Hollywood Pushing for iTunes to Sell Major Films Just Weeks After They Debut in Theaters

Despite the objections of some cinema chains, the largest Hollywood studios are considering pushing ahead with a plan to offer digital rentals of films just weeks after they appear in theaters, according to Bloomberg.


The report, citing people familiar with the matter, claims Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. remain in talks with potential distributors such as Apple and Comcast on ways to push ahead with the project even without theater chains.

A deal with Apple, which reportedly could happen as soon as early next year, means iTunes could supposedly offer major films as early as 17 days after their theatrical debut for about $50, or four to six weeks from release for $30.

That timeframe would be significantly shorter than the current average of three months between a major film's theatrical release and availability in DVD and digital formats, but it would also cost viewers more than an $8 or $9 movie ticket.

The revenue from the premium video on demand, or PVOD, product would help offset a continuing decline in DVD sales, which were down 10 percent in the first half of 2017, according to research firm The Digital Entertainment Group.

Disney, which plans to remove its movies from Netflix and launch its own streaming service by 2019, reportedly isn't interested in the PVOD talks.

Bloomberg first reported on the discussions in December, when it claimed 21st Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. were all seeking deals with Apple to create a $25 to $50 premium movie download product.


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Apple’s Series Three Apple Watch to Include Cellular Connection

Apple's third-generation Apple Watch, set to launch later this year, will include its own LTE for a standalone cellular connection, reports Bloomberg.

With a cellular connection, the new Apple Watch models will be untethered from the iPhone, able to stream music, send messages, download apps, and connect to the internet without the need for an iPhone.


It's not clear if a standalone cellular plan will be needed for the Apple Watch, but it seems likely. According to Bloomberg, only a subset of carriers who sell the iPhone will support the Apple Watch, but in the U.S., AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile all plan to offer the LTE Apple Watch when it launches.

Intel, not Qualcomm, will supply the LTE modems for the Apple Watch.

Cellular connectivity for the Apple Watch is not a new rumor - we've been hearing hints of it since before the Series 2 Apple Watch was released last September. Battery issues have reportedly been holding Apple back - a cellular connection drains battery more quickly.

Previous third-generation Apple Watch rumors have suggested Apple is focusing primarily on improving battery life and the company may have made enough progress to compensate for LTE connectivity.

Aside from the inclusion of an LTE chip, not much is known about the next Apple Watch. Rumors have pointed towards a more minor update that focuses on under-the-hood hardware and performance improvements rather than external design changes.

Bloomberg believes the cellular-capable Apple Watch will launch this fall alongside new iPhones, but cautions that the device could be delayed beyond 2017.


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Apple Working on ‘Improved’ Security System for iPhone 8 That Replaces Touch ID With Facial Recognition

Following a report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggesting the next-generation "iPhone 8" will do away with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor entirely, Bloomberg says Apple is working on an "improved" security system that will let customers unlock their iPhones and make Apple Pay payments with facial recognition technology.

Apple's new facial recognition engine is powered by a 3D sensor rumored to be built into the front-facing camera, and according to Bloomberg's sources, Apple is also said to be testing eye scanning to "augment the system." Using facial recognition, the iPhone can be unlocked within a few hundred milliseconds and it allegedly works even when the device is lying on a table. It's said to capture more data points than a fingerprint scan, making it more secure than Touch ID.

iPhone 8 dummy shared by OnLeaks and Tiger Mobiles
The sensor's speed and accuracy are focal points of the feature. It can scan a user's face and unlock the iPhone within a few hundred milliseconds, the person said. It is designed to work even if the device is laying flat on a table, rather than just close up to the face. The feature is still being tested and may not appear with the new device. However, the intent is for it to replace the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, according to the person. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.
Samsung built a similar feature, iris scanning, into its Galaxy S8, which has not proven to be foolproof. Hackers have successfully bypassed the feature using a printed photo with a contact lens on top of it, and in a video, a launch version of the S8 was shown being fooled by a photograph alone.


Apple's solution is said to be more secure because it is using 3D depth perception, preventing it from being bypassed by 2D pictures.

Bloomberg warns that the feature is "still being tested" and that Apple could have decided to nix it, so it continues to be unclear if the iPhone 8 will indeed do away with Touch ID entirely in favor of facial recognition.

