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Apple to join the fiercely competitive race to design Self-driving Cars

The California Department of Motor Vehicles had awarded a permit for the company to start testing its self-driving car technology on public roads in the state.

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The Apple logo is shown above a store location entrance, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, in Dallas. Apple is schedule to release their iPhone 5S on Friday. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez), VOA

San Francisco, April 15, 2017: Apple is joining the fiercely competitive race to design self-driving cars, raising the possibility that a company that has already re-shaped culture with its iPhone may try to transform transportation, too.

Ending years of speculation, Apple’s late entry into a crowded field was made official Friday with the disclosure that the California Department of Motor Vehicles had awarded a permit for the company to start testing its self-driving car technology on public roads in the state.

The permit covers three vehicles — all 2015 Lexus RX 450h hybrid SUVs — and six individual drivers. California law requires people to be in a self-driving car who can take control if something goes wrong.

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Apple Goes Mobile … In a New Way

Apple confirmed its arrival in the self-driving car market, but wouldn’t discuss its intentions. Its interest in autonomous vehicle technology, however, has long been clear .

The Cupertino, California, company pointed to a statement that it issued in December. “Apple is investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems,” the company said then. “There are many potential applications for these technologies, including the future of transportation.”

Apple released that statement after Steve Kenner, a former Ford Motor executive who is now Apple’s director of product integrity, notified federal regulators of the company’s interest in self-driving cars in a letter.

Like others, Apple believes self-driving cars could ease congestion and save millions of people who die annually in traffic accidents often caused by drunk or distracted motorists.

Self-driving cars could also be a lucrative new market. And Apple has been searching for its next act for a while, one that will take it beyond its mainstay phones, tablets and personal computers.

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A Next Big Thing

Although iPhone’s ongoing popularity has helped Apple remain the world’s most valuable company, the company hasn’t had a breakthrough product since the 2010 debut of the iPad, currently in the throes of a three-year sales slump. The dry spell has raised doubts as to whether Apple lost some of its trend-setting magic with the death of co-founder Steve Jobs in 2011.

Apple will be vying against 29 other companies that already have California permits to test self-driving cars. The list includes major automakers, including Ford, General Motors, BMW, Volkswagen and Tesla, as well as one of its biggest rivals in technology, Google, whose testing of self-driving cars has been spun off into an affiliate called Waymo.

Since Google began its work on self-driving vehicles eight years ago, Waymo’s fleet of self-driving cars has logged more than 2 million miles on the road.

That means Apple has a long way to catch up in self-driving technology. But it has often been a follower in markets that it eventually revolutionized. It wasn’t the first to introduce a digital music player, smartphone, or tablet before its iPod, iPhone and iPad came out.

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Deep Pockets

With $246 billion in cash, Apple also could easily afford to buy technology that accelerates its development of self-driving cars. There has been recurring speculation that Apple might eventually acquire Tesla, which has a market value of about $50 billion. Neither Apple nor Tesla has given any inkling that they’re interested in joining forces, though.

Speculation about Apple’s interest in expanding into automobiles began swirling in 2015 amid media reports that the company had begun secretly working on building its own electric car under the name project “Titan.” Apple never confirmed the existence of Titan, which is now believed to be dead. (VOA)

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Beatles, Apple, Facebook knew India more than Indians

Famous non-Indian celebrities know more about India and its past

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The Beatles once visited India to know more bout its past and culture.
The Beatles once visited India to know more bout its past and culture. Wikipedia

-By Salil Gewali

Facebook’s Chairman Mark Zuckerberg had dropped a bombshell on the “secularists” in India during PM Modi’s visit to his campus in California. It’s all about the Facebook connection with India. Initially, it was never a bed of roses for what is now a household name “FACEBOOK” across the world. This world-famous ‘social networking service company’ had its own share of bad times. Revealing for the first time in the meeting at the Facebook office upbeat Zuckerberg told PM Narendra Modi that Steve Jobs, the founder Chairman of Apple, had advised him to visit a certain temple in India for blessings. The revelation may have caused heartburn to many. More so in India where so-called secular and snooty folks have long acquired a proclivity to look down upon their own culture, religion, and values while being appreciative of any bizarre customs and styles of the West. Yes, heeding the advice of his mentor Steve Jobs the depressed Mark had visited the temple and toured around India for nearly a month.

