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Apple Car Opportunity Too Big For iPhone Maker To Ignore: Analyst

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Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey once gave every member of her studio audience a new car. Winfrey, who recently signed a deal to make video programming for Apple (AAPL), could soon be pointing to the iPhone maker and shouting “You get a car!”

Apple has long been rumored to be working on a self-driving electric car, but the buzz has died down over the past year or so. Speculation shifted from Apple making its own vehicle, which some dubbed the iCar, to it making autonomous-car technology to supply to existing automakers.

Guggenheim analyst Robert Cihra predicted Wednesday that Apple eventually will come out with its own car. In a report titled, “The Ongoing Case for an Apple iCar,” Cihra said the market opportunity is simply too large for Apple to ignore.

“We believe Apple needs big new TAMs (total addressable markets) to keep growing and we reiterate our expectation that it ultimately launches a self-driving car, irrespective of contrary news flow and even its own hesitations to date,” Cihra said.
The big draws of a market worth over $2 trillion and the tech disruption caused by electric vehicles plus software and artificial intelligence “make it too hard to resist,” he said. It could open up growth for the next decade-plus for Apple, he said.

“Apple is also investing in original media content as its other big new TAM, but we see cars better fitting its product-centric business model,” Cihra said. Apple has signed video content deals with Winfrey, filmmakers Steven Spielberg and M. Night Shyamalan, among others.

Cihra reiterated his buy rating on Apple with a price target of 215. Apple shares rose 0.7% to 185.50 on the stock market today.

Apple Car Could Move The Needle
The automotive business is one of few markets that could help Apple realize meaningful sales growth, he said.

“Consensus is that Apple has pulled back on ambitions to launch a car and is now just focusing on autonomous tech to sell to others,” he said. But Apple has never acted as a supplier of core technology to others. Its business model is to own and control the end-to-end experience, Cihra said.

Apple has a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California. It also has filed patents in autonomous vehicle control, guidance and navigation systems. There’s also related neural networking, lidar detection, camera and machine vision systems. Plus, it has patents in vehicle climate control and body structure, Cihra said.

“Given the market’s sheer size and parallels to Apple’s historical MO, we remain convinced that it will inevitably be drawn into launching its own car,” Cihra said.

Apple recently hired Jaime Waydo, lead systems engineer for Alphabet (GOOGL)-owned Google’s Waymo self-driving cars. That follows the hiring in April of Google’s former senior vice president of engineering, John Giannandrea. He will be Apple’s new overall chief of machine learning and AI strategy, Cihra said.

Even if self-driving cars ultimately sell more to fleet operators than consumers, the business would still be attractive to Apple, Cihra said.

The New York Times reported last month that Apple is partnering with Volkswagen (VLKAY) to turn T6 Transporter vans into self-driving vehicles to shuttle around Apple’s own employees.

Source: https://www.investors.com/news/technology/click/apple-car-icar-coming/

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4 futuristic transport methods that will change how we travel around the worldaa

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Since the invention of air travel, the world has felt like a smaller place – it’s now possible for pretty much anyone to fly around the globe, learning about different countries and cultures. It’s pretty amazing.

But some companies aren’t satisfied with this – they want to make the world seem even smaller, with faster, more efficient and more comfortable methods of transport.

Ever dreamed of exploring the Australian Outback but been put off by the long flight? A Virgin Galactic flight from London to Sydney might take two hours within the next decade.
Here are four methods of futuristic transportation that are going to change how we travel around the world.

1. SUPERSONIC JETS

Sure, supersonic jets don’t seem new or futuristic. In fact, Concord retired from service 15 years ago, and since then supersonic air travel has been reserved for the military. But now, there are a number of startups working on the next generation of supersonic air travel – promising faster, quieter and more efficient journeys than ever before.
The most well-known company working towards this goal is Boom, which plans to create a 55-seater commercial airliner that will fly at Mach 2.2 (slightly faster than Concord), crossing from London to New York in around 3 hours 15 minutes. Seats will be priced at around $5,000.

New breakthroughs in material and engine technology will also increase the fuel efficiency of supersonic jets, and will likely be comparable to a business class seat on a subsonic jet.

