New Apple Park Drone Video Shows Off Last Minute Construction as Opening Draws Near

Drone videographer Matthew Roberts has posted a new video on his YouTube channel this morning, covering the ongoing progress of construction at Apple's soon-to-open campus, Apple Park. A few weeks ago, Roberts posted what was expected to be the final update before Apple Park's grand opening, but the campus still hasn't opened its doors to employees with just a few days left in April.

Ever since Apple officially announced the name for Apple Park back in February, construction on the site has ramped up rapidly over the ensuing weeks. Today, solar panel installation on the roof of the central "Spaceship" building appears nearly complete, while the courtyard of the building is still seeing major construction related to the large pond and surrounding greenery.


Landscaping everywhere on the campus has been expanding over the past few weeks, so much so that Apple has caused tree shortages for other companies in the area. In Roberts' newest video, it's evident that there is still much time left for Apple's landscaping to be finished, which will eventually end with 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees spread across the site.

The continuation of landscaping, as well as construction on some of Apple Park's auxiliary buildings, will continue into the summer, well after Apple moves the first employees into the main building. While some of the side buildings are complete -- like the parking garage -- a few still have a ways to go, including the new campus auditorium, which has been named the "Steve Jobs Theater" in honor of the late CEO.

Once employees begin moving in, it's estimated to take Apple around six months to move in all the workers coming to Apple Park, which will number about 13,000. Earlier in April, another well-known drone videographer, Duncan Sinfield, shared off a video of what Apple Park looks like when it's lit up at night.


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AT&T Customers With Grandfathered Unlimited iPad Data Plans Will See Throttling After 22GB of Usage

AT&T today sent out emails to customers who continue to have a grandfathered unlimited data plan for the iPad, informing them that its unlimited status is essentially being eliminated on May 24, 2017.

Going forward, customers with an unlimited tablet data plan may see their data usage throttled when using more than 22GB of data during a single bill period. According to AT&T, data may be slowed down during times of network congestion.

While that's in line with AT&T's policy for its newly announced unlimited data plans, it's a big change for iPad owners who are not used to having a data cap in place. Prior to the change, iPad owners with the grandfathered unlimited plan have not been subject to restrictions.

AT&T briefly offered unlimited iPad data plans after the original iPad was released in 2010, but phased them out just months later. Since then, customers who managed to purchase one of the plans have been able to hold onto them, making the unlimited plan highly coveted.

The plans required no contract and cost $29.99 per month, with customers able to transfer them to new iPads and even sell them to other iPad owners. With the change coming on May 24, the original unlimited iPad data plans will be much less attractive.

(Thanks, David and Eli!)

Tag: AT&T

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Review: OWC’s Thunderbolt 3 Dock Gives Your MacBook Pro 13 More Ports to Work With

Last November, longtime Mac vendor OWC was among the first wave of companies to announce Thunderbolt 3 docks designed to expand the capabilities of the new MacBook Pro. It's taken a while to finalize the product design, testing, and manufacturing, but OWC's Thunderbolt 3 Dock is now just about ready to ship and we've had a chance to spend some time with a production-ready unit.


Priced at $299, OWC's Thunderbolt 3 Dock includes an array of 13 ports to allow you to connect a host of devices to your MacBook Pro. It all comes in a package measuring about 9 inches by 3.5 inches and an inch thick, with brushed aluminum around the sides and glossy black plastic on top and bottom.

The design is relatively unobtrusive, although the OWC logo and "Thunderbolt 3 Dock" text on the front are fairly prominent. The dock is powered through a decently large external power brick, which cuts down on the size of the dock itself but means there's one more piece of equipment to tuck away with all of your other cords.
Continue reading Review: OWC’s Thunderbolt 3 Dock Gives Your MacBook Pro 13 More Ports to Work With

Repair Period for First-Gen Apple Watches With Battery Issues Extended to 3 Years

Apple today informed retail store employees and Apple Authorized Service Providers that it is extending the service coverage for first-generation Apple Watch models experiencing battery problems to three years.