Rumors surrounding Touch ID in the iPhone 8 have been all over the place during the course of the last few months. Apple was rumored to be having difficulty embedding the Touch ID fingerprint sensor under the display of the device and explored other solutions including a rear Touch ID button, but the company's final solution remains up in the air. What we do know is that the most recent dummy models and part leaks show a display without a Touch ID button, suggesting it's either under the display or non-existent.

Today's report also includes a quick mention that Apple is testing faster displays with ProMotion technology for the iPhone 8. ProMotion display technology, which features a 120Hz refresh rate for improvements to motion and animations, was first introduced in 2017 iPad Pro models.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
Tag: bloomberg.com

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Tim Cook Talks HomePod, AR, and How America is ‘More Important Than Bloody Politics’ in New Interview

Bloomberg Businessweek sat down with Apple CEO Tim Cook last week to discuss a collection of topics related to Apple and the tech industry, including augmented reality, the legacy that Steve Jobs left behind, the HomePod, and the opinions he has following his work with U.S. President Donald Trump. Bloomberg Businessweek's full interview with Tim Cook will appear in the Sunday, June 19 edition of the magazine, but for now the site has shared a few interesting snippets from the talk.

One of the major talking points of the interview centered around the HomePod, Apple's new Siri-based speaker for the home that the company says will have a focus on high quality audio playback. When asked whether or not he thinks people will actually pay $349 for a HomePod, Cook pointed out the same question that gets brought up heading into the launch of every new Apple product.

Image via Bloomberg Businessweek
If you remember when the iPod was introduced, a lot of people said, “Why would anybody pay $399 for an MP3 player?” And when iPhone was announced, it was, “Is anybody gonna pay”—whatever it was at that time—“for an iPhone?” The iPad went through the same thing. We have a pretty good track record of giving people something that they may not have known that they wanted.

When I was growing up, audio was No. 1 on the list of things that you had to have. You were jammin’ out on your stereo. Audio is still really important in all age groups, not just for kids. We’re hitting on something people will be delighted with. It’s gonna blow them away. It’s gonna rock the house.
The main iOS topic covered in the new interview was augmented reality and its upcoming addition in iOS 11 thanks to ARKit. Cook said that he's so excited about the possibilities for the future of AR that he just wants to "yell out and scream," while admitting that there are limitations to the technology in its current state. But he thinks that those limitations are the building blocks of an "incredible runway" with a bright future, and said that, "When people begin to see what’s possible, it’s going to get them very excited—like we are, like we’ve been."

Bloomberg Businessweek asked how much time Cook spends thinking about his own legacy -- in the context of Steve Jobs -- to which Cook plainly stated, "None." Cook hopes that people simply remember him "as a good and decent man," and wants Jobs' DNA to remain the heart of the company for any future CEO over the next 100 years. Cook explained that while Apple as a whole will adjust and change with the times, this "Constitution" created through Jobs' beliefs and actions should be set in stone.
His ethos should drive that—the attention to detail, the care, the ­simplicity, the focus on the user and the user experience, the focus on building the best, the focus that good isn’t good enough, that it has to be great, or in his words, “insanely great,” that we should own the proprietary technology that we work with because that’s the only way you can control your future and control your quality and user experience.

And you should have the courage to walk away and be honest with yourself when you do something wrong, that you shouldn’t be so married to your position and your pride that you can’t say, “I’m changing directions.” These kind of things, these guardrails, should be the basis for Apple a century from now.

It’s like the Constitution, which is the guide for the United States. It should not change. We should revere it. In essence, these principles that Steve learned over many years are the basis for Apple. It doesn’t mean the company hasn’t changed. The company’s going to change. It’s going to go into different product areas. It’s going to learn and adjust. Many things have changed in the company, even in the last six to seven years. But our “Constitution” shouldn’t change. It should remain the same.
Cook was also directly asked about his experience working with President Donald Trump, including a tech summit late last year that saw a group of CEOs attending a meeting in Trump Tower to discuss trade, immigration, vocational education, and more. Ultimately, Cook admitted that he and Trump have "dramatically different" beliefs in most areas, and he argued that above all else, "America's more important than bloody politics."
I feel a great responsibility as an American, as a CEO, to try to influence things in areas where we have a level of expertise. I’ve pushed hard on immigration. We clearly have a very different view on things in that area. I’ve pushed on climate. We have a different view there. There are clearly areas where we’re not nearly on the same page.

