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Apple Plays Important Role on Modern Family

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On a very special Modern Family, Apple products played a very important role. The entire February 25 episode was filmed using Apple gear, and tools like FaceTime were integrated into the show. This was a bit of an experiment and there are no signs that this will be a recurring theme although iPhone footage has been used in the past. Apple provided the equipment but did not pay any other promotional consideration for being included. It could have been dismissed as a gimmick, perhaps to get ratings from the Apple fans and news coverage, but the show is doing pretty well on its own. Rather, the novel approach reminded me of the "Point of View" episode of MASH that was shot from a patient's view. It gives the viewer another way to appreciate the show, and the characters, from another perspective.



Apple Adds Nine More Cities to Flyover

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Apple just keeps improving Maps, most recently adding nine more cities to their Flyover feature: Baton Rouge; Boise; Cáceres, Spain; Edinburgh, Scotland; Guadalajara, Mexico; Ponce, Puerto Rico; Linz, Austria; Rennes, France; and Venice, Italy. That brings the total number of locations to 120, according to this list of Maps features on Apple's website. As you likely know, Flyover gives you interactive, 3D, high-resolution imagery of cities, landmarks, and points of interest.



Apple Stock Heads into the Stratosphere, Doubles Next-Highest Stock

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I hope you have some shares of Apple stock, because it just keeps going up. The stock closed over $133 on Monday, giving Apple a market capitalization of $775 billion. That's more than double the market cap of Exxon Mobil, the next highest stock, at $346 billion. According to the Wall Street Journal, this doubling is a rare event, and the last time it happened was 30 years ago when IBM doubled up on Exxon. Earlier this month Apple was the first company in history to exceed $700 billion in market capitalization. Apple stock is up 19 percent in 2015. I hate to say it, but now might be a good time to sell. Everyone is bullish on Apple, and that's typically a good time to cash in. The time to buy is when everyone is dumping a stock, as happened with Apple during the crash in early 2009.



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.



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