In an entry in Apple's repair database (via 9to5Mac), the company explains that coverage is extended for original Apple Watch models that are seeing swollen or expanded batteries. A public announcement about the service extension has not been made, and it's not clear if Apple will offer reimbursements for customers who have already paid for battery replacements or have done battery replacements themselves.

Image via MacRumors forum user Rosepod5

Customers who have an original Apple Watch afflicted with a swollen or expanded battery will now be able to have the device repaired for up to three years after its purchase date, even when AppleCare was not purchased for the watch. From the repair database:
Apple has extended Service coverage for eligible Apple Watch (1st gen) models with an expanded/swollen battery to three years after the original date of purchase. Eligible devices will be covrered for two years beyond the original 1-year Limited Warranty.
Complaints about swollen batteries on the original Apple Watch have been circulating for a few months on reddit, the Apple Support Communities, and the MacRumors forum.

Reports are rare, but it does appear to be an issue affecting a small number of original Apple Watch users. The battery problem causes the Apple Watch screen to pop away from the casing, rendering it unusable.

The first-generation Apple Watch, first introduced in April of 2015, recently reached its second birthday on April 24.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3
Tag: Apple retail
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Apple Asks California DMV to Make Changes to Autonomous Vehicle Testing Policies

Apple has asked the California DMV to alter the rules that require it to publish detailed public reports about the success of Apple's self-driving car tests, according to papers shared by the DMV. If the DMV complies with Apple's request, less information would be included in the reports. [PDF]

In a letter, Apple says it is "investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and goes on to say the company is "excited" about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.

One of the SUVs Apple is using to test its autonomous driving software, courtesy of Bloomberg

The company then proposes that the DMV "amend or clarify" its positions in the areas of disengagement reporting, definitions, and testing without safety drivers. Apple is concerned that inconsistency in how permit holders reports disengagements can lead to media coverage that causes public confusion and misunderstanding. Apple wants disengagement reports to cover times when a driver takes control of a vehicle to prevent a crash or traffic violation, and little else.
Apple suggests the following changes to the disengagement reporting requirements to achieve an objective set of data to accurately and clearly inform the public about the safety of the automated vehicles being tested

A disengagement should be defined as an unexpected event or failure that requires the safety driver to take control of the vehicle in order to prevent a crash or traffic violation.

A disengagement should not be reported for the following:
- Operational constraints where either the safety driver has been trained to disengage the system, or when the system detects the constraint and disengages automatically. For example, a system that requires the safety driver to navigate through a construction zone.
- System errors or failures. For example, a software bug or sensor dropout that does not affect the safe operation of the system.
- Discretionary decisions made by the safety driver. For example, when the safety driver perceives a vehicle is approaching too quickly and opts to disengage the system.
- Any tests that are planned to result in a disengagement.
- The end of a test or experiment.

Additionally, the proposed requirement in §227.50(b)(3)(B)(vi) to describe the type of incident that would have happened without the disengagement should be removed. It requires speculation about future events that have not occurred.
Apple two weeks ago was granted a permit for testing autonomous vehicles on public roads, and has already begun to do so. The company has three Lexus SUVs equipped with sensors and cameras, presumably running the autonomous driving software the company has been working on for the last several months. Those SUVs have been spotted on Cupertino roads this week.

By participating in the DMV's Autonomous Vehicle Testing Program, Apple will need to publicly share many details about its testing process, which will make it difficult to keep development on the software under wraps.

Related Roundup: Apple Car

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MacRumors Giveaway: Win an iPhone-Connected Pearl RearVision Car Backup Camera

For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with Pearl Automation to give MacRumors readers a chance to win the Pearl RearVision iPhone-connected wireless car backup camera system.

Priced at $499.99, the Pearl RearVision is a backup camera kit that's designed to be installed on a car's rear license plate, giving iPhone users a simple way to get an aftermarket backup camera.


This system, compatible with cars made in 1996 and newer, is designed to work with an iPhone 5 or later, and it includes a Camera Frame, Car Adapter, and Phone Mount for use with the iPhone. It's easy enough to set up that it doesn't require a professional - it's similar to installing a license plate cover.

