Tech News

Apple Developing Electric Car, Amazon Prime Air Gets Grounded [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 16-02-2015

Apple’s electric dreams, Amazon gets grounded, Google feels charitable, Google Helpouts stop helping, Apple iWork works for all, and an Android Chorus brings harmony to the world.


Apple is Developing an Electric Car

Apple is rumored to be working on an electric car No, Low Gas Prices Are Not the End of the Electric Car Do falling gas prices spell the end for electric cars like the Tesla Model S? Not so fast. Gas prices aren't the whole story. Read More , at least according to The Wall Street Journal [Paywall]. There are hundreds of people working on the car, internally known as Project Titan, which in its current iteration reportedly “resembles a minivan.

The report claims Apple CEO Tim Cook signed off on this project almost a year ago, with up to 1,000 members of staff across a range of departments working on it under Steve Zadesky. Zadesky, now an Apple exec, just happens to be a former engineer at Ford.

Details of Project Titan are currently thin on the ground. So much so that while this could be an electric car designed to compete with Tesla Facebook WhatsApp, SkyDrive OneDrive, Yahoo Siri, Apple Tesla [Tech News Digest] Facebook buys WhatsApp, FCC responds to the loss of 'net neutrality', SkyDrive becomes OneDrive, Yahoo wants its own Siri, Apple is interested in Tesla, and Samsung mocks Apple in its latest set of television commercials. Read More many years from now, it could equally be a testing ground for other Apple products and platforms, CarPlay being the most obvious contender.

As usual, only time will tell, and also as usual, Apple will not reveal its plans until it’s absolutely ready to do so.

The FAA Rules Against Amazon Prime Air

The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has officially announced its proposed rules for the operation of small commercial drones. The rules apply to all drones weighing less 55 pounds flown by anyone other than hobbyists.


A drone operator license will be created, with potential pilots 7 Industries Drones Are Set to Revolutionize Seven industries that are ready and braced to be (mostly positively) impacted – if not revolutionized – by drones. Read More over the age of 17 having to pass a knowledge test every two years in order to hold one. Drones can only be flown during daytime hours, under 500 feet, and no faster than 100 mph.

This all seems reasonable enough, but the FAA is also insisting that operators must be able to see their drone at all times. This rule, which could still be modified, kills the notion of delivery drones, putting an end to Amazon’s Prime Air dreams Amazon Delivery Drones, Facebook Hack, Kindle Fire Vs iPad Air [Tech News Digest] Amazon aerial drones, Facebook friends list hack, Google Nexus handsets vulnerability discovered, Black Friday numbers are released, Steam introduces user reviews, and the Kindle Fire HDX is compared favorably to the iPad Air. Read More . At least for the time being.

Google Extends Vulnerability Fix Window

Google has offered developers a lifeline when they’re faced with fixing a zero day vulnerability discovered by Project Zero Google Unmasks Elite Hackers, iPads Can Give You Rashes, And More... [Tech News Digest] Hidden From Google tracks blocked search results, naming rules relaxed on Google+, Oculus cancels Rift DK2 pre-orders over eBay sales, the story behind one man's Wikipedia bot, and Weird Al details Word Crimes. Read More . Much to the chagrin of Microsoft Microsoft Complains About Google, Spotify Switches To Mobile, & More [Tech News Digest] Microsoft falls out with Google, Spotify gets more mobile, Nintendo quits Brazil, Apple increases app prices, the Flappy Bird arcade cabinet, and there's no escaping the zombie apocalypse. Read More , Google has previously insisted on a strict 90-day window for a company to fix a security flaw before it’s revealed to the public.

However, after analyzing the data obtained so far, Google is adding a grace period of 14 days for developers who request it. Deadlines will also be adjusted to avoid them falling on a weekend. In other words, while Google is still being strict, it realizes dictators create enemies.