We’re dramatically different. I hope there’s some areas where we’re not. His focus on jobs is good. So we’ll see. Pulling out of the Paris climate accord was very disappointing. I felt a responsibility to do every single thing I could for it not to happen. I think it’s the wrong decision. If I see another opening on the Paris thing, I’m going to bring it up again.

At the end of the day, I’m not a person who’s going to walk away and say, “If you don’t do what I want, I leave.” I’m not on a council, so I don’t have those kind of decisions. But I care deeply about America. I want America to do well. America’s more important than bloody politics from my point of view.
Rounding out the questions for the interview snippets posted today, Bloomberg Businessweek asked Cook to respond to critics who say Apple isn't innovating anymore. Cook answered with the long-time Apple argument that it's not about being first to a product category, it's about being the best in the category, while focusing on what particularly will elevate its users' lives: "It’s actually not about competing, from our point of view. It’s about thinking through for the Apple user what thing will improve their lives."

The rest of the interview includes Cook's comments on the enterprise market, Apple's $1 billion advanced manufacturing fund, and his opinions on a tax plan for repatriating the international earnings of U.S. companies. More topics are expected to be covered in the full interview on June 19.

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.


Discuss this article in our forums

Tim Cook Talks HomePod, AR, and How America is ‘More Important Than Bloody Politics’ in New Interview

Bloomberg Businessweek sat down with Apple CEO Tim Cook last week to discuss a collection of topics related to Apple and the tech industry, including augmented reality, the legacy that Steve Jobs left behind, the HomePod, and the opinions he has following his work with U.S. President Donald Trump. Bloomberg Businessweek's full interview with Tim Cook will appear in the Sunday, June 19 edition of the magazine, but for now the site has shared a few interesting snippets from the talk.

One of the major talking points of the interview centered around the HomePod, Apple's new Siri-based speaker for the home that the company says will have a focus on high quality audio playback. When asked whether or not he thinks people will actually pay $349 for a HomePod, Cook pointed out the same question that gets brought up heading into the launch of every new Apple product.

Image via Bloomberg Businessweek
If you remember when the iPod was introduced, a lot of people said, “Why would anybody pay $399 for an MP3 player?” And when iPhone was announced, it was, “Is anybody gonna pay”—whatever it was at that time—“for an iPhone?” The iPad went through the same thing. We have a pretty good track record of giving people something that they may not have known that they wanted.

When I was growing up, audio was No. 1 on the list of things that you had to have. You were jammin’ out on your stereo. Audio is still really important in all age groups, not just for kids. We’re hitting on something people will be delighted with. It’s gonna blow them away. It’s gonna rock the house.
The main iOS topic covered in the new interview was augmented reality and its upcoming addition in iOS 11 thanks to ARKit. Cook said that he's so excited about the possibilities for the future of AR that he just wants to "yell out and scream," while admitting that there are limitations to the technology in its current state. But he thinks that those limitations are the building blocks of an "incredible runway" with a bright future, and said that, "When people begin to see what’s possible, it’s going to get them very excited—like we are, like we’ve been."

Bloomberg Businessweek asked how much time Cook spends thinking about his own legacy -- in the context of Steve Jobs -- to which Cook plainly stated, "None." Cook hopes that people simply remember him "as a good and decent man," and wants Jobs' DNA to remain the heart of the company for any future CEO over the next 100 years. Cook explained that while Apple as a whole will adjust and change with the times, this "Constitution" created through Jobs' beliefs and actions should be set in stone.
His ethos should drive that—the attention to detail, the care, the ­simplicity, the focus on the user and the user experience, the focus on building the best, the focus that good isn’t good enough, that it has to be great, or in his words, “insanely great,” that we should own the proprietary technology that we work with because that’s the only way you can control your future and control your quality and user experience.

And you should have the courage to walk away and be honest with yourself when you do something wrong, that you shouldn’t be so married to your position and your pride that you can’t say, “I’m changing directions.” These kind of things, these guardrails, should be the basis for Apple a century from now.

