Apple has developed a safety control process for autonomous vehicle drivers

Apple has developed a safety control process for autonomous vehicle drivers

During the testing phase of a self-driving car, a driver is there behind the steering wheel to manually control the car in case of technology glitch. Now, to ensure the safety of those engineers, Apple has developed a testing procedure that would act as failsafe controls during autonomous vehicle testing.

This was discovered by Business Insider through public record request. The documents shed light on Apple’s effort to develop autonomous driving technology, and the testing procedure that Apple has created in order to comply with the California Department of Motor Vehicle’s (DMVs) rules regarding autonomous vehicle testing on state roads.

Earlier this month, California DMV gave permission to the Cupertino giant to test its autonomous vehicles on the roads of California. This is quite important as the tests are used for data collection for machine learning and to also monitor how their technology behaves in real world situations.

Now, to test its self-driving technology, Apple is required to train its drivers in how to override an automated system before they hit public roads. The failsafe technology used for these tests is called “Apple Automated System” in the document.

According to the documents, Apple drivers are required to pass seven different tests. Each safety driver has two practice runs and three trials to pass each test. They need to be ready to take manual control of the vehicle.

Apple has applied for a permit for six drivers to drive three Lexus RX450h SUVs. Apple’s drivers who are named in the application, are mostly Ph.Ds specializing in machine learning. Few of them have also previously worked for companies like Bosch and Tesla.

The documents, however, don’t shed much in the way of new light on Apple’s plans for autonomous driving. It does not reveal any information about Apple’s ambitions or strategy in this market.

However, this suggests that the tech giant is serious about self-driving cars, which is a market estimated to be worth tens of billions of dollars, and the Cupertino giant will compete against Google, Uber and Tesla, among others.

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Apple to kick-start experimental testing of 5G wireless technology in Cupertino: Report

Apple to kick-start experimental testing of 5G wireless technology in Cupertino: Report

Apple is looking to give your iPhone and other connected devices a wireless speed boost with its next-generation 5G technology. It is presently being reported, courtesy of an experimental application spotted at the FCC by Business Insider, that the Cupertino giant is planning to conduct tests for its millimeter wave (or mmWave) technology to achieve blazing fast data speeds.

The patent application has been signed by the iPhone maker, approved by the FCC and made public this week itself. The application reads as under:

Apple Inc. seeks to assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum. These assessments will provide engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks.

While this development may have gotten you excited about the prospects of the company’s iPhone 8 shipping with the updated 5G wireless technology, it will actually not be the case. This is because the application clearly mentions that the tests will span across a time period of no longer than a year — which means the next year’s, not this year’s iPhone will include the said technology. This has to be the most feasible timeline, taking into the period of product development.

Apple anticipates that it will conduct its experiments for a period not to exceed 12 months.

The application mentions that Apple has been granted permission to test its 5G wireless technology in two different locations. One being Mariana Avenue, which was originally the company’s headquarters and is now located next to its current headquarters, which are 1 Infinite Loop. The other location for the test is its facility in Milpitas, California.

The Cupertino giant will transmit between the said two locations and use standard equipment, manufactured by Rohde & Schwarz, A.H. Systems, and Analog Devices. They will operate in the 28 and 39 GHz bands, which were approved by the FCC for commercial use earlier last year. The same has been defined in the application as under:

These transmissions will be consistent with the parameters and equipment identified in Apple’s accompanying Form 442 and will include the use of a horn antenna with a half-power beamwidth of 20 degrees in the E-plane and H-plane and a downtilt between 20 – 25 degrees. 

This application falls in line with the company’s plans to make a switch to their own silicon chip designs in upcoming devices. It has already decided to sever ties with Imagination Technologies and could be developing its own 5G chips to part ways with Qualcomm, who is presently involved with Cupertino in an embroiling legal battle. Apple has alleged the chipmaker of charging add-on royalties for the technology it is not even providing.

