Apple has an official permit to test self-driving cars in California, DMV confirms

Apple CEO Tim CookAP

Kif Leswing 
Apple has received a permit to test autonomous cars in California, the first official confirmation that the maker of the iPhone sees the century-old automobile as a product that's ripe for reinvention and a reflection of its need to find new markets to sustain its growth. 

The California DMV updated its website on Friday, adding Apple's name to 29 other companies testing self-driving vehicles in the state, including Tesla and Google.

The permit is confirmation that Apple has been quietly working on self-driving car technology, something that the company has not previously discussed in public or confirmed beyond an advisory letter to the NHTSA in December. 

The DMV says that any manufacturer of autonomous technologies must apply to the California DMV before it can test a vehicle in autonomous mode on public roads.

"Today, April 14, 2017, California Department of Motor Vehicles issued Apple Inc. an autonomous vehicle test permit. The permit covers three vehicles, all 2015 Lexus RX450h, and six drivers," a DMV spokeswoman told Business Insider. 

Apple declined to comment about whether Apple is currently testing autonomous vehicles on public roads and pointed to a previous statement that it is "investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems."

Confirmation
2015 Lexus RX 350 front three quarters
This is the car that Apple listed in its application to test its autonomous platform.Lexus

Silicon Valley and Detroit are engaged in a high-stakes race to develop self-driving cars, with companies like Google, Uber, Ford, Tesla and GM all working on autonomous vehicle technology. Prototype cars, with clunky radars, sensors and cameras rigged on the roofs and the sides, are a common sight on the streets of San Francisco.

And although there are still numerous technological, as well as political and regulatory obstacles to clear before self-driving cars become a widespread product for the masses, analysts believe the market will be worth tens of billions of dollars in the coming years. 

Apple's work in the automotive world is an open secret, but the company has never officially confirmed the existence of a project before Friday. 

"It's going to be Christmas Eve for a while," Apple CEO Tim Cook once said in response to a question about the project.

Apple has what appears to be a mostly separate organization of 1000 employees working on what it calls "Project Titan" in Sunnyvale, California and other satellite offices. Apple has also been linked to a private course in California where secretive companies test self-driving cars. 

Last year, the project hit some snags, though, and Apple was forced to bring on Bob Mansfield, a respected engineer, to cut back the scope of the project and set new goals, according to reporting from Bloomberg. Apple is believed be be primarily working on autonomous software, instead of a full car, but the project is still shrouded in secrecy. 

Apple is expected to assess the progress it has made on self-driving cars at the end of this year, according to Bloomberg. 

Have you seen one of Apple's self-driving cars on the road or know anything about Apple's automotive project? Email the author at kleswing@businessinsider.com.

This is the car that Apple listed in its application to test its autonomous platform.Lexus

 

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

People are talking about hackers ‘ransoming’ Apple — here’s what’s actually going on

 

If you don't want to be hacked, don't use the same password across different services.

And if you're an Apple user, it's a good idea to check your Apple ID and iCloud account today to make sure it's using a unique and long password.

On Wednesday, a hacking group calling itself the Turkish Crime Family told Business Insider that it had about 600 million iCloud passwords it would use to reset users' accounts on April 7.

Apple told Business Insider in a statement that if the hackers had passwords, they did not come from a breach of Apple systems:

"There have not been any breaches in any of Apple's systems including iCloud and Apple ID. The alleged list of email addresses and passwords appears to have been obtained from previously compromised third-party services.

"We're actively monitoring to prevent unauthorized access to user accounts and are working with law enforcement to identify the criminals involved. To protect against these type of attacks, we always recommend that users always use strong passwords, not use those same passwords across sites and turn on two-factor authentication."

It is still possible that the group has some users' passwords. Information from several large breaches, including those of Yahoo and LinkedIn, have spread across the internet in recent years. If an Apple user has the same password and email for, say, LinkedIn and iCloud, there's a good chance that iCloud password is already publicly available.

Here's what you can do to protect yourself:

Turn on two-factor authentication. That means when you log in to your iCloud account you'll be asked to send a six-digit code to your phone. It's annoying, but it's the best way to ensure that your account remains your own.
Don't use the same password for multiple services. If one of your accounts is hacked or breached, hackers can essentially access all your accounts that used the same password. Make sure to use a different password for your Apple ID and your email account — here's how to change your Apple ID password and how to check if your password may already be public.
Make sure your password is long, random, and unique. Don't use your name, birthday, or other common words.
Why this matters now
Screen Shot 2017 03 23 at 10.28.06 AM Twitter
Over the past few days, the Turkish Crime Family has contacted media outlets saying it has 200 million, 250 million, 519 million, or as many as 750 million Apple ID account credentials culled from breaches of other services.