It’s like the Constitution, which is the guide for the United States. It should not change. We should revere it. In essence, these principles that Steve learned over many years are the basis for Apple. It doesn’t mean the company hasn’t changed. The company’s going to change. It’s going to go into different product areas. It’s going to learn and adjust. Many things have changed in the company, even in the last six to seven years. But our “Constitution” shouldn’t change. It should remain the same.
Cook was also directly asked about his experience working with President Donald Trump, including a tech summit late last year that saw a group of CEOs attending a meeting in Trump Tower to discuss trade, immigration, vocational education, and more. Ultimately, Cook admitted that he and Trump have "dramatically different" beliefs in most areas, and he argued that above all else, "America's more important than bloody politics."
I feel a great responsibility as an American, as a CEO, to try to influence things in areas where we have a level of expertise. I’ve pushed hard on immigration. We clearly have a very different view on things in that area. I’ve pushed on climate. We have a different view there. There are clearly areas where we’re not nearly on the same page.

We’re dramatically different. I hope there’s some areas where we’re not. His focus on jobs is good. So we’ll see. Pulling out of the Paris climate accord was very disappointing. I felt a responsibility to do every single thing I could for it not to happen. I think it’s the wrong decision. If I see another opening on the Paris thing, I’m going to bring it up again.

At the end of the day, I’m not a person who’s going to walk away and say, “If you don’t do what I want, I leave.” I’m not on a council, so I don’t have those kind of decisions. But I care deeply about America. I want America to do well. America’s more important than bloody politics from my point of view.
Rounding out the questions for the interview snippets posted today, Bloomberg Businessweek asked Cook to respond to critics who say Apple isn't innovating anymore. Cook answered with the long-time Apple argument that it's not about being first to a product category, it's about being the best in the category, while focusing on what particularly will elevate its users' lives: "It’s actually not about competing, from our point of view. It’s about thinking through for the Apple user what thing will improve their lives."

The rest of the interview includes Cook's comments on the enterprise market, Apple's $1 billion advanced manufacturing fund, and his opinions on a tax plan for repatriating the international earnings of U.S. companies. More topics are expected to be covered in the full interview on June 19.

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.


Discuss this article in our forums

Tim Cook Talks HomePod, AR, and How America is ‘More Important Than Bloody Politics’ in New Interview

Bloomberg Businessweek sat down with Apple CEO Tim Cook last week to discuss a collection of topics related to Apple and the tech industry, including augmented reality, the legacy that Steve Jobs left behind, the HomePod, and the opinions he has following his work with U.S. President Donald Trump. Bloomberg Businessweek's full interview with Tim Cook will appear in the Sunday, June 19 edition of the magazine, but for now the site has shared a few interesting snippets from the talk.

One of the major talking points of the interview centered around the HomePod, Apple's new Siri-based speaker for the home that the company says will have a focus on high quality audio playback. When asked whether or not he thinks people will actually pay $349 for a HomePod, Cook pointed out the same question that gets brought up heading into the launch of every new Apple product.

Image via Bloomberg Businessweek
If you remember when the iPod was introduced, a lot of people said, “Why would anybody pay $399 for an MP3 player?” And when iPhone was announced, it was, “Is anybody gonna pay”—whatever it was at that time—“for an iPhone?” The iPad went through the same thing. We have a pretty good track record of giving people something that they may not have known that they wanted.

When I was growing up, audio was No. 1 on the list of things that you had to have. You were jammin’ out on your stereo. Audio is still really important in all age groups, not just for kids. We’re hitting on something people will be delighted with. It’s gonna blow them away. It’s gonna rock the house.
The main iOS topic covered in the new interview was augmented reality and its upcoming addition in iOS 11 thanks to ARKit. Cook said that he's so excited about the possibilities for the future of AR that he just wants to "yell out and scream," while admitting that there are limitations to the technology in its current state. But he thinks that those limitations are the building blocks of an "incredible runway" with a bright future, and said that, "When people begin to see what’s possible, it’s going to get them very excited—like we are, like we’ve been."

Bloomberg Businessweek asked how much time Cook spends thinking about his own legacy -- in the context of Steve Jobs -- to which Cook plainly stated, "None." Cook hopes that people simply remember him "as a good and decent man," and wants Jobs' DNA to remain the heart of the company for any future CEO over the next 100 years. Cook explained that while Apple as a whole will adjust and change with the times, this "Constitution" created through Jobs' beliefs and actions should be set in stone.
His ethos should drive that—the attention to detail, the care, the ­simplicity, the focus on the user and the user experience, the focus on building the best, the focus that good isn’t good enough, that it has to be great, or in his words, “insanely great,” that we should own the proprietary technology that we work with because that’s the only way you can control your future and control your quality and user experience.

