Only in Apple’s universe can rumors about the company center on an iPhone it’s developing one week and self-driving car technology it’s developing in another.
After the rumor mill churned out reports last week about Apple’s AAPL apparent iPhone ambitions, this past week centered mainly on its automobile plans. There was talk of Apple bringing on prominent staffers from NASA and elsewhere to bolster its rumored car team, and even a report that suggested the company was already trying out its technology on Silicon Valley Roads.
Meanwhile, talk of Apple’s next big iPhone, believed to be known as the iPhone 8, iPhone X, or iPhone Edition, continued to surface, and Apple’s ongoing spat with Qualcomm took another turn. All in all, it was an eventful week for Apple.
Here are some of the biggest Apple stories from the past week:
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- Apple has quietly poached important talent from NASA to help it rev up its Apple Car. The California Department of Motor Vehicles this week revealed six Apple employees who are authorized to ride in the company’s self-driving car tests. Among them are prominent NASA employees, including Shilpa Gulati, an “experience roboticist” who previously helped created a vehicle that could used to explore one of Jupiter’s moons. Apple has also signed on Jeremy Ma, who formerly worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
- Just weeks after the California DMV gave Apple a permit to test self-driving cars across the state, Apple has petitioned state government to tweak its self-driving car test rules. Apple said that the changes, which would include revisions to how data is reported, could improve the rate at which the self-driving car technology is developed.
- Apple is said to be preparing three new iPhones this year, including one that could come with a major update over last year’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models. However, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said this week that the new handset, which could be known as iPhone 8, might have been delayed from its planned September launch to October or November. Kuo said that Apple is having trouble sourcing enough components and experiencing some other manufacturing difficulties. Apple, of course, hasn’t commented on its future smartphone plans.
- Apple’s ever-contentious feud with Qualcomm escalated on Friday after Qualcomm announced that the iPhone maker stopped paying it royalties in the first quarter. Apple sued Qualcomm in January, accusing the chipmaker of charging exorbitant royalties. Apple has now stopped paying its chip royalties to Qualcomm altogether. In a statement, Apple said that it’s tried to negotiate with Qualcomm, but has been unable to get “fair terms.”
- Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus accounted for 68% of total iPhone sales in the U.S. last quarter. However, that was down from the more than 70% share last year’s iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus secured in the same quarter in 2016, according to research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. The research firm said Apple is having trouble attracting Android users, but has lost few iPhone users to other companies.
- A Dutch judge this week said Apple must replace iPads suffering from problems with Wi-Fi connectivity with new tablets. According to the lawsuit, Apple was replacing damaged iPads in the country with refurbished models. The company’s AppleCare warranty program allows for replacement devices to be refurbished, but the judge said Apple must give customers new models.
- Apple’s original content series Carpool Karaoke has been delayed. Apple had planned to hold a premiere party in March, but rescheduled it without explanation. Apple planned to hold the event on Monday, but again postponed with without giving a reason. The company had previously said Carpool Karaoke would premiere on Apple Music in April. Now, it’s saying the show is coming “later this year.”
One more thing...Apple’s artificial intelligence chief Tom Gruber said at the TED Conference this week that he believes artificial intelligence could, in the not-so-distant future, remember every memory humans have. Yes, even those they’d like to forget.