April is getting closer, and we'll soon know if Apple has yet another winner. A lot is riding on the Apple Watch. Wall Street is eager to know that Apple can continue to disrupt industries. Consumers are eager to know that Apple can still come up with the goods. Expectations are high.
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.
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.
YouTube just made the job of parenting a little easier with their new YouTube Kids app (free). The Internet is such a trove of content, and naturally kids want to have access to it. But there's so much there that parents would rather they not be exposed to. YouTube Kids provides a walled garden of content that's rich enough to keep children entertained and to provide opportunities for discovery and learning but that keeps out things parents would rather they not see.
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.
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.
Web pages are often cluttered with ads and menus, all of which can be distracting if you're just trying to focus on reading the text. Fortunately, Safari has a Reader Mode that removes all those distractions and presents the page's text and images in a simple and attractive fashion.
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.
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.
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.