Amazon acquires self-driving startup that employs former Apple Car workers [Updated]

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Amazon buys self-driving car startup Zoox
More than a dozen Zoox employees worked on the Apple Car project before it was scaled back.
Photo: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory/Flickr CC

Amazon is buying Zoox, a self-driving car startup that employs at least 17 people who previously worked on Apple’s Project Titan.

The Information first reported the purchase of Zoox, and Amazon confirmed it Friday in a blog post. The deal could set Amazon back upward of $1 billion.

$500,000 will buy you this stunning replica of the only race car Apple ever sponsored

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Apple Car replica
What better way to turn up to the Apple Park tour once things reopen after lockdown?
Photo: DuPont Registry

Have $499,000 to spare and looking to show off your Apple fandom credentials? A replica of the Apple-sponsored 1979 Porsche 935 K3 race car, which once raced at Le Mans, has shown up for sale online.

Apple sponsored the original car, operated by racing team Dick Barbour Racing, in 1980, only a few years into Apple’s history. That vehicle, which features the Apple Computer name and rainbow colors, is now part of radio host and podcaster Adam Corolla’s extensive car collection. While the model for sale here is just a replica, it’s still a pretty stunning collector’s piece — as suggested by the sizable asking price.

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

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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 automaker 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.

How Apple’s self-driving car fleet fared on California roads last year

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Here's how Apple Car might eliminate blind spots
Will an Apple Car ever be available to buy?
Photo: Aristomenis Tsirbas/Freelancer

Only 23 of Apple’s registered self-driving cars were active between December 2018 and November 2019, according to data provided to California’s Department of Motor Vehicles. In total, Apple’s fleet of modified Lexus RX450h SUVs travelled 7,544 miles during the period.

That’s down from the 79,745 miles its vehicles travelled in the previous year.

CarKey feature buried in iOS beta might let iPhones replace car keys

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A Tesla Watch app concept.
A concept design for an Apple Watch app designed to communicate with a Tesla.
Photo: Eleks Labs

Apple reportedly added code to iPhone and Apple Watch to let these devices function as car keys, giving users one less thing to constantly carry around.

The company began work on such a feature years ago, and supposedly how has finally reached the point where it’s building the feature into iOS and watchOS.

Alleged Apple Car spy also may have possessed secret missile file

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Alleged Apple Car spy may have also had stolen secret missile file
Discovery turns this from an industrial espionage case into a potential national security one.
Photo: Tyler Nienhouse/Flickr CC

The ex-Apple Car engineer charged with stealing confidential files from Cupertino apparently had something else of interest to U.S. prosecutors: a classified file from the Patriot missile program.

This turns what was previously a corporate espionage case into a potential national security one. Jizhong Chen was arrested by the FBI in January. At the time, he supposedly was trying to flee to China with details of Apple’s super-secret self-driving car project.

Here’s how Apple Car might eliminate blind spots

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Here's how Apple Car might eliminate blind spots
Apple's got some fascinating ideas for Apple Car.
Photo: Aristomenis Tsirbas/Freelancer

Currently, drivers only have the rearview and side mirrors of a car to let them know what’s going on behind them. But a new Apple invention describes an upgrade — that may eliminate blind spots by projecting mirrored images of the surrounding environment onto the window or windshield.

This could give the driver more contextual information about their surroundings, depending on where they are.

Apple increases its number of self-driving car test drivers

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Project Titan
Apple has the third-largest self-driving car fleet in California.
Photo: Idiggapple/Twitter

Apple has slightly increased the number of test drivers for its self-driving car project, although the total number of vehicles remains the same.

According to new figures from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Apple is currently testing 69 cars on public roads in California. That’s the same number it had in late April. However, Apple has increased its test drivers from 110 to 143 since then.

Apple’s working on something BIG… this week on The CultCast

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CultCast 399
Apple's recent earnings report was full of delicious surprises.
Photo: Apple

This week on The CultCast: Apple’s working on something BIG, and their massive increase in R&D spending proves it. Plus: we discuss all the surprises Apple unveiled in their recent earnings report, and it was another record breaker. And if you think your conversations with Siri are private, think again! Apple’s been caught reviewing your most personal sound bytes. And a new Moviepass competitor has emerged with a very interesting offer, but is it worth the price? All that and more!

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. Easily create a beautiful website all by yourself, at Squarespace.com/cultcast. Use offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain..

16-inch MacBook Pro details emerge, and the Apple Car lives, this week on The CultCast

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CultCast 398
The all-new 16-inch MacBook Pro could be right around the corner...
Photo: Apple

This week on The CultCast: A new report gives us a price tag and release date for the upcoming 16-inch MacBook Pro. Then: A new hire signals that the Apple Car is far from dead; and there’s finally a way to get podcasts recommendations tailored just for you. Plus, stayed tuned for our favorite shows and Comic-Con trailer in an all-new What We’re Into!

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. Easily create a beautiful website all by yourself, at Squarespace.com/cultcast. Use offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.