new vehicles. “Doug […]

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2012 Tesla Model S

It seems as of late that Tesla is becoming to cars what Apple already is to computing, smartphones, digital music players and tablets. Thus, it should be as no surprise that the automaker has brought aboard former Apple vice president of Mac hardware engineering Doug Field to help them develop “insanely great” new vehicles.

“Doug has demonstrated the leadership and technical talent to develop and deliver outstanding products, including what are widely considered the best computers in the world,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a press release. Musk went further to state that the future of the automaker is dependent upon engineering talents — such as the kind Field would bring to the table — that can help bring “the most innovative, technologically advanced vehicles in the world” to the masses, especially the kind that will be sold for $35,000 at the nearest Tesla boutique in the near future.

Field’s latest foray in the tech world marks a return to the automotive industry: His career began with Ford as an engineer, then a turn as CTO for Segway before segueing to One Infinite Loop in 2008. From there, Field led development on the MacBook Air and Pro, and the iMac.

“Until Tesla came along, I had never seriously considered leaving Apple,” said Field in the same press release. “I started my career with the goal of creating incredible cars, but ultimately left the auto industry in search of fast-paced, exciting engineering challenges elsewhere. As the first high tech auto company in modern history, Tesla is at last an opportunity for me and many others to pursue the dream of building the best cars in the world-while being part of one of the most innovative companies in Silicon Valley.”

Photo credit: Jack Snell/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

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Apple announces “iOS in the Car” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/apple-announces-ios-in-the-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/apple-announces-ios-in-the-car/#comments Mon, 10 Jun 2013 21:45:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=491565 Apple just announced a bunch of new stuff today as part of their annual developers conference. Most TTAC readers don’t really care that iOS7 is ditching the old skeuomorphic look (fake brushed metal, fake leather, etc.) for a flat design that is damn near identical to what Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows 8 have been doing. […]

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Apple Maps displaying in a car

Apple just announced a bunch of new stuff today as part of their annual developers conference. Most TTAC readers don’t really care that iOS7 is ditching the old skeuomorphic look (fake brushed metal, fake leather, etc.) for a flat design that is damn near identical to what Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows 8 have been doing. However, they’ll care about this.

Apple has announced “iOS in the Car” (TheVerge has a summary; see also Cnet, Engadget, Gizmodo). Apple didn’t say much, beyond a a few pretty screenshots and a list of car manufacturers who will support this in 2014. We don’t know if this will be an Apple-proprietary protocol or if it will be an open standard that Android and other phones can use. Regardless, we can expect non-Apple phones to be hacked in one way or another to work with this, assuming they’re willing to do battle with Apple’s patent portfolio.

This is a big deal. For the first time, we have car manufacturers conceding a significant part of the driver’s user experience to a device or company outside of their control. For example, if you buy the most alpha nerd car available today, a Tesla Model S with its monstrous 17″ touch screen, you have well-integrated Tesla-skinned Slacker and TuneIn Internet radio, complete with a secondary display of the current song next to your speedometer. Would you prefer Pandora or Google Music? Sorry, you’ll have to stream that through your phone, which won’t be anywhere near the same slick experience. In Apple’s new world order, your car is an accessory to your phone, which is exactly the way it should be. Many people replace their phones every time their two year contract comes up for renewal and some replace it even more often. Conversely, most any modern car should handily last ten years or more with the right tender loving care. You can go through five generations of phones in the same time that you go through a single car. Your phone keeps getting better and your car (generally speaking) doesn’t. Furthermore, as I go from my personal car to a rental car to whatever else (a taxi?), I get to take “my” navigation system and “my” music along for the ride, rather than learning my way around yet another car manufacturer’s dial that spins, clicks, slides, and otherwise goes out of its way to annoy the driver.

I’d previously been skeptical that something like this would ever come to pass. Why would a car manufacturer willingly allow themselves to be commoditized like this? Why would they willingly give up the chance to upsell their customers on monthly service charges? In the new world order, a third-party app installed on your phone could use the built-in accelerometer and GPS to figure out that you decelerated in a big hurry and probably had an accident, just like GM OnStar and other such manufacturer-provided subscription services do. Would you rather have that service attached to your car or to your phone? I’d vote for the phone, since it would be with me regardless of what car I happened to be in.

If I were king for a day, I’d not only push for the phone/car video interface to be standardized, but I’d also push for the car to provide specific sensors and data to the phone. For example, the car might feed your phone telemetry data (wheel angle, speedometer, tachometer, etc.), which can aid a navigation system that temporarily looses contact with the GPS satellites, or give you great feedback on your hot track laps. They might even consider providing deeper manufacturer-specific hooks to allow for over-the-air software updates. At that point, some interesting security threats rear their ugly heads, since the phone needs to be treated as a potentially hostile component within the otherwise-friendly world of the in-car network. Still, color me excited. I’ve wanted this for a long time.

 

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