And you should have the courage to walk away and be honest with yourself when you do something wrong, that you shouldn’t be so married to your position and your pride that you can’t say, “I’m changing directions.” These kind of things, these guardrails, should be the basis for Apple a century from now.

It’s like the Constitution, which is the guide for the United States. It should not change. We should revere it. In essence, these principles that Steve learned over many years are the basis for Apple. It doesn’t mean the company hasn’t changed. The company’s going to change. It’s going to go into different product areas. It’s going to learn and adjust. Many things have changed in the company, even in the last six to seven years. But our “Constitution” shouldn’t change. It should remain the same.
Cook was also directly asked about his experience working with President Donald Trump, including a tech summit late last year that saw a group of CEOs attending a meeting in Trump Tower to discuss trade, immigration, vocational education, and more. Ultimately, Cook admitted that he and Trump have "dramatically different" beliefs in most areas, and he argued that above all else, "America's more important than bloody politics."
I feel a great responsibility as an American, as a CEO, to try to influence things in areas where we have a level of expertise. I’ve pushed hard on immigration. We clearly have a very different view on things in that area. I’ve pushed on climate. We have a different view there. There are clearly areas where we’re not nearly on the same page.

We’re dramatically different. I hope there’s some areas where we’re not. His focus on jobs is good. So we’ll see. Pulling out of the Paris climate accord was very disappointing. I felt a responsibility to do every single thing I could for it not to happen. I think it’s the wrong decision. If I see another opening on the Paris thing, I’m going to bring it up again.

At the end of the day, I’m not a person who’s going to walk away and say, “If you don’t do what I want, I leave.” I’m not on a council, so I don’t have those kind of decisions. But I care deeply about America. I want America to do well. America’s more important than bloody politics from my point of view.
Rounding out the questions for the interview snippets posted today, Bloomberg Businessweek asked Cook to respond to critics who say Apple isn't innovating anymore. Cook answered with the long-time Apple argument that it's not about being first to a product category, it's about being the best in the category, while focusing on what particularly will elevate its users' lives: "It’s actually not about competing, from our point of view. It’s about thinking through for the Apple user what thing will improve their lives."

The rest of the interview includes Cook's comments on the enterprise market, Apple's $1 billion advanced manufacturing fund, and his opinions on a tax plan for repatriating the international earnings of U.S. companies. More topics are expected to be covered in the full interview on June 19.

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.


Discuss this article in our forums

Tim Cook Talks HomePod, AR, and How America is ‘More Important Than Bloody Politics’ in New Interview

Bloomberg Businessweek sat down with Apple CEO Tim Cook last week to discuss a collection of topics related to Apple and the tech industry, including augmented reality, the legacy that Steve Jobs left behind, the HomePod, and the opinions he has following his work with U.S. President Donald Trump. Bloomberg Businessweek's full interview with Tim Cook will appear in the Sunday, June 19 edition of the magazine, but for now the site has shared a few interesting snippets from the talk.

One of the major talking points of the interview centered around the HomePod, Apple's new Siri-based speaker for the home that the company says will have a focus on high quality audio playback. When asked whether or not he thinks people will actually pay $349 for a HomePod, Cook pointed out the same question that gets brought up heading into the launch of every new Apple product.

Image via Bloomberg Businessweek
If you remember when the iPod was introduced, a lot of people said, “Why would anybody pay $399 for an MP3 player?” And when iPhone was announced, it was, “Is anybody gonna pay”—whatever it was at that time—“for an iPhone?” The iPad went through the same thing. We have a pretty good track record of giving people something that they may not have known that they wanted.

When I was growing up, audio was No. 1 on the list of things that you had to have. You were jammin’ out on your stereo. Audio is still really important in all age groups, not just for kids. We’re hitting on something people will be delighted with. It’s gonna blow them away. It’s gonna rock the house.
The main iOS topic covered in the new interview was augmented reality and its upcoming addition in iOS 11 thanks to ARKit. Cook said that he's so excited about the possibilities for the future of AR that he just wants to "yell out and scream," while admitting that there are limitations to the technology in its current state. But he thinks that those limitations are the building blocks of an "incredible runway" with a bright future, and said that, "When people begin to see what’s possible, it’s going to get them very excited—like we are, like we’ve been."