As for the development of 5G wireless technologies, they’re presently in a nascent stage and no concrete standards for the same are defined as of yet. While telecom giants such as AT&T or T-Mobile are trying to expand on the capabilities of its 4G LTE networks to lay groundwork for the upcoming 5G revolution, some giants like Nokia (and now Apple, which wasn’t part of the scene before) are directly working on the mmWave technology to figure out quirks and achieve Gigabit speeds.

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Apple’s new Home app website gives you a look at life in a connected house

Apple News

Internet of things is one of the fastest growing sectors in technology. The market is expected to have a worth in hundreds of billions within a few short years. Needless to say, the market has attracted the attention of tech behemoths including Apple, Google and Amazon. The Cupertino based iPhone maker is ramped up its marketing antics and has added content to its newly updated Home app website.

Along with greater details about Aple’s Home app and all the devices that fall under the range of controllable gadgets, the website also includes a video that shows how Apple’s services in home automation could make life easier.

With the Home app, you can easily and securely control all your HomeKit accessories. Ask Siri to turn off the lights from your iPhone. See who’s at the front door on your iPad. And even control things remotely with the help of Apple TV. The Home app makes all your connected devices work harder — and smarter — for you.

As far as the practical application of these systems is concerned, well, many of these devices still come with price tags heavy enough to prevent them from becoming a full-fledged, mass product. That would of course change as the technology evolves and becomes more mainstream, but companies working in the sector would have to come up with more than a coffeemaker to get people really interested. Operating a coffeemaker isn’t exactly rocket science, and neither is walking a few steps — I mean you are going to have to walk to the coffeemaker to pour it out anyways, right?

With that said, this is how technologies evolve. They start with the mundane and suddenly become important. As the website shows, you can also create scenes that perform a bunch of actions simultaneously. So, breakfast could turn on the coffeemaker, open the blinds and turn on the heat while bedroom could turn the lights low, turn on the air conditioner and put on your favorite movie on the TV.

Apple also mentioned the fact that its Home app and home automation systems were compatible with over 50 brands.

You can also do stuff like setting your lights to turn on as soon as you pull up to the house, use a motion sensor in the doorway to turn your kitchen lights on when you walk in and so on. Apple has elaborated at great lengths about the possibilities in its new website. You can give it a look right here.

Meanwhile, the niche is almost certain to become huge. It is more a matter of when rather than if, with the when depending upon how soon companies can the prices go down and the usefulness go up. Considering the effort being put into the field by startups and established companies alike, its just a matter of time.

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Apple’s Futuristic New HQ Set to Open Doors in April

Apple's new HQ

With 17 megawatts of rooftop solar, Apple Park will run one of the largest on-site solar energy installations in the world.

The Apple HQ spaceship, which hasn’t embarked on any interstellar trips but sure looks like it could take off and get to warp speed pretty quickly, will soon be boarded by about 12,000 crew members.

Apple on Feb. 22 revealed that Apple Park, the company’s new 175-acre Cupertino, Calif. campus, will be ready for employees sometime in April. The process of moving more than 12,000 staff people will take about six months; final construction of the buildings and parklands is scheduled to continue through the summer.

Apple Park, which for more than two decades was a Hewlett-Packard Co. site for business conferencing and engineering offices (to go with a very large parking lot), has become a ring-shaped, 2.8 million-square-foot main building protected on the exterior by the world’s largest panels of curved glass.

With 17 megawatts of rooftop solar, Apple Park will run one of the largest on-site solar energy installations in the world. It is also the site of the world’s largest naturally ventilated building, projected to require no heating or air conditioning for nine months of the year.

The new headquarters, which has been under construction since 2013, originally was proposed by Steve Jobs, who hired Norman Foster, an acclaimed British architect, to design the campus. Job died in October 2011 and only got to imagine what his dream office would look like.

The central building is a four-story ring with a giant park in the center, filled with hundreds of fruit trees. The new campus will also include a 100,000 square-foot workout facility, a 1,000-seat underground auditorium and a huge underground car park, leaving space for miles of cycling and walking trails.

In all, the campus will have parking spaces for about 20,000 vehicles. Public transportation to and from Apple Park is a bit problematic, since there is no nearby rail connection.

