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From The Editors Technology

Apple’s Foray into Autonomous Self-Driving Cars

After having delved into a vast range of ground-breaking computing and technology products over the years, most of them phenomenally successful, Apple has now made public its intention of getting into the autonomous car race with technology giants like Tesla, Google, Uber, Ford, China’s Baidu, General Motors, and perhaps other companies which may join the race to capitalise on the response that this idea is attracting- it’s but inevitable that this would be the “future of transportation.”

Although Apple has long been secretive about its autonomous car plans, however, it’s recent letters to the U.S. Department of Transport (DOT) and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) made public by VentureBeat is not that well-kept-a-secret anymore.

Apple’s director of product integrity, Steve Kenner, in his letter, has explained the company’s integration of machine learning in a variety of different aspects to make its products and services smarter, more perceptive and personalized, including its transport ventures.

Apple in its letter has spoken on the safety features of autonomous vehicles emphasizing that, both, established players and potential or new entrants should enjoy parity in treatment in order to ensure maximization of the safety benefits of the technology.

The insinuation, one can speculate, is that being new in the car business Apple shouldn’t experience any discrimination in terms of testing or timelines because it’s not an established automaker like, for instance, Ford or General Motors, or even Tesla.

While the letter can be considered a bit vague, a separate statement issued to the Financial Times by an Apple spokesperson is relatively more precise, in that, the company wants to make certain that NHTSA has a clear and definitive policy with regards to “machine learning and autonomous systems.”

“We’ve provided comments to NHTSA because Apple is investing heavily in the areas of machine learning and autonomous systems,” the apple spokesperson added. “There are many potential applications for these technologies, including the future of transportation, so we want to work with NHTSA to help define the best practices for this industry.”

However, the timeline of Apple’s venture into the autonomous car business is somewhat ambiguous, whereas most of the competition is looking at 2020-2021 for the launch of their self-driving endeavors. Among the major players in the autonomous cars field, Tesla seems to be more proactive in so far as the timeline is concerned, and are pushing aggressively towards achieving it.

So, what is the federal plan to pick up the pace in this imminent transportation revolution? The U.S. government has released an 116 page document, basically a framework or guidelines for automakers involved in making this technology a reality.

The basic purpose of the new guidelines released by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is to expedite the process by not suffocating it with complicated regulations without compromising on the safety of what they call “highly automated vehicles” (HAVs).

Safety is of prime importance for DOT as far as the so-called “highly automated vehicles” (HAVs) are concerned. The reason for this lies in the statistics for roadway fatalities – In 2015 alone 35,092 people died as a result of roadways accidents, 94 percent of which were the result of human error or oversight.

The most important and exciting promise of HAVs is to mitigate the overwhelming numbers of roadway fatalities.

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From The Editors Technology

Is Apple Innovation On the Verge of Decline?

To thrive in the technology business, you should be innovation driven. No two organizations comprehend this better than Apple and Google. Both these companies have developed over the years, and have ended up as masters of the tech industry in their own rights on account of a series of inconceivable ideas that have shaped the technology the world relies on today.

However, the important question is which of these two technological giants continue to innovate and improvise? I believe that both are at it with equal vigor and dynamism. Apple with its fitness-oriented Apple Watch, a contact payment technology called Apple Pay (a feature on the latest iPhones & Apple Watch) and a new streaming system that promises to revive the music industry, has generated considerable interest.

The headset of the future now works with prescription lenses
The headset of the future now works with prescription lenses

Google, on the other hand, has come up with Google Glass, an optical head-mounted display designed in the shape of a pair of eyeglasses. Wearers of the Google Glass can communicate with the Internet via natural language voice commands.

Apples’ innovative products are classy and appeal to a large section of the affluent tech-savvy society and consistently generate revenue. However, as the initial burst of excitement starts to wear off, the company loses interest.

The same can’t be said about Google. I tend to disagree with the outlandish criticism about Apple that in the two years following Steve Jobs death, the company has ceased to be innovative.

