Apple puts Bob Mansfield in driving seat for secret car project

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This is what he looks like when he's driving it.
Photo: Apple

Bob Mansfield has been chosen to head up Apple’s “secret” electric car project three years after stepping down from his executive role, according to a new report.

Mansfield was previously in charge of Mac hardware at Apple and led development of products like the MacBook Air, iMac and iPad.

Secret prototype car caught Steve Jobs’ eye

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Design changes for the V-Vehicle based on Steve Jobs' advice.
Photo: Bryan Thompson/The Guardian

Steve Jobs may not have been holding the reigns at Apple when the company started working on its first car, but the co-founder and former CEO certainly had an interest in futuristic vehicles.

In fact, back in May 2010, Jobs met with the creators of the secret V-Vehicle prototype — a small, lightweight car powered by gas that was designed to sell for just $14,000.

Elon Musk thinks Apple Car will come too late

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Musk is confident Telsa will beat the Apple Car.
Musk is confident Telsa will beat the Apple Car.
Photo: Recode/Facebook

Apple should have started development on the Apple Car a lot earlier than it did, according to Space X and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

The real-life comic-book superhero sat down for an interview at Code Conference and said that when it comes to autonomous cars, Google won’t be a competitor because they’re not a car company, however Apple will be.

Musk thinks it may be too late for Apple to be truly competitive though.

The future of driving tech and the nifty new features coming to iOS 9.3, on The CultCast

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In the not-so-distant future, car drives YOU!
In the not-so-distant future, car drives YOU!
Illustration: GraphicaArtis/Getty Images

This week on The CultCast: super-sized drones, app-controlled robot bartenders, smart coffee mugs and the coolest of gadgets from CES 2016. Plus, don’t miss our picks for the absolutely, positively, you-should-install-them-today, most essential Mac and iOS apps.

Our thanks to Harry’s for supporting this episode. Harry’s super-sharp, German-made razors ship free right to your door and for way less than drugstore razors. Learn more at Harrys.com and save $5 off your first order with code CultCast.

Apple wants to teach Siri how to find your car

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Find My iPhone has been invaluable at recovering lost Apple devices, but if you’re anything like me, keeping track of where you parked the car amid a sea of concrete and sedans is even harder than remembering where you dropped your selfie machine.

Apple’s latest patent filings reveal it has been working to solve those lost car disasters with an ingenious system that could be included in the future iPhones to guide you back to your vehicle, and it doesn’t even need an LTE or GPS signal.

How Apps Turned My Crappy Old Ride Into A Smart Car

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The car of the future fits in my pocket.
The car of the future fits in my pocket.

This story first appeared in Cult of Mac Magazine

I was almost out of gas. I was also almost out of cash. I needed to find the cheapest source of fuel for my beat-up ride so I could get downtown to meet a friend for coffee. I pulled up GasBuddy, and within one tap I found the closest, cheapest gas station near me.

Once I gassed up, I hit a sweet parking spot just a few blocks away from the coffee shop. I launched Honk, swiped across the top to set the time on the meter, and took a photo of my car to make sure I could get back to it.

Sure, fine, it’s not a flying car, but this is as close to the future as this old beater is going to get, and it’s all thanks to my iPhone and a suite of apps.

How I Made My Old Car Future-Proof With Automatic

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This story first appeared in Cult of Mac Magazine.

I drive a 10-year-old Nissan Xterra. When I see new vehicles with technology like Ford Sync and Siri Eyes Free, I get jealous of the ability to send texts and answer phone calls without touching my iPhone. The most advanced thing my car can do is play audio from my iPhone through a stereo jack in the radio console.

Combine the lack of cool tech in my whip and my obsession with the latest gadgets and I was immediately intrigued back in March when I heard about Automatic, a hardware/software startup based in San Francisco that’s pitched as a smart driving assistant. Unlike an expensive add-on that has to be installed by a dealer, the Automatic Link is a $100 dongle (Amazon link) that can plug into the car’s data port found somewhere under the steering wheel. It communicates over low-energy Bluetooth to an iPhone app that records your driving, analyzes your mileage, reads your check engine light, helps you find your parked car and more.

The feature that sold me was the ability to see what was causing my engine light to come on—a problem that has ruthlessly followed me with every vehicle I’ve owned so far. I immediately preordered and my Automatic arrived mid-October.

After using Automatic for about a month now, it’s real usefulness is starting to show. There are features about it I love, and it’s shown me how everyday technology, like an iPhone, can enhance the car experience. The Jetsons-like future of transportation isn’t here yet, but Automatic is a precursor of what’s to come. It gets me excited about how our personal computers will interface with cars in 10 years.