Site Will Be Entirely Power-Sustainable

Apple aims to make the campus completely sustainable on renewable energy. Recent drone footage reveals some of the 700,000 square feet of rooftop solar panels being installed on the main building, which also features the largest piece of curved glass in the world.

Jobs would have turned 62 on Friday, Feb. 24. To honor his memory, Apple said the theater at Apple Park will be named the Steve Jobs Theater and will open later this year. The entrance to the 1,000-seat auditorium is a 20-foot-tall glass cylinder, 165 feet in diameter, supporting a metallic carbon-fiber roof. The theater is situated atop a hill on one of the highest points within Apple Park, overlooking meadows and the main building.

“Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come,” CEO Tim Cook said. “The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We’ve achieved one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world, and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy.”

Will Include Visitors’ Center and Apple Store & Cafe

Apple Park also will include a visitors center with an Apple Store and cafe open to the public, a 100,000-square-foot fitness center for Apple employees, secure research and development facilities and the Steve Jobs Theater.

The parklands offer two miles of walking and running paths for employees, plus an orchard, meadow and pond within the ring’s interior grounds.

Apple Park replaces 5 million square feet of old-school asphalt and concrete with grassy fields and more than 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees.

The iPhone 8 might break a record set by the iPhone 6

The iPhone 8 might break a record set by the iPhone 6

Apple might start reporting launch weekend iPhone sales numbers again next year, assuming this report is accurate: renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the iPhone 8 will convince a massive number of buyers to purchase the phone, helping Apple eclipse the current record.

Apple had announced before iPhone 7 sales started that it won’t report launch weekend numbers, prompting many to speculate that Apple is not expecting the new phone to top the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s’s launch weekend performances. Even so, indirect analytics data revealed that Apple did very well, with the iPhone 7 sales performance being comparable with previous years.

Kuo said in a note to investors received that Apple might sell between 120 million and 150 million iPhone 8 units in the second half of next year. Apple sold between 110 million and 120 million iPhone 6 units in 2014. The iPhone 6 represented a major redesign, and the first iPhone series to feature a bigger display.

The new OLED iPhone would drive this unprecedented iPhone demand, although the other two iPhone 8 models will not be boring. The same Kuo said the 4.7-inch LCD model will also have an all-glass design and feature wireless charging support, just like the OLED version.

Kuo said that the OLED iPhone 8 will represent Apple’s major redesign, while the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus would be iterative updates to the current iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. All iPhones are expected to offer similar specs when it comes to internal hardware. Furthermore, the OLED and iPhone 8 Plus versions should have dual-lens cameras on the back.

Apple is expected to launch the new iPhones in mid-September, so we’ve got plenty of waiting to do.

Everything You Need to Know About the Apple Encryption Debate in One Simple Analogy

There’s a lot at stake in the ongoing Apple encryption debate.

Apple is arguing that this is a “security versus security” issue. The privacy needs of everyday people is as important as the needs of the government and its ability to investigate cases.

The other side is arguing the rights of the victims require a special “backdoor” method to gain access to the data on a phone used by the San Bernardino shooter.

Here’s a simple way to understand that.

Imagine there’s a box that contains a detailed plan for another terrorist attack. The problem is that someone lost the key to the box. The only way into the box is to break it open, but there’s a risk that the contents would be destroyed.

Now, the FBI wants a way to open the box that does not exist yet, one that must be newly created, so they have asked the company that made the box to give them a special key that can open any box. Make sense so far?

At this point, there’s an important question to ask. If the box company can make a key that opens any box, is there any way to guarantee that the key is never misused? If the magic key fell into the wrong hands, another terrorist could use that same key to find out about how to break into a nuclear power plant or do other heinous act. A criminal could use it to find the location of your kids or steal your credit card information. It could be used for nefarious purposes. That’s obviously a problem.

Also important: If the box-maker decided to provide that magic key to the FBI, what does that mean for other box-makers? In my mind, it makes any other box much more valuable…and much more secure. We would all decide to use that box instead. It also means that a company outside of the U.S. could make the box, particularly as a way to differentiate themselves from the company that decided to make the magic key and compromise. In this case, Apple has decided not to make the magic key, and I support their decision. In terms of cyber-security, it’s the only way.