The reason for this criticism attached to Apple is that it is not a monopoly in its products’ markets, and people expect revolutionary new products to be launched consistently.

In fact, Google often praised for their innovation, is nothing but main improvements on what already exists, although there is innovation to an extent or else the company would have faded into oblivion. The same can be said for Facebook or any other technology company for that matter.

The reason the innovation label hangs over Apple is that the organization’s prosperity is seen to rely on the arrival of weighty new items. From the iPod to the iPhone to the iPad, Apple presented standard customer electronic hits that essentially changed the way we live.

Iphone 7 is a great phone, but where’s my headphone jack?
Iphone 7 is a great phone, but where’s my headphone jack?

Individuals loved these items. People love that Apple brought items they lived with and improved their lives. This is the reason consumers need Apple to continue to “innovate.” They need Apple to deliver another item that they can experience passionate feelings for.

The issue is making new items from scratch is truly hard. Pundits discuss Apple making something new as though it can be done at the drop of your hat.

Nothing illustrates this better than Fred Vogelstein’s fantastic story about the creation of the iPhone in the New York Times Magazine. Here’s a selection that aggregates up what Apple confronted when it assembled the iPhone:

Numerous officials and specialists, riding high from their prosperity with the iPod, expected a telephone would resemble building a little Macintosh. Rather, Apple planned and fabricated not one but three distinctive early forms of the iPhone in 2005 and 2006.

One individual who took a shot at the venture thinks Apple then made six completely working models of the gadget it at last sold – each with its own set of hardware, software, and design tweaks.

Some of the group wound up so worn out that they left the organization not long after the principal telephone hit store racks. “It was like the first moon mission,” says Tony Fadell, a key executive on the project. (He started his own company, Nest, in 2010.) “I’m used to a certain level of unknowns in a project, but there were so many new things here that it was just staggering.”

Had the iPhone been a failure or not gotten off the ground by any stretch of the imagination, Apple would have had no other enormous items prepared to declare for quite a while. In fact, the failure of iPhone would have caused the entire corporation to collapse.

The iPhone was a win, and it was such a win, to the point that individuals simply accept Apple can throw together new manifestations without a moment’s notice. This story demonstrates that making a new product category from scratch isn’t something that happens easily, quickly, or without considerable risk to the whole company.

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Apple iPhone7 Event – Live Updates with TimelyBuzz

Get the latest updates on the Apple iPhone7 Event from San Francisco

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From The Editors Technology

Apple Owes $14.5 Billion in Back Taxes to Ireland

When the economy of a country is in dire straits and joblessness rears its ugly head and local companies are not doing much to cure the malaise, The government turns to overseas investors to come in and bail them out and in the process, bends over backwards, roll out the red carpet to investors from foreign lands.

When the company happens to be the largest and richest company in the world governments welcome them with open arms offering them all sort of tax breaks and incentives so long as they set up the base and create jobs for the local populace.

Free land or at very subsidized rates to set up plants is offered everything is done to make the rich investors happy.

The giants take advantage of the incentives and tax breaks and set up camp and everything is hunky dory for years with no problems in sight.

However, at times the bubble can burst and serious problems crop up. This is exactly what has happened in Ireland with Apple the computer titan being recently slapped with a humongous back tax bill to the tune of a whopping 13 billion Euros (11 billion dollars).

Ireland, which is a part of the European Union has been accused of providing what amounts to illegal state aid to Apple.

Governed by EU trade laws, Ireland, in clear violation of the EU stipulations made a deal with Apple whereby Apple was charged only 1% tax going down to 0.5 % in 2014 while the usual rate is 12,5 %.

EU laws clearly and specifically states that EU member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies.

This is a very disturbing and concerning news for the parties involved as well as for trade relations between the United States and the EU for it does not involve a run-of-the-mill company but the behemoth of companies.

The revenue sales and budget of Apple are greater than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of most of the developing countries of the world.

The complex investigation took three years to complete and was conducted by the European Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager.