The hacking group also said it had been in contact with Apple and was demanding $75,000 in cryptocurrency like bitcoin or $100,000 in Apple gift cards.

If Apple did nothing, it would "face really serious server issues and customer complaints" in an attack on April 7, a member of the hacking group told Business Insider in an email. They said they were carrying out the attack in support of the Yahoo hacking suspect.

A report from Motherboard said the group had shown the outlet an email from one of the hackers to an Apple product-security specialist that discussed the ransom demands. That email is fake, a person with knowledge of Apple's security operations told Business Insider.

Apple is in contact with law enforcement about the ransom demand, the person said. Apple is unsure if the group's claims are true, but people at the company say they doubt they are.

Screen Shot 2017 03 23 at 10.29.10 AM Twitter
There are other reasons to doubt the hackers' claims, such as their thirst for publicity and their fluid story.

But even if the hackers are telling the truth, Apple users can protect themselves by making sure their Apple ID password is unique and hasn't been revealed in a previous breach.

"A breach means nothing in 2017 when you can just pull the exact same user information in smaller scales through companies that aren't as secure," the group purportedly said in a post on Pastebin in response to Apple's statement.

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

Apple Just Put Another Nail In Snapchat’s Proverbial Coffin

Apple announced it will launch Clips in April, a video-making app that allows users to capture photos and videos, combine multiple videos and include a variety of features like Filters, Overlays, Posters and Live Titles.

We can draw many similarities between Clips and the already existing features of Snapchat, Instagram and Messenger. However, the key difference is that Clips is not attempting to build a stand-alone network. Instead, it acts as a production tool and encourages sharing across all existing platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat. Although the main emphasis is to encourage sharing via iMessage, the option of social network freedom is nevertheless there.

Until now, the mass-market video messaging features have been largely tied to the boundaries of their parent platforms. Users post Snaps on Snapchat, Stories on Instagram and Days on Messenger. To take part in advanced video messaging, users had to use at least one of these social networks, often multiple ones, as different social circles use different platforms. Users often tend to post content only on the one channel they find most relevant. With Clips, users can now make one Clip and share with their peers on Snapchat, their mother on Instagram and their grandfather on Facebook in one seamless session – or use iMessage to share it with their phone contacts. Apple encourages users to engage with the latter by deploying its face recognition technology that automatically suggests to share the clips with the people featured in the video.

Why Is Apple Doing This?

Apple rightly recognized that advanced video messaging features have grown so popular,that they have become a major product differentiator in the war of social networks. Apple has always been all about making consumers’ lives easier with user-friendly products. If mobile users have now evolved to expect a great photo/video messaging production experience as a standard, it is in Apple’s utmost interest to deliver it better than any non-Apple product can. Because of this, it is highly unlikely that we are going to see an Android version anytime soon (unless the uptake on iOS exceeds all expectations and a scalable opportunity emerges to drive potential new Apple users into the pipeline).

Apple is joining the trend of making video messaging features a part of its own product differentiation, but it does it in a completely different, competitive landscape. While most companies use video messaging features to differentiate their social media platforms, no other smartphone manufacturers do so at scale.

Implications

Besides creating a new product differentiator for iOS that will help drive further brand loyalty, Clips may disrupt both Snap Inc. and Facebook Inc.. If consumers start using Clips to produce photo and video messages at scale, all social networks risk a decrease in their average session lengths as a result. Even worse however, is their risk of loosing a portion of the high-value Apple users, who may simply choose to start sharing via the iMessage app. This in turn could threaten the value for advertisers and subsequently drive ad-inventory prices down.

This is much more of an existential threat for Snapchat than Facebook, because the former is amidst figuring out its business model and it does not have a solid foothold globally. After losing its product differentiation in the social messaging space, it will now face additional competitive pressures from the most valuable company in the world.
Karol Severin Karol Severin
Analyst • MIDiA Research

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

Tiny Device Allows You To Track Your Vehicle Using Your Smartphone

 

This is The Most Affordable Solution to Find Your Lost Items!

Have you ever lost your car on a parking lot? It happens. You park and go shopping. When you get back, you don't have a clue where your car is. Then you start roaming around clicking on the panic button on your car keys so the alarm goes off. It can be frustrating, especially on a hot, sunny day.

No, you don't need to install an expensive GPS system to keep track of your car. That's way too expensive. You would need to pay a monthly subscription fee just to use it. Don't we have enough bills to pay already?

But is there a way to track your vehicle without spending a fortune? Yes, now there is!

A California-based startup company was able to make this a reality. They created a tiny device that works with your smartphone, and it could be exactly what you're looking for!

What is it?

It's called TrackR. It is a state-of-the-art tracking device the size of a quarter. It's changing the way we keep track of the important things in our lives.

How Does it Work?