And yet, I have one big concern.

What if the box contained the plans for a much more extensive terrorist attack? Wouldn’t we do anything possible to open it? Wouldn’t it be an emergency? Would we just sit around and debate? Isn’t all of the back and forth just taking up more time if the box would prove valuable in stopping another attack?

My fear is that the issue has become too focused on the privacy of every user and not on the act of unlocking the phone to retrieve the information. The focus should be on a solution. I wonder why Apple thinks this “new code” would get out in the wild. It does make sense that it could set a precedence for creating a backdoor for other cases, and in many ways that is the real concern here. My concern is one of urgency. We need to find a way to open the box without making compromises.

It’s hard for me to come down on this issue with a definitive “Apple should never make the key” since this is an issue of national security. It’s also hard for me to say Apple should make any compromises at all. How about you? Have you landed on the perfect answer? Let me know in a public forum like my Twitter feed.

Apple car could drive company to $1 trillion valuation

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Apple Inc.’s experimentation with car technology could help push the company’s valuation past $1 trillion within the next 12 months from nearly $750 billion today, according to the new bull-case price target set Monday by Morgan Stanley.

The brokerage raised its 12-month stock price target on Apple AAPL, -0.07%  to $160, from $133 previously, and established a $190 bull-case scenario, up from $160. Morgan Stanley’s previous bull case didn’t take into account the car opportunity.

Apple’s expanding ecosystem, including the Apple Watch and CarPlay, have created a “virtuous cycle” that could quadruple Apple’s total addressable market by 2020, said Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, whose price target puts her among the most bullish Apple analysts on Wall Street.

‘We are convinced that Apple will have a significant presence in the auto industry in the coming years.’

Morgan Stanley

While Apple hasn’t confirmed plans to develop its own car, reports have suggested that it is hiring auto experts, including former Tesla Motors Inc. TSLA, +2.06%  employees, and has established a top-secret team to invest in car technologies.

The company’s iOS-based CarPlay, which brings iPhone features to the touch screen control panel on a vehicle’s dashboard, rolled out in several car models this year, and Morgan Stanley auto analyst Adam Jonas said it would be natural for Apple to expand beyond infotainment to the rest of the interior, particularly if driverless-car technologies begin to be more integrated within new vehicles.

“Cars could become the fourth screen, after PCs/tablets, smartphones and TVs,” Huberty said.

Apple declined to comment on what it called “rumor and speculation.”

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In a report last week, Jonas said he would not be dismissive of Apple’s automotive ambitions, calling the potential opportunity too large to ignore.

The brokerage’s calculations put the total automotive addressable market at $10 trillion, with the annual revenue potential on new vehicles amounting to roughly $1.6 trillion, compared with the current global smartphone market of $400 billion. Jonas’s argument is that if Apple were to corner just 25% of the value of the car, its revenue potential would equate to that of the entire smartphone industry today.

Shares of Apple traded up 0.2% to $128.71 in recent trade. They are up more than 71% over the past year.

Apple Car Seen as Serious Competitor by Auto Executives

Automotive executives are taking seriously the prospect that Apple Inc. and Google Inc. will emerge as competitors even as they consider partnering with the two.

“If these two companies intend to solely produce electric vehicles, it could go fast,” Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said at the Geneva International Motor Show. “We are also very interested in the technologies of Google and Apple, and I think that we, as the Volkswagen company, can bring together the digital and mobile world.”

Apple has been working on an electric auto and is pushing to begin production as early as 2020, people with knowledge of the matter said last month. Google said in January it aims to have a self-driving car on the road within five years.

The timeframe — automakers typically need at least five years to develop a car — underscores the aggressive goals of the two technology companies and could set the stage for a battle for customers. The market for connected cars may surge to 170 billion euros ($190 billion) by 2020 from 30 billion euros now, according to a German government policy paper obtained by Bloomberg News.