A Boom jet will take to the skies next year for testing, and the company hopes to carry its first paying passenger in 2025.

Oh, and worried about noise? There are companies working on ‘boom-less’ flight, travelling at supersonic speeds without the supersonic boom reaching the ground.

2. VIRGIN HYPERLOOP

First introduced by Elon Musk, a Hyperloop system is intended to move passengers or cargo at airline speeds at a fraction of the cost of air travel.

The Hyperloop concept uses an electric motor to accelerate and decelerate an electromagnetically levitated pod through a low-pressure tube. The vehicle will glide silently for miles at speeds up to 670 mph with no turbulence.

The system is designed to be entirely autonomous, quiet and on-demand.

Hyperloop One has completed construction of a 500-metre Development Loop test track in North Las Vegas and in May 2017, held its first full-scale Hyperloop test. Its goal is to be up and running by 2021.

There are a number of cities hoping to be the first to get the new transport system, including some in the UK. There’s one proposed route between London and Edinburgh, and another between Glasgow and Liverpool.

3. SPACE TRAVEL

There are a number of companies working in the space tourism industry, but it’s another one of Mr Branson’s endeavours, Virgin Galactic, which is the most well known.
Virgin Galactic’s flights are not like traditional rocket launches. Instead of a vertical launch, you’ll start your journey in the six-seater spaceship attached to a lightweight plane known as the Virgin mothership, VMS Eve.

VMS Eve will take off at sunrise and slowly climb to around 50,000 ft. At this point the spaceship detaches and the hybrid rocket will kick in, pushing 3.5 Gs. You’ll accelerate from 140 knots to the speed of sound in 6.5 seconds. The pilot will then pitch the nose up and continue to accelerate vertically, going on to reach four times the speed of sound.

Outside, the sky will change from blue to purple to black – you’ll be able to see this from the front windows, as well as the nine large windows on the side and roof of the ship. These are double the size of traditional aeroplane windows.

The spaceship will reach its peak altitude and remain in space for around six minutes. It’ll be dead silent. During this peak, the seats will fold away and you’ll experience zero gravity, float around, and have your picture taken.

The feather mechanism will kick in, changing the shape of the ship, as it begins to glide back to Earth. It then lands back in New Mexico like a regular plane. The whole flight takes around two hours.

At the moment, that journey will cost you $250,000. That’s clearly a lot of money and only accessible to the super rich (although one or two people have taken out mortgages to fund the flight).

In the future, however, as the ships get larger and can take more people, we could see the introduction of suborbital intercontinental travel.
For example, who says the plane has to land again in New Mexico? You could fly anywhere in the world in under three hours. Richard Branson has predicted that within a generation it will be possible to fly from Australia to London in less than two hours.

4. SELF-DRIVING CARS AND SMART ROADS

SELF-DRIVING CARS have the potential to make travelling easier and safer than ever. Getting around an unfamiliar city could be as simple as opening an app and hailing an autonomous car.

Technically speaking, self-driving cars are already on the road, thanks to a number of brands – but they’re not legally allowed to fully drive themselves yet on public roads, and may not be for a while yet.

There is a long list of companies working on self-driving vehicles, from traditional car manufacturers such as BMW, Audi and Volkswagen, to tech companies such as Uber, Tesla and Google.

The most notable company in this field is Tesla, which is constantly rolling out software and hardware updates for its cars to improve their autonomous capabilities little by little.

Its Autopilot system can already drive a car better than a human, Tesla says, though right now you’re only legally allowed to use it to help you stay in lanes on a motorway, change lanes when needed, and adjust the car’s speed based on the traffic around it.

The emergence of smart roads will make travelling by car even easier. These smart roads will be able to instantly communicate with your car about traffic, parking spaces or hazards, and help you navigate your way around an unfamiliar city.

Source: https://www.t3.com/features/4-futuristic-transport-methods-changing-how-we-travel-around-the-world

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No Price Hike, but New Caps on MoviePass Discount Tix Plan

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MoviePass, a discount service for movie tickets at theaters, is rescinding a planned 50 percent price increase following a subscriber backlash, but imposes new caps on use.