Vestager’s ruling will not go down well for US and EU trade ties with Apple and Ireland have reacted angrily to the judgement.

Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, has been blunt in his reaction that the ruling

could have severe adverse effects on the job market as companies would now be reluctant to invest in Europe.

Moreover, more companies will come under scrutiny and their tax dealings probed.

According to the commission, the deal with Apple and the Government between 1991 and 2015 had allowed the US company to attribute sales to a “head office” that only existed on paper and could not have generated such profits.

Apple produces a state of the quality products such as Iphones, Ipads, Ipods, computers, accessories and its quality unequalled, Only Samsung gives them a run for their money.

Their latest products in 2016 are iPhone 7, iOS 10, and new Macbooks.

It is being said that Apple avoided tax on all profits from its multi-billion euros sale of Iphon 7s as profits were booked in Ireland rather in the country of sale.

Apple and Ireland said they intend to appeal against the ruling.

The case may drag on for years but if Apple loses and has to pay it will be a windfall for Ireland and the figure of €13bn plus interest is monumental in the annals of EU tax records.

Irish campaigners called for the windfall to be invested in public housing.

The taxable profits of Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe did not correspond to economic reality, the commission said.

Vestager said: “The commission’s investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years.”

Vestager suggested other countries, including the US, might now examine how Apple did business within their borders. These other jurisdictions might then claim a share of the unpaid tax from Apple for the same period. This would reduce the bill owed to Ireland.

However, Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, is confident that the company will win the case.

In the 30 years that it has been based in the City of Cork the company generated from 60 to 6000 jobs during this period.

Cook clearly states that the company never asked for special favours or incentives.

Washington will not take matters lightly and may take action against European firms operating in the U.S.A.

The bill in itself is no big deal for Apple as the company sits atop a mountain of cash of more than $ 230 billion in cash and securities held outside the USA.

The Irish government is not interested in collecting the bill and wants the ruling to be reversed because it wants to preserve its status as a low tax base country for overseas companies.

The Irish finance minister, Michael Noonan, said Dublin would appeal against the ruling subject to cabinet approval as the integrity of the Irish tax system is at stake.

This clearly brings to mind that since the EU has so much clout over the affairs of its member states, did Britain do the right thing to leave the union.

The British have their own currency and was always at loggerheads with the EU on major issues. It did not join the Euro family and retained the pound.

The Irish government will hold a cabinet meeting to discuss the fallout of the ruling. The government insists that the ruling will not go down well with other US companies aspiring to invest in the country.

The main opposition party which has a host of ministers serving in the coalition government support the low-tax regime for multinationals because it has created hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Richard Murphy, a tax campaigner and a professor in international political economy at City University in London, said: “This is a great day for the sovereignty of the EU’s nations when it comes to tax. They will now be able to choose their own tax policies knowing another state should not be consciously undermining them when doing so. The Irish state has for too long been committed to tax abuse, unfair competition and secrecy, all of which are designed to undermine fair competition and increase inequality.”

Many will also question that does the EU have the right to impose its stipulations when it comes to the economic well-being of a sovereign state.

It is not well clear which side will prevail according to a US expert Peter Kenny, senior market strategist at Global Markets Advisory Group.

His opinion says that the appeal may be rejected which would be a clear indication that the business and investment landscape for US companies is changing in Europe.

U.S companies have readily invested in Europe because it was an easy way to circumvent a higher US corporate tax code.

The Stock market did not reverberate with ripples of shockwaves and Apple share price,was hardly affected. Shareholders are fully conscious of the magnitude and cash strength of Apple and know very well that their investment is safe.

The US Presidential elections are just round the corner and as Apple is the richest, largest and strongest representative of the economic strength of theUnited States it will certainly come up as a theme on in the campaign trail.

Donald Trump, pursuing his agenda of “ Make America Great again” has already lamented that US companies have gone abroad or outsourced its needs and he will push to bring back them to operate within their own borders .He has said that he will also lower the US corporate tax rate.

His Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, has also hinted that she might lower the corporate tax rate. She has closer ties to Apple than Trump. Cook held a fundraiser for Clinton last in August and this bodes well for the company.

Apple is such a company that countries around the world would do anything to woo them to set up house in their country. It goes to the credit of the man who built the company Steve Jobs and his partners Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne who established the on April 1, 1976, from a garage.

Had Jobs been alive today he would have come up with a solution acceptable to all for the creative genius and innovative thinking he was gifted withstood him apart from his peers.

The ruling by the European Commission is a minor dent for Apple and the amount involved may be described as pittance or paltry or small change.

The reputation of Apple will remain unscathed and as long as they make such high-grade quality products the question of sales slumping is quite unlikely.

It would do the Europeans and The EU well to come to some sort of compromise arrangement or settlement with the company for if you mess with a company like Apple which has improved manifold the economy and job market wherever it has invested, it would not be a prudent move.

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From The Editors Technology

All You Need to Know Apple Smart Home Vision

Apple Inc. is one of the top computer and gadget creators on the market today. They have an important market share and have raised billions of dollars with the help of their great products that have taken the world by storm ever since they first appeared.

Under a talented and innovative management, Apple has managed to create computers, smartphones, media players and tablets for the entire world to enjoy over with every new release. Apple Inc. is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California, that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and online services. Its hardware products include the iPhone smartphone, the iPad tablet computer, the Mac personal computer, the iPod portable media player, theApple Watch smartwatch, and the Apple TV digital media player. Apple’s consumer software includes the OS X and iOS operating systems, the iTunes media player, the Safari web browser, and the iLife and iWorkcreativity and productivity suites. Its online services include the iTunes Store, the iOS App Store and Mac App Store, and iCloud.

Over the years Apple has not only perfected hardware in functionality and design but has also managed to create a wonderful variety of software options for users from the most tech savvy to the least inclined to use buttons. The applications behind great Apple devices, all which can be found in the App Store offer endless possibilities of enhancement for the simple Apple gadget.

Apple technology
Apple Technology

Technology caught the world by storm and the signs of progress that are still being made with each passing day are without the doubt hitting the world with a bang. Technology has definitely changed the way we live our lives in a big way making everything much easier and faster. It has turned the world into a global village and it is no longer necessary for one to actually be in a place to communicate with someone or perform some other activity. So, we can say that technology has greatly affected our lives.

New technology is everywhere. Automakers are racing to develop self-driving cars, coffee retailers are hoping you’ll use an app to order your morning coffee before you even enter the shop, and retailers hope to offer home delivery by drone in the not-too-far future. Many of us have become dependent on technology as it plays an important role in our daily lives.

Take the daily routine of a person in this technological world. The day begins with a “good morning message” on a social mobile app and ends with a “goodnight” on the same app. The social networking apps/sites are, like a virtual world. The nonstop use of cell phones and the Internet for communication, use modes like Emailing, Social Sites, Instant Messaging, Video Calls, Conference Calls and etc. are the most popular resources of communication among the current generation.

apple home app
Apple Home App

And when we talk about “smart home technology,” we’re not just talking about a washing machine that can sense how big a load of clothing is or a lighting system that dims and brightens as the sun rises and sets. Relatively, smart home covers a range of products and services that allow clients to automate many household devices, appliances and functions according to their lifestyles. To date, the most popular smart home products are smart thermostats, home security and monitoring systems and wireless speakers, but the category is rapidly expanding into other elements of the home.

Apple Inc. is taking over modern tech world, integrates and connects the hardware and software, and makes technology friendly and usable in a way that’s never been done before. It all started with the Macintosh, carried through to the iPhone, and displays itself in modern products like the iPad and the Apple Watch. Apple technology and products are valuable and useful the same time for their users.

Here are few significant tech products Apple Inc. has created and introduced into a new generation of the tech world. Yet no tech company in the past 35 years has done as much advancement as Apple.