Google Shuts Down Google Helpouts

Google Helpouts is no more, with Google shutting down the service on April 20, 2015. Google states Helpouts, which launched at the end of 2013 Google Publicly Launches Helpouts For Real Time Expert Help Via Hangouts Google Helpouts is an instructional service that will connect people who need help on any topic with experts. The live one-on-one sessions over Hangouts video chat come completely personalized. Join in. Read More , is being shuttered because “it hasn’t grown at the pace we had expected.

Google Helpouts connected ordinary Internet users who wanted to learn about a particular subject with experts in that field. People could obtain either free or paid advice on a wide range of subjects, from parenting to photography. Unfortunately, clearly not enough people were interested for Google to keep Helpouts going.

Apple Offers iWork Apps to Everybody

Apple is making its iWork for iCloud apps multi-platform, removing the need for users to own an iDevice before they can access the productivity apps. Instead, all you need to use the iWork for iCloud beta is an Apple ID.

This gets you 1GB of free cloud storage to save files you can access on a range of different devices, including Android, Windows, and Linux. Which means Apple iWork is true competition for Google Docs Google Docs Cheat Sheet Read More . So, which do you prefer?


Google Creates an Android Chorus

And finally, Google Japan has released a video showing 300 different Android devices singing together in unison. The smartphones and tablets each feature a different Androidify character performing a particularly peculiar version of the “Ode to Joy” movement from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

I’m not sure it would make me choose Android over the competition, but it’s certainly a lot of fun, and very, very Japanese. As these weird Japanese music videos 10 Of The Weirdest Japanese Pop Videos That'll Make You Say WTF I know I explained last time that real life in Japan isn't all that mad, but music videos is one area that they really excel (?) at. If you've ever seen a really weird music... Read More and bizarre game show clips Japan Delivers: 8 Of The Weirdest Game Show Clips Japanese game shows are bit of an enigma really. While most of Japan can be said to be remarkably uncreative (Nintendo being a prime example of Japanese “creativity” on a corporate level), I have to... Read More prove.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

What do you think Apple’s plans are for the automotive industry? Has the FAA got it right on the rules for commercial drones? Will you be using Apple’s iWork apps without an iDevice?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.


Image Credit: Tinou Bao via Flickr

Related topics: Apple, Charity, Google.

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  1. John Williams
    February 17, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Amazon simply need to use drones in pairs with cameras looking at each other. Or use a motherdrone as air traffic controller for many delivery drones .....

    Apple are having to build their own car because nobody in the global car industry will want to work with a bunch of megalomaniac control freaks with a locked down system mentality.
    Fortunately for the rest of the world iCar will be too expensive - as it will be carved out of a single billet of unobtainium - it will never be sold outside of the States.

    • mike gordon
      February 18, 2015 at 12:20 am

      John Williams you made me laugh, although you may well be proved right. Can't find Unobtanium on my periodic table ! perhaps its a compound and not an emlement

  2. Joe
    February 17, 2015 at 7:03 am

    Great on Mount Everest, LOL.

  3. Godel
    February 16, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    While delivery drones are a stupid idea in the city, I think they offer possibilities in rural and semi-rural areas.

    Perhaps they would have to add some sort of RF warning/locator beacon. for safety purposes.

    • Allen
      February 17, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      I couldn't agree more my friend. You obviously know what you're talking about.

  4. Bud
    February 16, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    Knowing Apple’s high costs, I would NOT personally waste my monies. No matter how good their quality maybe in other areas.

  5. dragonmouth
    February 16, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I don't know why Jeff Bezos ever thought that Amazon and other retailers will be allowed to use drones for deliveries. While it sounds great in theory and in science fiction, it would have created nightmare traffic jams in the air. Air space over all countries sufficiently advanced to use this technology is already saturated. There are near misses every day. Adding thousands, if not millions, of delivery drones that are outside of centralized control, would greatly increase the danger of mid-air collision.

  6. Angela Alcorn
    February 16, 2015 at 11:37 am

    I have to say, the nail in the coffin for Google Helpouts was probably the #EUVAT change. Helpouts was one of the first big ventures to just cut off Europe due to the tax changes, so there goes a whole bunch of countries with potentially active users .