Tesla electric car can now (almost) drive itself

If you’re one of the lucky owners of Tesla’s super-awesome electric cars, you’re also might be one of the fortunate few that get to experience the future today. Tesla just rolled out an over-the-air update that pushed out a semi-autonomous feature to all of its cars made and sold in the U.S. The roll-out could […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Samsung May Follow Apple by Launching Smartphone Leasing Program

Samsung is planning to follow in Apple’s footsteps by launching its own Galaxy smartphone leasing program in the U.S. over the coming months, according to Forbes.

The South Korean electronics giant is planning to launch a program for leasing its Galaxy phones in the U.S. market, similar to the one Apple announced just weeks ago, according to an industry executive with knowledge of Samsung’s plans. Samsung may be launching this leasing program in the next several months, although that timeline may accelerate, the executive said.

The report does not offer any other details about Samsung’s plans for the rumored smartphone leasing program, but the move would make sense as the wireless industry moves away from subsidized pricing and two-year contracts in favor of monthly installment plans and financing programs for payments.

Apple introduced the iPhone Upgrade Program alongside the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus earlier this month, enabling customers to upgrade to a new iPhone every year with AppleCare+ warranty coverage included. Eligible customers who sign up for the program will have the full cost of their new iPhone broken down into 24 equal payments of around $30 to $45 per month depending on the model, plus a premium for AppleCare+.

After the first 12 monthly payments, the customer gains the option to trade in their iPhone for a new one and enter into a new 24 month installment plan to pay it off. The final cost of an entry-level 16GB iPhone 6s with AppleCare+ purchased through the iPhone Upgrade Program is $777.84, which is ultimately the same price as purchasing a 16GB iPhone 6s ($649) and AppleCare+ ($129) outright – but with less due upfront.

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile also offer their own carrier financing plans for iPhones and Galaxy smartphones, each breaking down the full price of the device into equal monthly payments.



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2,732×2,048 ‘iPad Pro’ With Model Identifier ‘iPad6,8’ Shows Up in Analytics

Mobile analytics firm AppSee reports that an iPad with model identifier „iPad6,8“ and a resolution of 2,732×2,048 pixels – likely the 12.9-inch „iPad Pro“ – has appeared within its analytics logs. The firm is also seeing the „iPhone8,1“ and „iPhone8,2“ in its logs, as others have, which are likely the model identifiers for the so-called „iPhone 6s“ and „iPhone 6s Plus.“

A few months ago, Taiwanese iOS developer Hiraku Wang shared iOS 9 beta code that suggested the 12.93-inch „iPad Pro“ could have a 2,732×2,048 pixels resolution at 264 PPI based on Apple’s @2x high-resolution modifier. Research firm DisplaySearch also reported in January that Apple had a tablet display with a resolution of 2,732×2,048 pixels and 265 PPI under development.

With new devices beginning to show up in analytics, it is likely that Apple is nearing the final stages of testing new iPhone and iPad models that are expected to be announced in the near future. Apple is rumored to hold a media event on September 9 to unveil the „iPhone 6s“ and „iPhone 6s Plus,“ but it remains unclear if the „iPad Pro“ will also be announced or held back until later in 2015 or early 2016.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo issued a note to investors today that claims the „iPad Pro“ will have a Force Touch-enabled stylus and enter mass production in September or October. Kuo expects that Force Touch will become a standard feature on all Apple products, similar to how Siri, Touch ID, Retina displays and other features were released on one device before expanding to others.



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12.9-Inch ‘iPad Pro’ Rumored to Launch After Mid-November as Foxconn Prepares Components

The oft-rumored 12.9-inch „iPad Pro“ is expected to launch after mid-November as overseas manufacturer Foxconn prepares to start supplying components for the large-sized tablet in late September, according to the sometimes-reliable Taiwanese blog DigiTimes. Apple reportedly remains cautious about placing orders for the „iPad Pro“ from suppliers due to declining iPad sales and weakening demand in the overall tablet market.

12.9-inch „iPad Pro“ dummy model originally shared in February 2015
DigiTimes has a hit-and-miss track record reporting on Apple’s upcoming product plans, so this latest rumor should be treated with a proverbial grain of salt. Nevertheless, the rumor is consistent with previous reports that widely expect the „iPad Pro“ to launch in the second half of this year. Apple has also historically announced new iPad models in October, which lines up with a launch around mid-November.

A related DigiTimes report claims that China-based white-box tablet makers are preparing to capitalize on the „iPad Pro“ launch and seasonal shopping trends by releasing tablets in the 10-inch to 15-inch throughout the second half of 2015. The tablet makers are said to be sourcing components from Taiwan-based touch controller IC makers including ITE Tech, Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS) and ILi Technology (Ilitek).



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AppleCare for Mac Now Covers Batteries Retaining Less Than 80% Capacity

Just a few days after updating the terms of its AppleCare+ Protection Plan for iPhone, iPad, iPod and Apple Watch to cover batteries that retain less than 80% of their original capacity within the extended warranty period, Apple has extended the same policy to the AppleCare Protection Plan for the MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini and Mac Pro.

Apple previously only replaced defective batteries under the old terms of the AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac, although a support page updated today now outlines that the company will replace a notebook’s battery at no charge if it retains less than 80% of its original capacity. If the Mac is not covered by AppleCare, replacing the battery requires paying an out-of-warranty service charge ranging between $129 and $199.

The new battery terms of the AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac:

„Your Apple One Year Limited Warranty or AppleCare Protection Plan includes replacement coverage for a defective battery. If you purchased an AppleCare Protection Plan for your Mac notebook with a non-removable battery, Apple will replace the notebook battery at no charge if it retains less than 80 percent of its original capacity. If you don’t have coverage, you can have the battery replaced for a fee.“

Mac notebooks with built-in batteries:

MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009) and later
All MacBook Airs
All MacBook Pros with Retina display
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009) and later; MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009) and later

AppleCare for Mac extends the computer’s warranty coverage and telephone technical support to three years from the original date of purchase. Without an AppleCare Protection Plan, Mac customers are covered by a limited one-year warranty and 90 days of complimentary phone support. AppleCare for Mac costs between $99 and $349 depending on the model of desktop computer or notebook.

Apple retail staff have been informed of the new policy which is effective immediately.



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