Bloomberg Businessweek asked how much time Cook spends thinking about his own legacy -- in the context of Steve Jobs -- to which Cook plainly stated, "None." Cook hopes that people simply remember him "as a good and decent man," and wants Jobs' DNA to remain the heart of the company for any future CEO over the next 100 years. Cook explained that while Apple as a whole will adjust and change with the times, this "Constitution" created through Jobs' beliefs and actions should be set in stone.
His ethos should drive that—the attention to detail, the care, the ­simplicity, the focus on the user and the user experience, the focus on building the best, the focus that good isn’t good enough, that it has to be great, or in his words, “insanely great,” that we should own the proprietary technology that we work with because that’s the only way you can control your future and control your quality and user experience.

And you should have the courage to walk away and be honest with yourself when you do something wrong, that you shouldn’t be so married to your position and your pride that you can’t say, “I’m changing directions.” These kind of things, these guardrails, should be the basis for Apple a century from now.

It’s like the Constitution, which is the guide for the United States. It should not change. We should revere it. In essence, these principles that Steve learned over many years are the basis for Apple. It doesn’t mean the company hasn’t changed. The company’s going to change. It’s going to go into different product areas. It’s going to learn and adjust. Many things have changed in the company, even in the last six to seven years. But our “Constitution” shouldn’t change. It should remain the same.
Cook was also directly asked about his experience working with President Donald Trump, including a tech summit late last year that saw a group of CEOs attending a meeting in Trump Tower to discuss trade, immigration, vocational education, and more. Ultimately, Cook admitted that he and Trump have "dramatically different" beliefs in most areas, and he argued that above all else, "America's more important than bloody politics."
I feel a great responsibility as an American, as a CEO, to try to influence things in areas where we have a level of expertise. I’ve pushed hard on immigration. We clearly have a very different view on things in that area. I’ve pushed on climate. We have a different view there. There are clearly areas where we’re not nearly on the same page.

We’re dramatically different. I hope there’s some areas where we’re not. His focus on jobs is good. So we’ll see. Pulling out of the Paris climate accord was very disappointing. I felt a responsibility to do every single thing I could for it not to happen. I think it’s the wrong decision. If I see another opening on the Paris thing, I’m going to bring it up again.

At the end of the day, I’m not a person who’s going to walk away and say, “If you don’t do what I want, I leave.” I’m not on a council, so I don’t have those kind of decisions. But I care deeply about America. I want America to do well. America’s more important than bloody politics from my point of view.
Rounding out the questions for the interview snippets posted today, Bloomberg Businessweek asked Cook to respond to critics who say Apple isn't innovating anymore. Cook answered with the long-time Apple argument that it's not about being first to a product category, it's about being the best in the category, while focusing on what particularly will elevate its users' lives: "It’s actually not about competing, from our point of view. It’s about thinking through for the Apple user what thing will improve their lives."

The rest of the interview includes Cook's comments on the enterprise market, Apple's $1 billion advanced manufacturing fund, and his opinions on a tax plan for repatriating the international earnings of U.S. companies. More topics are expected to be covered in the full interview on June 19.

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.


Discuss this article in our forums

Tim Cook Confirms Apple’s Focus on Autonomous Driving Systems

Apple CEO Tim Cook has spoken to Bloomberg to clarify for the first time the company's intentions in the automotive market, following several reports in recent months indicating that the company has put its ambitions to build a car on the back-burner.
"We're focusing on autonomous systems," Cook said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. "It's a core technology that we view as very important."

"We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects," Cook said in his most detailed comments to date on Apple's plans in the car space. "It's probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on."
Cook has not been as forthcoming in previous remarks when asked about Apple's car plans, choosing instead to call the automotive space "interesting" because of the potential for new technologies. However recent rumors had converged around the belief that Apple has refocused its car project, which reportedly involved more than 1,000 engineers when it originally began in 2014.

Ballooning costs and a change in management were said to have pushed Apple's car strategy increasingly toward autonomous driving systems, leading to dozens of employees involved in the project being laid off as part of an internal "reboot".
"There is a major disruption looming," Cook told Bloomberg, citing self-driving technology, electric vehicles and ride-hailing. "You've got kind of three vectors of change happening generally in the same time frame. If you've driven an electric car, it's actually a marvelous experience. "
Cook's comments are particularly timely, following indications that Apple's exclusive focus on self-driving technology has accelerated in recent months.