MoviePass, a discount service for movie tickets at theaters, is walking back a planned 50 percent price increase following a subscriber backlash. But the cash-starved company will soon impose a cap of three movies per month, instead of one every day.

The company says the new plan will include “many major studio first-run films,” though there will be exceptions the company didn’t specify. In doing so, MoviePass is rescinding a recent cost-cutting move of barring viewings of most major releases during the first two weeks.

MoviePass has shown that many moviegoers will make time to hit theaters when movies are affordable, despite more convenient options such as Netflix and video on demand. U.S. movie ticket sales are up 8 percent so far this year, according to comScore. MoviePass claims credit for some of that.

MoviePass has grown to 3 million subscribers, from about 20,000, since it slashed monthly rates nearly a year ago to $10, from as high as $50.

But that success has proven costly. Because MoviePass typically pays theaters the full cost of tickets — $15 or more in big cities — a single movie can put the service in the red. Its parent company recently had to take out a $5 million emergency loan to pay its payment processors after missed payments resulted in service outages.

MoviePass has made many haphazard changes in recent weeks to reduce costs, including blocking most or all evening screenings, regardless of when the movie came out. That has led to complaints from subscribers, some of whom have threatened to leave for a rival plan from the AMC theater chain.

Though MoviePass says it’s not raising monthly prices to $15, there’s still a hidden price increase. The company already has a three-movie plan for $8 a month. Now, it will be $10.

MoviePass is also rescinding other cost-cutting measures, including surcharges for popular movies and show times and requirements to send photographs of ticket stubs to combat fraud.

MoviePass says the new cap will affect only about 15 percent of subscribers — those who now watch four or more movies a month.

The new caps take effect Aug. 15, though those with annual subscriptions won’t be affected until their renewal date.
The stock price of MoviePass’ parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc., increased 19 percent to close Monday at 8 cents, though it’s still down from nearly $50 a month ago, adjusted for a reverse stock split.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: https://www.usnews.com/news/entertainment/articles/2018-08-06/no-price-hike-but-new-caps-on-moviepass-discount-tix-plan

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UPS tests ‘smart lock’ technology in New York apartment buildings

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United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N) on Tuesday said it is testing “smart lock” technology that allows its delivery drivers to open doors and drop multiple packages at secure locations inside apartment buildings around New York City.

The test includes “hundreds of non-doorman” multi-family buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn that have installed Latch’s “smart access system.” The project comes as UPS is working to make “last-mile” e-commerce deliveries to households more convenient and cost effective by reducing package theft and the need for drivers to make repeated delivery attempts.

“It’s difficult to securely deliver packages in high-density, multi-family urban residences, especially when people are not at home,” said Jerome Roberts, vice president of global product innovation at UPS.

The partnership with Latch – a New York City-based startup that has raised $26 million in private funding – enables UPS drivers to open entry doors with a handheld device that has a different access credential for each building on a route. Every time a driver enters a building, Latch creates a traceable record.
Derek Banta, UPS’s director of global product innovation concepts, said the parcel delivery company will assess the potential cost savings from “completing more deliveries on the first attempt.”

UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company, and rival FedEx Corp (FDX.N) have invested billions of dollars to upgrade their networks to handle surging demand for e-commerce deliveries. Residential deliveries typically cost more than business deliveries because drivers usually drop more packages per stop at offices than at homes.
FedEx told Reuters it began testing smart lock technology in select markets before the winter holiday shipping season last year. FedEx declined to identify the test markets or its smart access technology partner.

Latch a year ago teamed up with Walmart Inc’s (WMT.N) Jet.com e-commerce site to test its technology at 1,000 residential buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Walmart also made waves in September when it started dropping packages inside homes – or groceries inside refrigerators – as part of a test with August Home smart lock customers in Silicon Valley.

Amazon.com (AMZN.O) late last year announced a secure-lock service called Amazon Key that enables Amazon Logistics delivery workers to briefly unlock a customer’s door to drop a package inside.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ups-latch/ups-tests-smart-lock-technology-in-new-york-apartment-buildings-idUSKBN1K71JO

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