Apple’s Self-Driving Market

In April 2017, Apple received its first permit to test self-driving cars on California roads, now having 45 permits almost  a year later. Apple is now second behind General Motors’ Cruise company, which has 110 self-driving car permits in California, claims the California Department of Motor Vehicles. 

Apple is now testing more vehicles than its top rivals, including Tesla with 39 permits, Uber with 29 permits, and Alphabet’s Waymo with only 24; they had more than 100 in June 2017. Self-driving car technology has become popular over the past few years among major technology companies, with many of them betting that autonomous cars requiring little to no human interaction is the way of the future. These companies are also hoping their technology will keep passengers safer than human-driven vehicles.

Yet, self-driving cars likely won’t be available to consumers for at least a couple of years. For now, testing is critical for all of those companies to get their technologies ready for the “way of the future.”



Toys R Us Stores Slashing Prices on Apple Products

As the toy giant prepares to close all of its 735 US locations after 70 years of business, customers can now find Apple products at a steal. According to one Reddit user, a local Toys R Us store was selling  an Apple TV 4s for $75, compared to its $149 retail price. The same user additionally said that the store was selling iPod Nanos for $54, which typically costs around $145. 

Customers can expect to see blowout clearance sales across the country in the coming weeks; Toys R Us recently started clearance sales at about 170 stores that it plans to permanently close in April. The company had been struggling with a large amount of debt following a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout in 2005. The popular toy giant has struggled to compete with rivals such as Walmart, Target, and Amazon in recent years.

Business Insider’s Dennis Green reported the following: “These high payments prevented the chain from making the changes necessary to compete, like improving the in-store experience and beefing up e-commerce in the age of Amazon, the company said in the filing. The debt also prevented the chain from keeping up the appearance of its stores and ensuring its employees were well-paid.”

The company hopes to remain alive outside the United States. It said many of its stores in Canada, Europe and Asia “remain strong, viable businesses,” and may be saved or sold. In the mean time, if you’re looking to stock up on some Christmas gifts or save on some Apple products, head to your local Toys R Us before it’s all gone!


How Hackers are Making a Profit from Your Apple ID

According to latest research, VPN comparison service revealed that after banking and financial service IDs, a hacked Apple account is the most valuable single account traded on the dark web, which hackers can sell for around  $15. Aside from Apple, PayPal credentials are more valuable than online bank accounts. While online bank details trade at an average $160, PayPal logins start at around $250. Here is a list of what your different login details are worth:

  • Apple ID: $15+
  • Amazon: around $10
  • eBay account details: $12
  • Skype: <$10
  • Uber login: $7
  • Facebook login: $5.19
  • account details: 0.3
  • Travel logins (, AirBnb, TripAdvisor, Expedia): < $5
  • Passport details: $60
  • PayPal: $250+
  • Skrill: $50
  • Your entire identity? $1,100 only!

So exactly how do these hackers manage to steal your credentials? Often times, believe it or not, we fall for their tricks and give away our information without knowing so. Ever received an email from “Apple” saying that your account has been compromised? These hackers try to make these emails as authentic as possible, with Apple’s logos, fonts and styles that you normally receive. “Click this link to recover your account” is something you might see; this would then take you to a fake page that is unsecured, leading you to input your information just for it to get stolen and sold without your knowledge.

Another good tip, aside from being aware of a phishing email, is to set up two-step verification (aka two-factor authentication, or 2FA). With this authentication, it will be much harder for someone to make changes to your account, such as changing your password so you no longer have access. Now, the hacker cannot do anything without providing a verification code, which is delivered to a device in your possession, usually your phone.



Apple’s New Approach to Future iPhones

It has been widely rumored that Apple will be launching three new iPhone models later this year; the first device is expected to be a relatively cost-sensitive model that will include the same core features as the higher-end models, but will use less advanced display technology as well as a cheaper aluminum construction; the middle device is rumored to be a direct successor to the current iPhone X, with a similar appearance and display size but with upgraded internal specifications; the third and highest-end model is thought to be a bigger version of the successor to the iPhone X, with a larger 6.46-inch display.