Facebook's CEO tells about India.
Facebook’s CEO tells about India. wikipedia

Well, the American techno-wizard Steve Jobs had himself spent over six months in India in 1974. He was here in quest of the higher meaning of life and spiritual solace. As understood, from early age Steve was quite haunted by a good deal of unanswered questions. Of course, his encounter with a book “Be Here Now” by Richard Alpert, a Harvard Professor, had opened up a gateway to the spiritualism of the East. This book had also introduced him to a mystic Yogi ‘Neem Karoli Baba’. That later inspired Steve to set out the journey for the East. As soon as Steve and his friend Daniel Kottke arrived India they directly went to meet the Guru in Kainchi Dham Ashram in Nainital. But to their disappointment, they found the Baba had already passed away some months earlier. Nevertheless, the urge to dive deeper into the spiritualism did not die away. They shaved their heads and put on Indian clothes and undertook an extensive meditation and yogic practices.

The most significant impact that had made upon Steve’s life was a book “Autobiography of a Yogi”by Paramhansa Yogananda. It is on record that he would read this book too frequently, at least once every year until his death, 2011. This book had given him the practical insight into what exactly this world is about and how a layman can prepare himself to realize the Supreme knowledge. The first-hand account of a Yogi with empirical approaches to know oneself this book by Yogananda is a smash hit manual now among the seekers of the Eastern spiritualism.

Yes, by dint of hard work, intuition and innovation Steve stood out as one of the most successful techno-tycoons of the modern times. As much known, Jobs was hardly possessed by the luxury of riches and materialistic vanity. He just regarded his entrepreneurship as a tool to awaken his dormant potentialities. The chairman of Salesforce.com and famous philanthropist Marc Benioff says with conviction — “If you want to understand Steve, it’s a good idea to dig into ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’.” It is this book which Steve’s family had given to all the guests as a last gift at his memorial service.

Here we can’t afford to ignore the Beatle’s fascination for INDIA as well. The band members that were basking in the opulence of materialistic riches and glory visited India (Rishikesh) in search of inner peace. They met with Sri Maharshi Mahesh Yogi and learnt from him Transcendental meditation (TM) who laid bare methods to feel true bliss within. Sri Maharshi is a big name in the West having a huge following that includes celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, David Lynch, Russell Brand, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Aniston, Modern physicist Dr. John Hagelin, to name a few. The Beatle’s Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr often assist a Hollywood Director/actor David Lynch to organize the Transcendental meditation under ‘David Lynch Foundation’ across USA and the European countries. George Harrison later took refuge in Bhakti Yoga. The founder of ISKCON Srila Prabhupada showed him the pathway to the Supreme Consciousness.

What basically pulls the rational westerners to India is less known to Indians themselves. It’s shamefully paradoxical. From early 19th Century, the philosophical literary treasure troves and Yoga of India found more admirers in the foreign lands than at home. Indeed, the philosophy of the “laws of karma” and the presence of all-power-divinity within every being and everywhere — which any human being can realize irrespective of one’s caste, creed, nationality, and color, has intensely stirred the greatest of the great minds of the West. The ancient texts hold out a whole bunch of keys to unlock oneself and know his/her relationship with the Supreme Being which in fact seems very reasonable to the West. Further, the complex studies of world-view by Modern scientists are gradually arriving at the same conclusion what the ancient sages of India expounded over five thousands year back that ‘creation and creator are ONE’. Interconnection, inter-relation and interdependence among every individual particle/object, living or non-living, in the infinite universe — which is the fundamental tenets of the Eastern philosophy, provided a new light of wisdom to the the modern physicists like Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Julius Oppenheimer, Brain David Josephson, David Bohm, John Stewart Bell et al.

Well, Indian’s contribution to the western academia is immeasurable — though deliberately undermined or less discussed in India itself. It’s very worthwhile to recall a famous proclamation by our western master whom we hold in the highest esteem. TS Eliot, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, asserts: “Indian philosophers’ subtleties make most of the great European philosophers look like schoolboys”.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter @SGewali.

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Over 300 iPhone X stolen near San Francisco Apple Store

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Iphone X
Over 300 iPhone X stolen near San Francisco Apple Store

San Francisco, Nov 2,2017: How to get an iPhone X, which is reportedly facing a huge supply gap, without getting into a beeline? Well, you steal it before it enters the store.

This is what happened in San Francisco, where thieves stole more than 300 iPhone X devices worth over $370,000 (Dh 1,359,010).

According to a report by CNET on Thursday, the three thieves stole Apple’s new smartphones from a UPS truck parked outside a San Francisco Apple Store.

The truck was delivering 313 of Apple iPhone X devices that costs $999 a piece (for 64GB varient), the report cited the police as saying.

In India, iPhone X will be available in stores from Friday at a starting price of Rs 89,000 (64GB).