It's easy! Install the free TrackR app on your smartphone, connect the app to your device and you're ready to go! Simply attach TrackR to whatever you want to keep tabs on. The entire process of setting it up only takes 5 minutes or less.

You can attach it to your keys, briefcase, wallet, your latest tech gadgets and anything else you don't want to lose. Then use the TrackR app to locate your missing item in seconds.

"This device has saved me tons of time and money!"

Forget expensive GPS systems or tracking services. Nobody wants to pay expensive monthly subscription fees. We understand how stressful these things can be, and this is the reason why TrackR was created. This device is your VIP when you need to take care of more important things in life.

Remember the car scenario above? If you have the TrackR, you can just hide it under your car's floor mat, in the trunk or in the glove compartment. Somewhere it won't be found if your car gets stolen.

If you forget where you parked your car, whip out your smartphone and open the TrackR app. Tap on the "lost item" icon on the screen and the app will tell you the exact coordinates of the last known location of the TrackR.

How Much is it Going To Cost Me?

You're probably thinking that this device is very expensive… False! TrackR only costs $29! That's a small price to pay for peace of mind, isn't it?

NOTE: As a special promotion, the company is now offering an incredible "Buy 4 – Get 4 FREE" deal to all new customers.
What else can I do with TrackR?

As we said before, TrackR has unlimited possibilities. The device is small and unobtrusive enough that you can attach it to your pet. Put it on their collar, and the issue of searching for them as they scamper off to nearby places will be over! Attach it to your keys and wallet, and never waste a minute rummaging the whole house for it.

TrackR even comes with a double-sided adhesive so you can stick it to your laptop or under your bike seat. Track down and punish the thieves who steal your expensive things!

Attach it To Everything That's Important To You…

Now that you've been informed about this brilliant invention, let me show you how easy it is to track your valuable items. All you need to do is to follow these 3 steps:

Step 1: Order TrackR today to take advantage of the 50% OFF sale.
Step 2: When you receive it, open the package and place the thin battery inside the device. Then download the free TrackR app on your smartphone and link up the unit with the app. Finally, hide TrackR in your car or attach it to the item you wish to track.
Step 3: Relax… Use the TrackR app to find your things. It's easy!
Here's a tip: TrackR is a great gift idea because there's no monthly fee involved!
"Remember, they have an amazing sale going on right now.

This way you and your loved ones can keep track of everything. Keys, car, wallet, bike, toys, pets and even electronics such as a laptop, iPad or Kindle!

 https://www.thetrackr.com/?ref_code=3ffKi

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

Apple may have more than 1,000 engineers working on augmented reality for the iPhone, UBS says

Investors should buy Apple shares because the company is making a big bet on augmented reality, according to UBS, which reiterated its buy rating.
"According to some industry sources, the company may have over 1,000 engineers working on a project in Israel that could be related to AR [augmented reality]," analyst Steven Milunovich wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. "Our work suggests that AR could be the next major innovation from Apple and that its competencies could make the company a winner … Augmented reality is an area where Apple could leapfrog competition in providing a superior user experience. This could result in sustained iPhone retention rates and more switchers."
Augmented reality is a technology that "overlays digital content on the real world through the device's camera view."
Milunovich raised his Apple price target to $151 from $138, representing 10 percent upside from Monday's close.
The analyst quoted Apple CEO Tim Cook comparing augmented reality innovation to the iPhone, saying, "I think AR is that big, it's huge." 

Milunovich cited how the company bought multiple AR technology companies such as PrimeSense, Metaio and RealFace. Milunovich thinks it's possible an early form of AR may be released with the iPhone 8 later this year.
"Apple appears more interested in AR [augmented reality], which connects people, than VR [virtual reality], which potentially isolates experiences," he wrote. "Apple may be well equipped to lead given its core competencies in hardware design and software/hardware integration as well as its large base of affluent iPhone and iPad owners."

— CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this story

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

Hey, 32GB iPhone 7, I already hate you

The base-price iPhone 7, according to a recent report by The Wall Street Journal, will have an amount of storage that will make it usable. Not great, not amazing, not best in class, but usable. How exciting is that?

Well, it depends on your expectations. 

SEE ALSO: Leak shows iPhone 7 will likely have big camera changes

If you expect the iPhone 7, the latest and greatest Apple will have to offer, to finally catch up with every other post-2014 phone out there (even the Chinese ones which cost less than half the iPhone's price), then go celebrate. 

I expect the iPhone 7 to be among the best phones out there, and to achieve that, Apple would finally have to do something unexpected — even if it's so simple as jumping from 16GB base storage to 64GB for the cheapest option. 

At this point some of you may be dismissively waving your hand, thinking you can never please these tech journalists. But hear me out. 