In April, the company was granted a permit from the California DMV to test self-driving vehicles on public roads, and is rumored to be planning to test its self-driving car software platform in three 2015 Lexus RX450h SUVs. The SUVs have already been spotted out on the road fitted with a range of sensors and cameras.

Apple is thought to have several teams working on different aspects of its automotive software. In Canada, a team of two dozen former BlackBerry QNX customers are said to be developing the base operating system, while another team is working on the software that will run on it, such as a heads-up display and self-driving capabilities.

A report by Bloomberg last October claimed Apple could return to developing its own vehicle in future, or partner with existing carmakers, but given Cook's latest comments, any prospect of an Apple Car seems some way off, at least for now.

"We'll see where it takes us," Cook told Bloomberg most recently when asked about the chances Apple could one day make its own vehicle. "We're not really saying from a product point of view what we will do."

Related Roundup: Apple Car
Tag: bloomberg.com

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Rumored Siri Speaker in Production Ahead of Possible WWDC Debut

Apple's rumored Siri smart speaker, which is designed to compete with the Google Home and Amazon Echo, is already in production ahead of a prospective debut at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference, reports Bloomberg.

Citing sources "familiar with the matter," Bloomberg says production has already started on the speaker, but it is not expected to be ready to ship until later in the year. Still, Apple could introduce the speaker at WWDC, which kicks off next Monday.

Despite rumors hinting at a touch screen, and comments from Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller questioning the usefulness of an AI-based speaker product without a screen, the upcoming Siri speaker will not feature a display.

A Siri speaker mockup with a "Mac Pro-like" concave design (Image via iFunnyVlogger)

Instead, Apple will differentiate its speaker from Amazon and Google offerings through deep integration with Apple products and superior sound quality, including virtual surround sound technology. The speaker is said to be louder and "reproduce sound more crisply" than the Home and the Echo, and it could also include sensors for measuring a room's acoustics and adjusting audio levels automatically during use.

As with the Echo and the Home, Apple's speaker will likely support third-party services and apps, allowing it to perform a wide range of tasks. It will also serve as a HomeKit hub.
Introducing a speaker would serve two main purposes: providing a hub to automate appliances and lights via Apple's HomeKit system, and establishing a bulwark inside the home to lock customers more tightly into Apple's network of services.
Inventec, the company that manufactures Apple's AirPods, is said to be manufacturing the speaker, which has, as was previously reported, been tested in the homes of Apple employees for several months.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously said there was a greater than 50 percent chance the speaker would be introduced at WWDC, so we may get our first look at the device next week. Rumors have suggested it will feature a Mac Pro-like concave top with built-in controls and a "fat" body covered in speaker mesh.

Along with the Siri speaker, Apple may also introduce new 10.5 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models and new Macs at WWDC.

Related Roundup: Siri Smart Speaker
Tags: HomeKit, Siri, bloomberg.com

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Apple Developing ‘Apple Neural Engine’ Chip to Power AI in iOS Devices

Apple is developing a dedicated processor that will be used to handle AI-related tasks like facial and speech recognition in its products, reports Bloomberg. Citing a source with knowledge of Apple's plans, the site says the chip is known internally as the "Apple Neural Engine."

Apple plans to use the chip, which would work alongside the standard processor and the graphics chip, to add more advanced artificial intelligence capabilities into its devices and to offload demanding AI processing tasks that can impact battery life.
An AI-enabled processor would help Cupertino, California-based Apple integrate more advanced capabilities into devices, particularly cars that drive themselves and gadgets that run augmented reality, the technology that superimposes graphics and other information onto a person's view of the world.
The chip could potentially handle tasks like facial recognition in the photos application, parts of speech recognition, and power the predictive keyboard in the iPhone and iPad. Apple may also allow developers to access the chip to power AI-related features in third-party apps.

An AI chip would not be the first chip that handles dedicated tasks in the iPhone. Starting with the iPhone 5s in 2013, Apple devices have included a motion coprocessor used to collect and store sensor data. The motion coprocessor allows the iPhone and iPad to continually track movement and other sensor data without using significant battery. It also powers features like the always-on "Hey Siri" capability built into modern iPhones.

Apple has already tested prototypes of future iPhones with the AI chip, but it is unclear if such a chip is ready for a debut in the iPhone 8. Going forward, should development on the chip continue, Apple is said to be planning to integrate it into many of its devices.


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