Since 2014 when Apple began offering standard and Plus-size versions of its iPhone models, they have been revealing latter versions with unique features and improved specifications compared to the standard-sized models. For example, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Features of the Plus include a sharper display, dual rear-facing camera, plus-specific software features (e.g., landscape home screen, split-screen view in several common apps), and more RAM (2GB in iPhone 8, 3GB in iPhone 8 Plus). 

However, based on a set of credible leaks from both KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg, Apple has no intention of differentiating the updated iPhone X from the iPhone X Plus with any big changes.

As far as the positives for this strategy, Apple’s supply chain management becomes easier and loyal Apple customers who are willing to pay top dollar for new iPhones don’t feel that they are buying an inferior device by picking the smaller of the two iPhone X models. Additionally, by using the same basic components, Apple minimizes the bill of materials increase from the standard iPhone X to the iPhone X Plus.  A con to this strategy is that Apple misses out on the opportunity to improve the competitiveness of its larger-screen model, as there are features that are easier to implement in larger devices with bigger batteries than they are in smaller devices with commensurately smaller batteries.



Apple Creating New ‘AC Wellness’ Clinics for Employees

The launch of AC Wellness is almost here.

According to Christina Farr (2018), a reporter of CNBC, Apple will be launching new health care clinics collectively under the name AC Wellness starting this spring. At least upon its start, the system will only assist employees where the Apple headquarters are located, the Santa Clara County area.

Under the About Me’ section of the AC Wellness website, this is stated in big font: AC Wellness Network believes that having trusting, accessible relationships with our patients, enabled by technology, promotes high-quality care and a unique patient experience.” On the website’s front page there is also a tab for Careers’ that upon clicking goes to a page that lists jobs that can be applied for such as health partner, nurse coordinator, acute care physician, etc., and a Contact Us’ tab that leads to a page that lets you write your name, email, and a message to the company.

The CNBC article also stated that Apple was interested in hiring designers” whose job it would be to help implement a program focused on preventing disease and promoting healthy behavior.” These designers” will be a population health designer and clinical program design lead. 

The AC Wellness clinics will also be used to assess its expanding array of health services and products (Farr, 2018). Campbell (2018) wrote on the Apple Insider website that last month Apple announced its iOS 11.3 update, and through this update, the Health app would be able to have healthcare providers upload health records. For more information on this Health app update, check out our Take Your Medical Records With You Everywhere” blog post.


Apple’s Newest Rumored Releases

There have been multiple rumors from various sources about Apple’s newest products, including the  AirPower, next-generation AirPods, Apple Watch Series 4, a low-cost iPad, and three new iPhone models, just to name a few!

If you’re unfamiliar with the AirPower, it is a charging mat that will be able to charge up to three devices that use Qi charging at once, such as the iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch. The next-generation rumored AirPods are expected to release alongside the charging mat, which will feature wireless charging as opposed to the charging case, better Bluetooth connectivity, and possibly new colors. However, nothing is yet confirmed.

As the Apple Watch has not seen a redesign since it was first introduced in 2015,  2018 could be the year that Apple introduces a new look for the wrist-worn device, Mac Rumors suggest. Apple will perhaps use micro-LED displays for the 2018 Apple Watch, which would allow for a thinner, lighter display with improved color gamut and brightness. New sensors could also be in store, as Apple has been testing EKG functionality for the Apple Watch. The feature would require users to place two fingers on either side of the Apple Watch to record the electrical activity of the heart to better detect irregularities, however it is not known if this functionality will be ready to debut in 2018.

With the rumor that Apple could introduce an even lower-cost iPad in 2018 than 2017 (its 5th-generation 9.7-inch iPad for $329 for the 32GB model) with a price tag that starts at $259, it would allow them to better compete in the lower cost tablet market.

Finally, three new iPhone models are rumored to be releasing later this year. The first iPhone expected is a followup to the iPhone X with the same 5.8-inch OLED display, which will be accompanied by a second OLED iPhone measuring in at 6.5 inches; it can be thought of as an “iPhone X Plus.” Alongside these two OLED iPhones, Apple is also said to be planning to introduce a 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD display, positioned as a more affordable device targeting the low-end and midrange markets with a starting price of $649 to $749 in the United States. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, all three of these iPhones will feature edge-to-edge displays, Face ID, and TrueDepth camera systems, which means the end of both the Home button and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in new iPhone models for the time being.

