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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.

Parents Note: Google Releases New "YouTube Kids" App


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 Apple Vans with Rooftop Sensors Roaming the Country


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


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. 

Tip of the Day: Use Reader Mode in Safari for Easier Reading


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.

Bloomberg: Apple Targeting Year 2020 for Producing Cars


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


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


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. 

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


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.

Wall Street Journal Reports Apple Developing a Car


What do you do if you have $180 billion in cash? If you're Apple, you develop a car. A number of reports in recent days have said that Apple is working on a design for an electric car and that it's expected to have self-driving features.

Tip of the Day: Manage Your Apple ID Account in Settings


Apple has worked hard to make sure you can do everything from your iPhone and iPad without having to connect it to your desktop computer. Over-the-air system updates and backups via WiFi were a culminating step in this direction. In addition, you can also now manage your Apple ID account from your iPhone or iPad.

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