The Winding-Down Edition Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Apple To Wind Down Electric Car Effort After Decadelong Odyssey, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple made the disclosure internally Tuesday, surprising the nearly 2,000 employees working on the project, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the announcement wasn’t public. The decision was shared by Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams and Kevin Lynch, a vice president in charge of the effort, according to the people.

The two executives told staffers that the project will begin winding down and that many employees on the car team — known as the Special Projects Group, or SPG — will be shifted to the artificial intelligence division under executive John Giannandrea. Those employees will focus on generative AI projects, an increasingly key priority for the company.

The Apple car team also has several hundred hardware engineers and vehicle designers. It’s possible they will be able to apply for jobs on other Apple teams. There will be layoffs, but it’s unclear how many.

Apple's Scrapped Car Project Means AI And Headset Bets Are More Urgent, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The upshot: Apple’s future isn’t going to hinge on selling $100,000 cars with self-driving features. Instead, it will focus on catching up with rivals in the generative AI industry, where chatbots from OpenAI and Google have captured the imagination of consumers and investors. The shift also lets Apple concentrate on turning the Vision Pro headset — still a fledgling product — into a mainstream hit.

Apple Revolutionized The Auto Industry Without Selling A Single Car, by Matteo Wong, The Atlantic

But Apple is so big, and its devices so pervasive, that it didn’t need to sell a single vehicle in order to transform the automobile industry—not through batteries and engines, but through software. The ability to link your smartphone to your car’s touch screen, which Apple pioneered 10 years ago, is now standard. Virtually every leading car company has taken an Apple-inspired approach to technology, to such a degree that “smartphone on wheels” has become an industry cliché. The Apple Car already exists, and you’ve almost certainly ridden in one.

Apple Is Canceling Electric Car Project, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

In hindsight that makes me wonder if Lynch’s mission wasn’t to ship a car, but more to assess what technologies the group had created could be used to create other products.

Apple, Now Carless, Faces Renewed Questions About Growth, by Martin Peers, The Information

So while Cook can be applauded for having the discipline to call off the project, there is a question of why he didn’t make the decision earlier.

Coming Soon

Apple Confirms That iOS 17.4 Lets Video Calling Apps Turn Off Reactions, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today publicly confirmed that iOS 17.4 and iPadOS 17.4 allow developers of video calling apps to turn off the Reactions feature by default in their apps.

Apple Releases First iOS 17.4 RC, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

iOS 17.4 addresses new regulation in the EU as required by the Digital Markets Act. The primary change is in policy with Apple now forced to allow app markets to compete with the App Store on iPhone. iOS 17.4 delivers the system-level infrastructure to support alternative app stores.


Apple Made A Sports Score App Without The Ads, by Justin Pot, Lifehacker

This application—launched last week in the U.S., U.K., and Canada—shows you the scores from the leagues and teams you've selected...and literally nothing else. There are no news articles, there are no videos, and there aren't even any ads. It's literally just the scores.

Apple Music Debuts Heavy Rotation, A New Daily Made For You Playlist, by John Voorhees, MacStories

What’s a little different about Heavy Rotation compared to the other Made For You Playlists is that it’s updated daily, while the other Made For You playlists get updated weekly.

The Best New iPhone App For 2024 Is An Overnight Success 13 Years In The Making, by Jason Aten, Inc

There's this idea that everything really good just sort of sprung out of a void in the universe overnight. The "overnight success fallacy" is a real thing. For whatever reason, we've become conditioned to believe that success happens instantly. In reality, however, almost nothing that seems like an overnight success really is. Instead, they are almost always the result of dedicated effort over long periods of time.

More importantly, we're conditioned to believe that anything that isn't instantly successful is a failure, and--even worse--if we make something that isn't instantly successful, we are a failure. That's simply not true.

Simple Scan: A Scanning Solution For People Who Don’t Scan Often, by John Voorhees, MacStories

One of my favorite kinds of apps is simple utilities that solve a common problem and are straightforward to use. That’s exactly what Greg Pierce has created with Simple Scan, a scanning app for the iPhone and iPad that simplifies the process of one-off document scans.

Splitscreen Brings A Multi-monitor Setup To Apple's Vision Pro, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Out of the box, Apple’s Vision Pro doubles as a 4K Mac virtual display, allowing you to extend an existing Mac desktop to the device’s spatial computing environment. A new app called Splitscreen takes things a step further, by allowing you to add a second macOS display to your Vision Pro — even if it uses a different Apple ID.

This Mac, iPad And iPhone App Makes Storing And Reading Sheet Music Simple, by Becca Caddy, iMore

Everything about forScore is designed to make storing, categorizing and playing music more intuitive. For example, you can annotate your music, adding metadata to your scores so you can easily search through them later. You can also draw on your music or add text and symbols. When you do that, you can choose to annotate different layers, which can be viewed or hidden instantly.


Apple Met With DOJ Antitrust Chief In Last-Ditch Bid To Avoid Expected Suit, by Leah Nylen, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. representatives met with the Justice Department last week in a final bid to persuade the agency not to file an antitrust suit against the company, according to people familiar with the matter.

This (Very) Simple Trick Completely Changed The Way I Use My Phone, by Hasina Jeelani, Vogue

The first thing I noticed when I turned off my notifications was silence—pure, blessed silence. While a younger me would have shuddered at the prospect, I now have evidence that even the most pressing work queries can—and will—wait until I log in the next morning. And on the weekends, without its constant chiming, I often lose track of my phone for hours, focusing instead on the movie, TV show, or book at hand. It’s a freeing experience, one that I regret not trying earlier.

Tech Has Graduated From The Star Trek Era To The Douglas Adams Age, by Matt Webb, Interconnected

I wish he were here to see it.

Bottom of the Page

Okay, now will all the car makers embrace CarPlay?


Thanks for reading.