Although many of these products are still in the works or rumored, we are all hoping to see what Apple has in store for 2018!


Apple Taking Over the Watch Industry?

According to Business Insider, Apple outsold the entire Swiss watch industry combined last quarter; it is estimated that Apple sold 8 million Apple Watches in the last quarter of 2017, the most since the product was introduced and the highest number of shipments in a single quarter for any wearable vendor.

“The cellular version of the Apple Watch was in strong demand in the U.S., Japan, and Australia, where all major operators stocked it in time for the holiday season,” said Vincent Thielke, an analyst at industry researcher Canalys.

With its features such as fitness tracking, heart rate monitoring, taking phone calls from your wrist and now LTE-enabled, the Apple Watch has its competitive advantages over traditional timepieces in the long run, especially now that technology is in such high demand and revolves around everything.

Total Apple Watch sales for 2017 was 18 million, which was up by more than 50% compared to the year before. Time Cook, Apple’s CEO, said revenue from the watches alone is approaching that of a Fortune 400 company, meaning Apple’s watch business is nearly the size of a company like Jetblue, with at least $6.7 billion in annual sales


Take Your Medical Records With You – Everywhere

With the upcoming release of Apple’s iOS update this spring, the Health app will now include health records, so patients can take information about their immunizations, medications, lab results and more with them on the go. The feature will first be available to patients of medical providers who partnered with Apple, including Johns Hopkins Medicine, OhioHealth, Ochsner Health System in Jefferson Parish, La., and Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles; Apple’s announcement says more medical facilities will offer this feature in the coming months.

With this added feature to the app, transferring information will be easier for patients who have to move or go to a specialist. Patients will be able to see records such as conditions, immunizations, visits and medication they’ve received in the past, which won’t allow them to make the mistake of taking something that hasn’t worked for them.

Because patients no longer have to enter or scan their own data, this makes it simpler to use, which will create a wide user base. The 21st Century Cures Act of 2016  also pushed federal agencies and providers to use electronic health records; now there is a data standard for personal health records, which wasn’t the case in 2011 when Google Health tried to use a similar health record service.


Apple’s New Business Chat in iOS 11.3 Update


In June 2017, Apple released the details of its new communication platform, Business Chat, that be launching this spring in its iOS 11.3 update. With Business Chat, any iOS 11.3 user will be able to start a thread with businesses they find through Siri, Maps, Safari, and Spotlight search. 

Aside from asking questions about services or products from that business, users will be able to make purchases directly within the chat with a merchant using Apple Pay or Apple Pay Cash. Now, it’ll be much easier for someone to book a doctor’s appointment or buy a plane ticket – all in iMessage! Convenient, huh? The best thing about using Business Chat for making purchases is that  Apple Pay Cash does not have a middle party that will be paid, therefore there are no extra fees for sending money through the chat.




Apple iOS 11.2.5 Is Finally Here

Should You Upgrade?

Apple iOS 11.2.5 is finally here. However, there are a lot of problems being reported by users. This brings up the following question: should you be excited and upgrade?

What’s the deal with iOS 11.2.5?
The iOS 11.2.5 is standard like any iOS 11. It is compatible with the iphone 5S or later, 6th generation ipod touch or later, as well as the ipod mini 2 or later.

How do you update to iOS 11.2.5?
Apple usually lets you know to update. But if this doesn’t happen, then you can manually do it by going to Setting (on your device) →General →Software Update.

What are the negatives of this iOS?
There are a number of different problems with this new iOS, including ringtone bugs, lockscreen issues, degraded WiFi, and so forth.

What are the positives?
Though the iOS 11.2.5 doesn’t offer many positives, it does offer more than just bug fixes. According to Apple’s release note:

“iOS 11.2.5 includes support for HomePod and introduces the ability for Siri to read the news (US, UK and Australia only). This update also includes bug fixes and improvements.”

Even though there are a few improvements, there’s still nothing essential about the new release. What do you think?

For more information read the following article: Apple iOS 11.2.5 Release: Should You Upgrade?