“The competition certainly needs to be taken seriously,” said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. “The closer we get to autonomous driving, the weaker the connection becomes between the customer and the car. And Google and Apple aren’t burdened with old technology but can start fresh.”

Barriers Falling

Tesla Motors Inc.’s success in creating a startup car company has also shown that the traditional barriers of entry into the auto industry aren’t as difficult to overcome as some thought. Tesla and General Motors Co. are both targeting a 2017 release of an electric vehicle that can go more than 200 miles on a single charge and cost less than $40,000.

At the same time, automakers have struggled to bring technical leaps to car development, something that Silicon Valley is also seeking to accomplish. For example, Google Inc. has invested in developing an autonomous vehicle since 2010.

“It’s exactly what this industry needed: a disruptive interloper,” said Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. “It’s a good thing but when you are one of the guys whose life is being disrupted then you are not necessarily looking forward to the event.”

German Plan

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing party is seeking to help German carmakers and technology companies better compete with Silicon Valley. Merkel’s bloc is working on legislation to advance the move toward driverless cars, according to a policy paper provided by two lawmakers who asked not to be identified because the draft isn’t public. The goal is to present a plan before the Frankfurt auto show in September.

“We never underestimate any competition,” said Ian Robertson, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s sales chief. “The entry barriers, which were in the past maybe more substantial, are now slightly lower. But at the same time, the complexities of the car industry are still there as well.”

An experienced automaker typically spends five-to-seven years developing a new vehicle from scratch, with just the testing phase needed to get regulatory approval often taking three years. Analysts estimate for a company from outside the industry to build a car could take a decade.

Apple Funding

Apple, which posted record profit of $18 billion during the past quarter, in any case has the funds to do it. The Cupertino, California-based company has $178 billion in cash and CEO Tim Cook has been pushing the iPhone maker to enter new market segments to further envelop users’ digital lives with Apple’s products and services.

“The traditional thinking in the automotive industry isn’t suited to exploit the opportunities in the Internet community,” Wolfgang Ziebart, Jaguar Land Rover’s head of engineering, said in an interview. “If you need committees and so on to make decisions, then you’ve lost before you started.”

Apple’s foray into cars follows a path it’s taken to break into other industries. The company wasn’t the first to make a digital-music player or smartphone, and only entered those markets once it had a compelling product. Google says it’s seeking partners to help realize co-founder Sergey Brin’s vision of safer and more efficient mobility.

And while car manufacturers see Google and Apple as potential competitors, they also view them as partners to advance their own technology. A number of automakers last year signed on for Google’s Open Automotive Alliance to bring the Android operating platform to cars.

“The key element is to make sure that when we’re working with them — and we’re totally open to work with any of them — it’s a real win-win,” said Didier Leroy, Toyota Motor Corp.’s European chief. “The carmakers don’t want just to become a kind of commodity, where somebody will only deliver an empty box and somebody will put in the box something which will be the real added value.”

 

Original article can be found here:

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-03/apple-car-seen-as-serious-competitor-by-auto-executives

Apple Car Coming Soon

Mooted Apple electric car is expected to be released by the end of the decade

Speculation regarding a possible Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Car has been accelerating, and to exacerbate this process the website carwow has produced a digital impression of this mooted vehicle. And considering the well-documented links between Apple and Tesla, it should not come as a huge surprise that this particular impression of the Apple Car very much resembles a Tesla vehicle.

Apple-Tesla links

Apple has previously been associated with Tesla for several reasons. Firstly, it was reported last year that the consumer electronics giant could be in buyout talks with the electric car manufacturer. Apple has invariably denied this, but links between the two corporations continue.

 

It has also been asserted that Apple is intending some sort of collaboration all linked-up with Tesla, with the intention of strongly pushing its software as a car-based solution. But the strongest indication that Apple is planning to manufacture an electric car has been with regard to the revolving door between the two companies. Although, it must be said that this door is primarily revolving one way.

Rumors about a possible Apple electric car were stimulated by the fact that Apple has recruited numerous notable individuals who previously worked for Tesla. Not to be outdone, it was reported by Bloomberg Business in February that Tesla had also been recruiting employees from Apple. Tesla has hired at least 150 former Apple employees; more than from any other company.