Macintosh: Defining the computer for the rest of us.
OS X: No operating system does it better.
iPod: The music world reinvented.
iPhone: The end of the cell phone and the beginning of mobile computing.
App Store: A digital store for a digital world.
iPad: The PC and the TV – reinvented.
Touch: The gestures we all use came from Apple.
Auto discovery networking: Connecting a connected world.
iBeacons: Contextual technology for the real world.
Apple TV, Take 2: Streaming is just the beginning.
Apple HomeKit And Home App: House and appliances connected to the internet via iPhone.

Apple home
Apple Home Vision

Picture this: You are just getting home from a long tiring day at work. But instead of switching on a light switch or the air conditioner, you reach for your iPhone and say, “Hey Siri, I’m home.” And all a sudden, the lights turn on, the window shades begin to rise, and the temperature starts getting cold.

“Welcome To The Future”! Apple announced a new system called HomeKit and home app, it allows users to control connected smart home accessories and home appliances from your iOS device. It was first announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference back in June 2014. The name is a combination of “home” for home automation and “kit” for software developer kit. HomeKit-enabled accessories are secure, easy to use, and work with several Apple devices (including iPhone and Apple TV).

HomeKit is the base of Apple’s vision for our smart home future, a set of interconnecting apps and devices that control lighting, heating and the cycles of your washing machine. But HomeKit is not actually a product that you can go out and buy, it’s a technology platform aimed at developers and makers. Apple HomeKit was introduced into iOS 8, but we never saw it appear during its lifetime. Instead, the new service will go live with iOS 9, the company’s upcoming OS due for the release this autumn.

apple home kit
Apple Home Kit

When setting up HomeKit you’ll need to give everything a name, this will allow Siri to understand what you want to control with a given command. You’ll also be able to group devices, to control many things at once. This would allow you to turn everything off in your living room, second floor, or even everything in your entire house with a single spoken command. Action Sets and Scenes are pre-programmed tasks that can be activated using Siri. For example, you can tell Siri it’s bedtime, and it will set the alarm clock, switch on the door and window sensors, and turn off all the lights. Other useful applications we can think of are, ‘I’m going to work’ and ‘I’m going on holiday’.

One of the major HomeKit components will be the Apple TV, with the media streaming device acting as a central hub for your smart home. Apple HomeKit will go beyond that and include window and door sensors, thermostats, switches, and white goods such as washing machines and fridges. Some companies have announced HomeKit products already; these include Ecobee with an intelligent thermostat, Lutron with some smart lighting, iHome, Honeywell, Philips Hue, Withings, and Insteon.

 

smart home apple
Apple Smart Home Concept

 

HomeKit will feature many privacy and security level according to Apple. The system will feature end-to-end encryption between the iOS device and smart device (meaning the signal would be difficult to intercept and read). Home allows you to control all of your Apple HomeKit devices and Scenes from a single app. One big change Apple has made that could smoothen the entire HomeKit process is the introduction of a native Home app. Set to launch with the iOS 10 software update, which arrives in the fall/autumn this year, it’ll create a central hub where all HomeKit devices can be controlled. It will also introduce a new Scenes feature that will enable you to combine devices to work together at different times of the day. So at night, it’ll lock the doors, lower the lights and turn the heat down and cool the temperature.

siri apple home
Apple Siri Home Vision

Apple smart “Home” app is beneficial in so many ways.There are a couple of benefits to having one standard for smart home devices. First of all, you don’t have to mess around with one app for your lights, one app for your heating, and the other app for your garage door. You can manage all devices from many manufacturers simultaneously. Secondly, security and communication are handled using one fixed standard, which should make for safer and more reliable operation.

apple most valuable brand
Apple is the most valuable brand.

But not everyone will necessarily want to sign up to Apple’s way of thinking and working. Google and Samsung have their own smart home protocols, and at this early stage of the game, it’s not clear just how much ability there’s going to be. In future years you may have to choose your smart home OS as well as your smartphone OS. Apple Inc. has taken over the tech world and to reach more than 600 million users by the end of this year.