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Pebble Announces New Apple Watch Competitor

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On Tuesday Pebble announced their new Pebble Time watch, which will be available in May. At the same time, they launched a new Kickstarter campaign to help fund the device, with a starting price of $159 and an expected retail price of $199. Pebble Time uses a new interface called Timeline that's based on a timeline that includes notifications, news, weather, sports, traffic, reminders, and more. Like the Apple Watch, the timeline elements are fed by apps. And like the Apple Watch, you can get information at a glance. The new interface puts apps more in the background and exerts a bit more control over the user experience. This, too, is reminiscent of Apple Watch. 



Mysterious Apple Vans with Rooftop Sensors Roaming the Country

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Mysterious vans registered to Apple that have an array of sensors mounted on the roof have been spotted around the continental U.S., including California, New York, Wisconsin, and Florida, as well as Hawaii and Panama. According to AppleInsider, the vehicles appear to be carrying cameras, LIDAR, and GPS equipment. Apple, of course, isn't saying anything.



Latest Apple Video, Shot Entirely on iPad Air 2, Features High School Students Making Videos

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Apple aired a new video during the Oscars that featured high school students making videos, with voice-over by Hollywood director Martin Scorsese. The video, which shows snippets of the students' videos as well as behind-the-scenes shots, was filmed entirely on the iPad Air 2. 



Bloomberg: Apple Targeting Year 2020 for Producing Cars

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The New York Times has jumped on the bandwagon and is also now reporting that Apple is focused on developing a car. Citing "two people with knowledge of the company’s plans," the Times said that Apple has assembled a team of over 200 people to work on an electric car. And on Thursday we got the first hint of a timetable: Bloomberg reported that Apple is pushing its team to get the car ready by 2020. That's extremely ambitious, Bloomberg says, given that it typically takes an experienced car manufacturer five to seven years to bring a new model to market. The report says that Apple will likely be competing with both Tesla and General Motors, which are planning to begin selling an electric car in 2017 for under $40,000 that will go 200 miles on a single charge. 



Video Shows How Siri Will Sound More Natural in iOS 8.3

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Apple continues to quietly improve Siri's speech so that it sounds more natural. And a developer who is using the latest preview version of the forthcoming iOS 8.3 has posted a video on 9To5Mac that lets you hear how this new version will improve Siri's diction.



More Evidence Apple Is Interested in Building a Car

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As I outlined in a previous post, there's a considerable amount of evidence that Apple is seriously exploring becoming a car manufacturer, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that Apple has over 300 employees working on the project. 



Gold Edition Apple Watch Could Add Billions to Apple's Revenues

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Apple could add $5 billion to its coffers each quarter in sales of the gold version of their Apple Watch. Expectations are that as much as 17 percent of the Apple Watch sales will be of the pricey gold version, which would translate to one million sales, per quarter, of a wearable expected to sell for $5,000. Are there 4 million wealthy Apple fans who are willing to pony up for that pricetag? If so, it could explain Angela Ahrents bonus of $73 million for leaving the CEO spot at Burberry to run Apple's retail division. That incentive seemed outrageous originally, but she gave up a comparable amount at Burberry. Now she has to work her magic to make sure that number is noise compared to the revenue she may bring in. It may be paying off, as Self magazine is already showcasing an Apple Watch on their cover worn by supermodel Candice Swanepoel.



Apple Acquires Patent for Virtual Reality Headset

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Is Apple preparing for a virtual reality device of their own? A new patent acquired by the company suggests it has at least crossed their minds.



Wall Street Journal: Apple Has Ordered 5 to 6 Million Apple Watches Prior to Launch

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The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Apple has ordered 5–6 million Apple Watches from its suppliers in advance of the April launch. Citing "people familiar with the matter," the report said that half of this initial order will be the low-end Sport model and another third will be the mid-tier watch. The initial order for the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition is relatively small, but the article says that after this first order Apple will be asking suppliers to make 1 million per month. Most are expecting the high-end model to sell for at least $4,000, while the entry-level version will start at $349, according to Apple's announcement.



The Apple Watch That Never Was

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We will be getting the Apple Watch soon, but it may not be the watch we could have had. As powerful as the Apple Watch will be, Apple reportedly had more ambitious plans for their first generation wearable, but they were axed for several reasons, including regulatory approval. If Apple were to start making medical claims, they would need approval from the FDA. While the watch will have a heart rate sensor, the dropped features include tracking of blood pressure and stress levels. Apple apparently couldn't guarantee accurate results, as there are too many variables, such as how tightly the watch is worn.



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