Remember 2008? George W. Bush was still president of the U.S., USB sticks still came in 256MB sizes and smartphones were a new thing.
Apple first introduced a 16GB iPhone in February 2008. Remember 2008? George W. Bush was still president of the U.S., USB sticks still came in 256MB sizes and smartphones were a new thing. And that was the first-generation iPhone, upgraded a year after launch, mainly to accommodate users' ever-increasing hunger for storage. 

In 2012, with the release of the iPhone 5, Apple introduced 16GB as the base storage option. It was followed by iPhone 5S and 5C, then iPhones 6 and 6 Plus, then iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, and finally with the iPhone SE — all of which started with 16GB of base storage. 

UPDATE: July 6, 2016, 7:07 p.m. CEST Our reader Hrvoje pointed out that the first iPhone model that started with 16GB of storage was actually the iPhone 4, which came out in 2010. An 8GB variant of the iPhone 4 was introduced a year later, alongside the launch of the iPhone 4S. This is one of those times when I don't mind being wrong, as it further reiterates the point above. 

Hey Apple, when's the last time we had a pleasant surprise?
Apple has been waiting way too long to upgrade the storage, and it's time to double down. 32GB is not a disaster by any means — after all, most smartphones start there (though, in fairness, most of them also offer a sizable memory expansion via microSD memory cards). But apps are getting bigger, photos are getting bigger, videos are getting huge (try recording 4K video on a 32GB phone and see how far you'll get). Next year, all the flagship Androids will start at 64GB, mark my words. 

There's also the simple matter of being fair to your customers. Unlike most smartphone manufacturers Apple has a hump in memory storage between its cheapest and second-cheapest model. Currently, the iPhone 6S starts at 16GB, then jumps to 64GB and, finally, 128GB. Rumors have it that the iPhone 7 will come with 32GB, 128GB and 256GB memory options. 

But why the hump? Simply because Apple has traditionally been using its cheapest iPhone as bait to lure customers to buy the mid-range model. The somewhat sleazy practice became downright annoying when it became painfully obvious that 16GB of storage don't cut it anymore — sometime around the iPhone 6 — and then Apple did it again next year. 

Most importantly, iPhone's overall specs just feel weak. Yes, it's a great phone, but the current model lags behind basically all competitors in terms of every spec you can think of. RAM? The Samsungs and the HTCs and the LGs have more than the iPhone 6S's paltry 2GB. Screen resolution? 4K phones leave iPhone's Retina in the dust. Battery size? You can easily find phones with twice the battery capacity for half the iPhone's price. With memory prices constantly falling, at least upgrading the storage memory should be easy. You have to wonder if Apple likes to stay behind on purpose. 

It will happen, but when?
Rumors aside, I'm certain Apple will upgrade the storage for the cheapest iPhone 7. The company would get ripped to shreds by the press (and annoyed users) if it didn't. But with the rumors that the iPhone 7 will be far more evolutionary than a revolutionary upgrade, having it start at 64GB would be a really nice touch, instantly propelling it to the top of the smartphone chain when storage is concerned. Apple faithful have been waiting for their phone to be leading in some area for quite some time, and they deserve it. 

Here's the more realistic option, though: The iPhone 7 will start at 32GB, and so will the iPhone after that, and the one after that — until we collectively start pulling our hair and crying out for more storage. It's just Apple's way. 

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

Apple may finally be ditching the most hated iPhone feature

Apple may soon be ditching the 16GB iPhone, if recent reports are to be believed. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Cupertino's next iPhone, due out this fall, will start at 32GB, not the much-loathed 16GB model pundits and consumers have come to hate.

SEE ALSO: Leak shows iPhone 7 will likely have big camera changes

According to the Journal's source, the next iPhone will come in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB models — likely due, at least in part, to the expected camera improvements that will accompany the next iPhone. 

The latest report is in line with earlier reports that also suggested Apple's next iPhone will top out at 256GB of storage (though at least one of those reports claim only the larger iPhone 7 Plus will be available in a 256GB option.

Of course, as with just about every iPhone rumor, we won't know for sure until Apple formally introduces the device (likely in September) though the Apple rumor mill is starting to give us a pretty good idea of what to expect.

Starting the iPhone lineup at 16GB is unacceptable and has been for years
While we may have mixed feelings about losing the headphone jack, which is looking increasingly likely, we're pretty confident that no one will miss the 16GB iPhone. In fact, we're more confused as to why Apple has stubbornly hung onto it for so long. As Mashable's Christina Warren summed up last year ahead of the iPhone 6S launch, starting the iPhone lineup at 16GB is unacceptable and has been for years.  

We take more photos and videos than ever, apps are bigger than ever, we watch and listen to more media offline than ever. The base model's storage space isn't enough for even the most basic tasks anymore.

So let's hope that, if nothing else, this is the one iPhone rumor that proves to be true and we can — finally, finally, finally — say goodbye to the 16GB iPhone.

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e