Apple poaches car design expert from Tesla

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Project Titan
Vehicles testing Appe’s self-driving technology have external sensors. A new hire could help create their final look.
Photo: Idiggapple/Twitter

Andrew Kim used to be a senior designer at Tesla where he contributed to the development of numerous car models. Recently, however, he joined the list of people who’ve left that car company for Apple. 

It’s not yet known what projects Kim is working on for his new employer, but he could be contributing to Apple’s autonomous vehicle project. That said, Kim’s design experience extends beyond cars.

4 lessons Apple Car should learn from Tesla

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Tesla
If Apple really is making a car, it should take some cues from Tesla.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

With all the recent rumors that Apple will build an electric car within the next few years, obviously Cupertino is going to be compared to the big electric car company of the moment, Tesla Motors.

Tesla sold more than 50,000 model S sedans in 2015, so I’m taking a look at four Apple Car lessons that Tim Cook and Jony Ive should learn from Tesla.

Check out the video below.

Weirdest of 2015: This year’s most blistering insults

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Apple fanatics got up to some strange stuff in 2015.
There was plenty of trash talk to go around in 2015.
Image: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac's Best of 2015 In addition to rounding up the best stories of the year, we’re also showcasing the weirdest of 2015, and we can’t do that without including the sickest burns people laid down over the past 12 months.

It’s always strange when companies and CEOs snip and snap at each other like annoyed children. We should expect them to be above that sort of behavior, but guess what? They totally aren’t.

Here are some of the most blistering insults of the year.

MIT: Apple is smarter than Snapchat, dumber than Google

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Tim Cook's commencement address demonstrated again how deeply he understands Apple culture.
S-M-R-T.
Photo: George Washington University

Tesla Motors is the smartest company in the world, according to MIT Tech Review’s latest survey of the brainiest corporations. Apple, which was not on last year’s list returns at number 16, beating out other firms like ride-sharing company Uber and smartbulb-maker Philips. MIT cites the newly released Apple Watch and touchless payment method Apple Pay as its reasons for inclusion, saying that these two products “set the pace for competitors.”

You can see the full list of smartiespants in the table below.

FTC could pave the way for direct-to-consumer iCars

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We'd like to buy this directly from Apple, OK?
We'd like to buy this directly from Apple, OK?
Photo: Josh Baré/DeviantArt CC

In a strongly worded blog post Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission derided legislative attempts to prevent consumers from buying cars directly from manufacturers. While this certainly applies to Tesla Motors’ plans to cut out the middleman on auto sales, the government position would cover any company that wishes to sell cars directly to consumers — like, say, Apple.

Can you imagine a day when we can roll into an Apple retail store, flash an Apple Watch and purchase an iCar with Apple Pay?

Apple car could add a cool $50 billion onto Apple’s revenues

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Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Apple could be sitting on a goldmine with its own Apple-branded car. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

As rumors of an Apple car start to gain speed, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has run the figures to find out what kind of business proposition automobiles could be for a company that tends to steer clear of small or low-margin markets.

His verdict? If Apple cars were even a “moderate success,” Tim Cook and pals could be looking at an extra $50 billion per year in revenues. To put that figure in context, it would be an increase of 23 percent on top of the already impressive cash-generating machine that was Apple in 2015.

Remind us to remortgage our homes to buy AAPL stock!

If Cupertino’s cooking up an Apple car, here are the features we want

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Concept_Car___Syd_Mead_Comp_by_3dnutta-780x488
What would an Apple car look like? Concept art: Josh Baré/DeviantArt CC
Photo:

If Apple really is working on a car, what would it look like? And what would we want it to look like and do?

The growing chorus of rumors about Apple’s possible automotive ambitions — and the hard facts about the car designers it’s already recruited — don’t prove Cupertino is working on a car. But if Apple is staffing up to transform the transportation industry, what features might it deliver in its human-transport device?

Here’s what we’d like to see in the very first iCar.

Apple car? Cupertino’s got the design talent to transform another industry

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BMW_Gina_concept_car
One of the designers in Apple's Industrial Design Group helped create this shape-shifting fabric-covered car for BMW. Photo: BMW

As rumors that Apple is making a self-driving car rev up, a peek under the hood of the company’s famed Industrial Design studio reveals a crew of talented automobile designers.

An interest in futuristic cars is embedded deep within the DNA of Apple’s vaunted design team. Working under Jony Ive, Apple employs designers who worked on several fantastic concept cars, including a fabric-covered BMW that shifts shape depending on speed.

Ive has long been obsessed by cars. (He has quite a stable.) As a teenager, Ive wanted to be a car designer. He visited a U.K. design school that specialized in automotives with a view to studying there, but he found the other students too weird. They were making “vroom vroom” noises as they sketched. Instead, he went to Newcastle Polytechnic (which has since been renamed Northumbria University).

A look at other key members of Apple’s design team, and at a super-secret research-and-development facility planned for the company’s new campus, offers a few clues about how Cupertino might go about producing innovative and unconventional cars.

Sexy sci-fi car gets 84 mpg, costs less than a Mac Pro

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Elio Motors' three-wheeled, fuel-efficient vehicle is a real eye-grabber. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Elio Motors' three-wheeler is easy on the eyes -- and the wallet. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo:

LAS VEGAS — It’s hard to say what’s most amazing about Elio Motors’ three-wheeled car: its sexy frame, its extreme fuel efficiency or its jaw-dropping $6,800 price tag.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 That princely sum — a little less than a 12-core Mac Pro costs — gets you a sleek two-seater that looks like something you’d see in a sci-fi flick. It’s got two wheels up front, one in back and a built-in holder for your iPad.

And on the International CES show floor here, Elio’s got a team of breezy boosters who tout its many forward-looking features with the quick-witted humor of the best car salesmen.

“For $6,800, we ought to charge you for the air in the tires,” Elio Motors rep Don Harris told Cult of Mac when we asked if the iPad was included in the purchase price.