Producing an electric car would also seem to make sense for Apple in some respects. There is certainly scepticism that Apple has the production capabilities to produce an electric vehicle, and there will also be issues for the company with regard to some of the logistics of vehicle manufacturing.

Apple Car

 

Apple Car logical

But Apple has always attempted to push its green credentials, and it obviously has many of the capabilities and much of the experience required to manufacture something which is at least partly electronic in nature. And somehow an electric vehicle just seems to fit the Apple remit and image. There is something inherently Apple-like about an electric car, quite aside from the fact that the consumer electronics giant is already very strongly placed to produce software for vehicles.

Apple’s Tesla-like vehicle

Thus, the carwow impression of a possible Apple Car is certainly not baseless. Already the media has dubbed the potential Apple electric vehicle as the iCar, but whether this would seriously turn out to be the name of an Apple Car is dubious. Apple has moved away from naming all of its products as iDevices with the release of the Apple Watch, and it seems an unlikely prospect for Apple to call its proposed vehicle iCar.

Nonetheless, according to this hypothetical design, the links between Apple and Tesla are about to intensify. It is notable that the Apple Car could take strong cues from the Tesla Model S, which would seem to be logical considering that Tesla is by far the most successful manufacturer of electric cars in the history of the niche.

 

Other technical specifications involved in the vehicle include a futuristic looking interior, featuring an iPhone dock on the center console, large navigation displays, and a separate screen for the front passenger. Clearly this is precisely the sort of design which one would associate with Apple, and it seems inevitable that any Apple Car would be one very much focused on multimedia.

 

Apple Car challenges

One cannot underestimate the massive undertaking involved in producing a motor vehicle from scratch. Apple has absolutely no experience in this whatsoever, and simply producing a roadworthy car is a huge challenge. Once this has been achieved, convincing the notoriously harsh and demanding motoring press that you have produced a genuinely high-quality vehicle that people will actually want to drive will be no easy task. And Apple cannot call upon the usual cachet which is the foundation of its success in consumer electronics; if anything people will be sceptical about the haughty claims of this newcomer to the auto trade.

So with this in mind, it is perhaps not surprising that the technical specifications proposed for the so-called Apple iCar are somewhat modest. Carwow claims that the top of the range Apple vehicle would benefit from 250 BHP Billiton plc (NYSE:BBL) (LON:BLT) (186 kW) and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) output while the battery pack would last for up to 310 miles (499 km). It also believes that a recharge of an electric car produced by Apple would take around four hours.

Apple Car

Apple Car by 2020

Although Apple will remain resolutely quiet about the prospect of an electric car for many years, as is its general conduct, analysts believe that we can expect such a vehicle by the end of the decade. Having said that, the number of delays which Tesla has experienced with regard to some of its vehicles, and the general trend of release dates of motor vehicles being pushed backwards, suggest that this should be very much viewed as a tentative suggestion.

Another interesting aspect of a possible Apple Car is the idea that it will feature some form of autonomous driving technology. This is becoming increasingly feasible with modern technology, and indeed numerous vehicles already feature driving assists, with apps available to expand this process still further. By the end of the decade, and even some way into the next decade, by which time Apple is expected to have released this proposed vehicle, such autonomous technology will have advanced even further.

In the meantime, Apple is also strongly pushing its CarPlay feature. As in all areas that Apple becomes involved in, there is already a battleground between Apple and an Android competitor, Android Auto. Many analysts believe that Apple’s interest in the electric car niche is at least partly motivated by its intention to dominate it with its own proprietary software.

And the company has certainly been making progress with this plan, with current Apple CEO Tim Cook suggesting during a media event recently that the Apple CarPlay infotainment system will become available on 40 new car models before the end of the year.

Apple clearly has designs on the car market by hook or by crook, and it could be that many of us will be driving around in an Apple ‘iCar’ before too much longer.

 

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Apple Car Resembles Tesla Vehicle In These Concept Images

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