People could find their iPhones with Apple’s “Find My iPhone” and remote lockout features which caused a drop in stolen devices. So thieves are getting iPhones before these services are set up.

Meanwhile, US-based package delivery company UPS said it was working with the law enforcement investigating the theft.(IANS)

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World Get Ready! iPhone ‘X’, iPhone 8, Apple Watch Series 3 are Finally Here! Apple Products’ Launch on the 10th Anniversary of iPhone Live Updates

The event was hosted for the first time at the opulent Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California

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iPhone 'X'
The Apple launch event celebrating the 10th anniversary of iPhone. IANS

San Francisco, September 13, 2017 : Living up to the hype it generated on the 10th anniversary of iPhone, Apple on Tuesday unveiled iPhone ‘X’ with facial recognition system, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, new Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple TV 4K.

The device can be pre-ordered from October 27 will be available from November 3 for Rs 89,000 in India.

Hosting the event for the first time at the opulent Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California, the tech giant introduced iPhone ‘X’ – an ultra-premium model.

iPhone ‘X’ sports a unique “FaceID” facial recognition system to unlock the device. Just look at your phone to unlock it. The feature is enabled by a ‘True Depth’ camera system in the A11 neural engine.

iPhone 'X'
Apple iPhone ‘X’ mockup. Wikimedia

Wearing a hat, glasses or new hairstyle will not fool the FaceID system that also works with Apple Pay.

The device with 2046 X 1125 resolution supports HDR in Dolby Vision, HDR10 and True Tone and comes in Space Grey and Silver colours with ‘Super Retina’ display.

Users can tap on the screen to wake up iPhone X that has 12MP dual-camera system with deeper pixels and dual optical image stablisation at the rear. iPhone ‘X’ does wireless charging via Qi technology.

The iPhone 8 features a new 6-core A11 Bionic processor which is 70 per cent faster than the previous A10.

Apple also introduced Animoji where users can animate an emoji and share it on social media.

Apple also showcased a charging mat called ‘AirPower’ that charges iPhone, Watch and AirPods. The mat would be available from next year.

The tech giant also introduced iPhone 8 and 8 Plus (in Silver, Space Grey and Rose Gold colours) that house wireless charging technology with an improved retina displays.

iPhone 8 64GB price costs Rs 64,000 while 256GB variant will be available for Rs 77,000.

iPhone 8 Plus starts at Rs 73,000 for 64GB. The 256GB variant will cost Indian users Rs 86,000. People can pre-order the devices from September 15 and the phones will be available from September 29.

The iPhone 8 features a new 6-core A11 Bionic processor which is 70 per cent faster than the previous A10.

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus – both still have home button intact — feature new sensors. The lenses feature f1.8 and f2.8 apertures (which is brighter than the 7 Plus telephoto) in the iPhone 8 Plus.

According to Philip W. Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, the iPhone 8 cameras and the A11 Bionic chip have been calibrated for Augmented Reality (AR).

Jeff Williams, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, unveiled Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular connectivity built in.

Apple Watch Series 3 will cost Rs 29,900 with cellular connectivity. Series 1 is now priced at 21,900.

“You can keep the same number as your iPhone to make and receive calls. Maps will work on Series 3. Location will switch over to your watch automatically,” Williams told the gathering.

Apple Music will come to Apple Watch, allowing you to stream directly 40 million songs. Ask Siri to find your favourite track.

“With 50 per cent year-on-year growth, Apple Watch is the number one watch brand in the world, eclipsing Rolex, with 97 per cent customer satisfaction,” CEO Tim Cook announced.

Cook also introduced the new Apple TV 4K, designed to deliver a stunning cinematic experience at home.

iPhone 'X'
Apple CEO Time Cook. Wikimedia

With support for both 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR), Apple TV 4K features unbelievably sharp, crisp images.

With Apple TV 4K, viewers can enjoy a growing selection of 4K HDR movies on iTunes.

“Bring the magic of the cinema straight to your living room with the new Apple TV 4K,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services.

Netflix and Amazon Prime 4K videos are coming to Apple TV as well.

Apple TV 4K starts Rs 15,900 for 32GB or Rs 17,900 for 64GB, joining Apple TV (4th generation) 32GB at Rs 12,900, available through select Apple Authorised Resellers.

Customers will be able to order both Apple TV 4K models beginning September 15, with availability beginning September 22 in the US and 21 additional countries and regions, and worldwide soon after.

Earlier, dedicating the theatre to Jobs “because we loved him and because he loved days like this,” Cook said: “Jobs’ vision and passion lives here on Apple Park and everywhere around us”. (IANS)