Ex-employee accused of stealing Apple Car plans pleads not guilty

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Apple's Car
Xiaolang Zhang is being charged with stealing trade secrets.
Photo: Aristomenis Tsirbas/Freelancer

The former Apple employee arrested for allegedly stealing plans for the Apple Car has pleaded not guilty to his charge.

Xiaolang Zhang was indicted on one single charge of trade secret theft. He’s accused of stealing a 25-page blueprint for a circuit board for Apple’s autonomous vehicle.

Ex-Apple employee arrested for stealing Apple Car secrets

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Apple car
Apple constantly faces the threat of industrial espionage.
Photo: Aristomenis Tsirbas/Freelancer

An Apple employee who downloaded blueprints for its self-driving car circuit board and then attempted to flee with them to China has been arrested.

Xiaolang Zhang supposedly told Apple of his plans to join a Chinese self-driving car startup, Xiaopeng Motors, shortly before booking his flight. He was arrested on July 7 after going through the security gates at San Jose airport.

Cult of Mac Magazine: Everything you need to know about the iOS 12 beta, and more!

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ios 12
Watch out. The iOS 12 public beta may lave you in need of a public telephone.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

In this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine: The public beta of iOS 12 is out now, so anyone can download it and install it on their device. But what does the new version of iOS actually do? Apple introduced Screen Time, the great new Do Not Disturb, and the powerful Siri Shortcuts at the WWDC 2018 keynote in June. But until you dig into them, you won’t have an idea how great these new features are, along with many more.

You’ll find that story and more in this issue. Get your free subscription to Cult of Mac Magazine from iTunes. Or read on for this week’s top stories.

Popular YouTuber helps Apple develop in-car VR entertainment

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Mark Rober
Apple has some fascinating (if dangerous) research projects underway.
Photo: Mark Rober

Apple has recruited popular science YouTuber Mark Rober to work as part of its top secret special projects group, developing a VR on-board entertainment system for self-driving cars.

Rober has been working with Apple for the past several years, although he has kept news of Apple’s identity secret. In a Reddit AmA, he described it as a “large tech company in the Bay Area.” His name was revealed as part of several patent applications Apple has recently filed.

Apple now has second biggest fleet of self-driving test cars in California

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lexus
The 2015 Lexus RX450h is Apple's vehicle of choice.
Photo: Lexus

Apple still hasn’t publicly announced its plans when it comes to autonomous cars. However, in the meantime it continues to grow its fleet of self-driving test cars — which are now the second largest in the state of California.

At present, Apple has 55 self-driving vehicles that it is testing on public roads. That’s up from just three in April 2017, little over one year ago. In March this year, that number was at 45. Apple lags only behind GM Cruise, which has 104 test vehicles on the road.

Today in Apple history: Apple teams with Volkswagen for VW iBeetle

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The first Apple car, a collaboration with VW known as the iBeetle, rolls onto the scene.
The first Apple car, a collaboration with VW known as the iBeetle, rolls onto the scene.
Photo: Volkswagen

April 22: Today in Apple history: Apple teams with VW for the iBeetle April 22, 2013: The world gets its first Apple car. Well, kind of.

In reality, the iBeetle is a collaboration with German carmaker Volkswagen that offers a car “stylistically linked” to Apple. This means Apple-inspired colors, a built-in docking station for your iPhone, and a special app that lets you control the car’s features.

Apple’s mysterious self-driving car fleet just keeps growing

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Apple's Car
Apple’s self-driving car fleet is wheel-y big.
Photo: Aristomenis Tsirbas/Freelancer

Apple hasn’t yet publicly announced its interests in building a self-driving car, but its research in this area is continuing to speed ahead — with Apple receiving now having more permits to test in California than both Tesla and Uber.

From 27 permits only a few months ago, Apple today has 45 permits to test autonomous vehicles on public roads in California. By comparison, Tesla has 39 and Uber has 29.

Self-driving car kills pedestrian for first time

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Uber - Entry #80 by sankalp - India
Uber’s autonomous car program just recorded its first fatality.
Photo: Uber

Uber’s self driving car program in Arizona has suffered a fatal setback after one of its autonomous vehicles hit and killed a female pedestrian.

The woman was crossing the street in Tempe around 10pm last night but wasn’t using a cross walk when the accident occurred.

VW’s electric cars will be inspired by Apple design

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Apple car
Apple is changing the auto industry even without making a car.
Photo: Idiggapple/Twitter

Volkswagen’s top designer is looking to Apple for some design inspiration

Apple abandoned its plan to build its own car from the wheels up, but car fans might still see some Apple-inspired autos hitting highways by 2020. not be making its own car anymore, but you might still see some Apple-inspired cars on the road by 2020.