Once the Camera Frame is installed, it connects to an iPhone running the accompanying Pearl app and displays whatever's behind the car in either portrait or landscape mode using two wide-angle 180 degree HD camera lenses, one with infrared for night vision capabilities. The Car Adapter also plugs into the car's OBD port, and the whole thing connects to the iPhone over WiFi and Bluetooth.


Pearl RearVision includes collision detection and gives audible and visual alerts when objects, including cars and people, are in the way of the car. The warning noise varies based on how close an object is to the camera.

Using the iPhone's screen, it's possible to pan left and right to get a better view of what's behind the car, and the frame itself is both water resistant and theft resistant. A built-in solar panel provides power, allowing the device to be wire-free, while a built-in battery stores power.


We have one Pearl RearVision to give away to a MacRumors reader. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and send the prize. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the giveaway restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The contest will run from today (April 28) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on May 5. The winner will be chosen randomly on May 5 and will be contacted by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before a new winner is chosen.

Tag: giveaway

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Merriam-Webster Adds ‘Sheeple’ to Dictionary and Lists Apple Users as Example

Merriam-Webster recently announced that it has added "sheeple" to its dictionary, an informal word that it defines as "people who are docile, compliant, or easily influenced" and thereby "likened to sheep."

The first example of the word in a sentence is pretty unremarkable…
James Nichols, who ran the family farm here, stamped dollar bills with red ink in protest against currency and told his neighbors that they were “sheeple” for obeying authority like livestock. — Sara Rimer and James Bennet
…but then there's this:
Apple's debuted a battery case for the juice-sucking iPhone—an ungainly lumpy case the sheeple will happily shell out $99 for. — Doug Criss
Merriam-Webster, which dates back to 1843, says the first usage of the word "sheeple" was in 1945, long before the advent of the Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Apple as a company altogether. For what it's worth, the word's popularity apparently falls within the bottom 10 percent of its dictionary.

Sadly, this is not the Onion.
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Uber Will Make It Easier Than Ever to Delete Your Personal Information From Its App

Uber today announced that it will begin rolling out a simplified way for users to permanently delete their personal information from the app over the next few weeks (via The Verge). The news follows a few months of protests against the company that included Uber's perceived opportunistic business tactics during the immigration airport protests in January, the questionable actions of CEO Travis Kalanick, and the app's location sharing practices.

Prior to the update, users could delete the app from their phone, but any data Uber had obtained from its users would remain on its servers unless customers personally emailed or called the company's support team. Now, users will be able to go through this process within the app itself thanks to a new "Delete Your Account" screen, which will immediately deactivate user accounts and then permanently delete everything after 30 days.


Uber said this protracted deletion period is a way for users to reverse their decision if they change their minds. Data deleted will also affect any information that was entered in Uber's food-related spin-off app, UberEats.

Late last year and early in 2017, Uber faced a series of backlashes from the public related to the app's tracking of user data up to five minutes after a trip ends, as well as multiple reports related to Kalanick and his relationship with President Donald Trump. Uber claims that the new account deletion update isn't in response to any of those previous reports, and that it's been in the works "for more than a year."
Uber insists today’s changes aren’t a response to those campaigns. A spokesperson said today’s release has been scheduled for several months, and the changes have been in the works for even longer. “We’ve been working on improving this [account deletion] experience for more than a year,” said an Uber spokesperson.
The update will also include more customizable notification settings, as well as a few tweaks to location sharing settings when friends ask to hail a ride from where you're located. The actual main location sharing feature is still a black and white choice, so users who opt-out will have to manually enter their location each time they want to request a ride.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tag: Uber

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Apple’s Echo-Like Smart Speaker With Siri and AirPlay Could Debut as Early as WWDC

Apple is widely rumored to be working on a Siri-based smart home device with a speaker, and Australian leaker Sonny Dickson has shared new details about its possible design and features on Twitter and with MacRumors.

Apple's smart speaker could take design cues from the Google Home

Dickson said that Apple is currently "finalizing designs" for the Amazon Echo and Google Home competitor, which he expects to be marketed as a Siri and AirPlay device. "It is believed to carry some form of Beats technology," he added, while noting that the device will run a variant of iOS software.

Dickson later told MacRumors that the device, allegedly codenamed B238 internally, will feature a Mac Pro-like concave top with built-in controls. His source, which he told us is "someone inside Apple," described the device as "fat" like the Google Home with speaker mesh covering the majority of the device.

Dickson was told Apple's smart speaker could be unveiled at WWDC 2017 in early June, but as always, the company's plans could change.

In September 2016, Bloomberg reported that Apple's smart home device had entered prototype testing, including both a larger and a smaller model in line with Amazon's current Echo lineup. However, at the time, the report cautioned that Apple's early efforts do not guarantee that a finalized product will be released.

The report said Apple's smart home device would be able to control appliances, locks, lights, and curtains through Siri voice commands. It added that some of the prototypes in testing include facial recognition sensors, backed by an earlier CNET report claiming the device could have a built-in camera for facial recognition.

Dickson is best known for leaking various iPhone and iPad parts from overseas sources, such as these iPhone 5c rear casings in 2013, but his latest information supposedly comes from a source directly within Apple, an area where his track record is less established. His sources have proven incorrect at times.


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Apple-Backed Didi Chuxing Earns Record $5.5B in China Tech Funding, Looks to Driverless as Future

Ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing has raised more than $5.5 billion from investors in China, marking the largest amount of funding earned by a technology company ever in the country. Didi, which Apple invested $1 billion into last year, is believed to use its new funding to expand beyond China, invest in artificial intelligence initiatives, and even look into various driverless and automated vehicle technologies (via Bloomberg).

Specific investors for this round of funding were left unidentified, but people familiar with the investments suggested the likes of SoftBank Group, Silver Lake Kraftwerk, China Merchants Bank Co. and one arm of Bank of Communications Co. were all backing Didi. The company's total valuation is said to have been raised from $34 billion -- which it earned after acquiring Uber's business in China -- to now sit at $50 billion.

Tim Cook catching a ride with Didi Chuxing president Jean Liu

The funding places Didi ahead of Xiaomi's $46 billion valuation, and makes the company the world's second most valuable startup after Uber's $68 billion.
Ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing raised more than $5.5 billion from investors, scoring the largest round of funding ever for a technology company to bankroll an expansion beyond China and into driverless technology.

That price tag would surpass smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp.’s and make Didi the world’s most valuable startup after Uber. Didi amassed $10 billion in cash and equivalents last year, but the deal yields more ammunition as it prepares to challenge Uber and Alphabet Inc. in automated driving, and buys the company time to carve out new revenue streams.
Didi's expansion beyond hailing cars is believed to become "increasingly important," due to China's increasingly strict regulations regarding qualifications for the users who drive Didi vehicles. In places like Beijing and Shanghai, the company's drivers are required to be local residents, preventing what is estimated to be thousands of potential Didi Chuxing drivers from nearby towns and countryside to work for the startup.

As a potential major pillar of its expansion, Didi executives hope that investing into driverless technology research will assist in overcoming hurdles related to China's human driver restrictions. The further Didi investigates and tests driverless technologies, the more data Apple receives on the subject, since the companies are now working together and sharing notes related to autonomous innovations one or the other might make.
Cheng and President Jean Liu hope that adopting driverless technology will help overcome such hurdles in the future. Didi wants to take advantage of data on 400 million users across some 400 cities to aid research into AI and autonomous vehicles. It opened an artificial intelligence lab in Mountain View, California last month, called Didi Labs. And it’s already lured dozens of stalwarts in the field including former Uber auto-security expert Charlie Miller, known for remotely hacking into a Jeep Cherokee in 2015.
While Didi works on implementing driverless rides for its users, Apple is said to be working on a self-driving platform of its own, with a deadline of late 2017 when the company will officially decide on the "feasibility" of its progress on the tech at that time. Just this week, a Lexus SUV was spotted leaving an Apple facility in California, coming equipped with various sensors and cameras and believed to be one of the vehicles Apple is using to test self-driving cars on the road.


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