Apple’s Concept Car: the iMove

Why do all cars seem to follow the same basic engineering scheme? Sure, some break the mold, slightly, but nobody ever tries to redefine everything about the ascetics of an automobile. Well, innovators at Apple have been thinking a lot about this lately.

imoveApple- the company that brings us some of the best computers, phones, and tablets- has spent the last few years thinking about how they can expand their company even further. They decided that the natural answer, of course, would be automobiles. After all, automobiles are rich in technology, and the future of our roads are only going to get more and more tied up in this technological game.

That is why auto designer Liviu Tudoran has been working on an Apple concept car, known simply as the iMove. Early reports claim that this iMove will be powered by a zero emissions electric motor. Not surprisingly, it will also feature some of the best gadgetry that has ever been seen in a car.

In fact, it has been reported that the dashboard of the vehicle will be one large touch screen device! Amazingly, this dashboard will be charged by electricity that is generated from the roof of the vehicle, which will be covered with pyramidal glass receptors.

But the craziest innovation may be the fact that drivers can change the exterior look of their automobile just by pressing a button! Apple has created this innovation by forming the car’s body with photocromic material that is able to change colors at any time. Welcome the road’s new chameleon.

With an anticipated release date of 2020, the iMove has been designed to break the mold of automobiles ascetics. The car doesn’t have the prototypical windshield, doors, or wheels. Instead, its design looks eerily similar to the Macintosh mouse shape that we have at our computers.

This morphed vehicle shape allows the vehicle to have some funky features, including the ability for the  roof to open and close while drivers are on the move.

Reportedly, the iMove will be able to hold as many as three people, and there will be a luggage compartment in the back of the vehicle. According to Redif Business, “Liviu Tudoran feels that Apple Macintosh is an exclusive brand with personality that has a specific range of target buyers- these are people already using the Apple products and are eager to drive more than just a vehicle.”

Is anybody excited for this vehicle? Does it have a future? Comment and let me know what you think.

 

Queen- Teo Torriate (Let Us Cling Together)

I’ve been listening to this Queen song all week. It’s one of their most underrated, and often forgotten, songs. Much of this can be contributed to the fact that part of the chorus is in Japanese, but don’t let that fool you. This song contains everything great about Queen and Freddie Mercury. It’s epic and soulful and it’s pure 70s arena rock. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Bruce Springsteen: The Working Class Hero

bruce2Born to Run will surely go down as one of the most historic albums of all-time. It has the classic radio tunes (Thunder Road, Born to Run), the iconic cover photo, and it was the album that turned Bruce Springsteen into a legitimate superstar and music powerhouse. But above all, it was the ultimate example of the American Dream coming true.

Born to Run was Springsteen’s third album. Before this seminal album, Springsteen was struggling with a reputation of being nothing more than a Bob Dylan clone. In a 1975 Rolling Stone article, author Greil Marcus says, “Certainly, I couldn’t find the reasons [to go to a live show based] on Springsteen’s first two albums, despite Columbia’s ‘New Dylan’ promotional campaign…both seemed at once flat and more than a little hysterical, full of sound and fury, and signifying, if not nothing, not much.”

Now, I don’t agree with Marcus (in fact, Greetings from Ashbury Park is one of my favorite Springsteen albums), but this was the general attitude towards Springsteen at the time. Bruce was considered a working class musician. He delivered solid (but not spectacular) tunes and gave great, energetic live shows. The only thing that special about him was that audiences would get their money’s worth. Springsteen says, “I wanted to be something you could depend upon, as best as I could. I was gonna have my screw-ups and make my mistakes and I was probably gonna do things you didn’t want me to do, but fundamentally I was gonna be at least out there searching for that road.”

At the time, Springsteen was happy to be able to make a living doing what he loved. He was like us all; he was plugging along doing the best that he could. Around his New Jersey neighborhoods, he was a success, too. He was a man of music, pulling his own weight. He was the guy that lived down the street that had the balls to do it his way and the will to make it work. Springsteen says, “Michael Appel [our first manager] said, ‘We didn’t do very well, we sold about 20,000 records.’ I said, ’20,000 records! That’s fabulous! I don’t know 20,000 people. Who would buy a record by someone they have no idea about?’”

But just because Springsteen was happy, it didn’t mean that he was satisfied. In fact, he was far from it. He had dreams of going to the top, believing in his work ethic and talent. He didn’t see limitations. “We were pretty good. As we travelled around I said, ‘Yeah, we’re not only pretty good, we’re better than a lot of these other guys I’m seeing’, and I’d put the radio on and I’d say, ‘And I’m as good as a lot of these guys that are on the radio, too, so why shouldn’t I be on the radio?”

But he knew that taking it to the next level would require even more work and dedication. He needed to move like a freight train towards this singular goal. Of course, this would not be an easy thing to do without selling out and forgetting about the people and the places that he came from. Heading into the studio to record his third album, Bruce navigated this difficult road of ambition and humility, saying, “You just want to be in the band and be a part of that thing moving along, but then somewhere along the way that becomes intertwined with, of course, raving ambition, and you’re trying to make the best, greatest rock record that could ever be made. You’re trying to be the best and your ego pushes you, which is okay, that’s how things roll. I think as long as all those things are managed in a fashion that allows you to survive and continue, and keeps you on a reasonable path, it’s fine.”

As he and his band plugged along, they strived to push their limits and do something more with their album (for example, implementing the wall of sound technique), while staying true to their working class roots.  This, of course, resulted in an explosion of popularity upon the record’s release. It was the working man’s album, but sophisticated and smooth and refined. It was one of the greatest of all-time. It rose to number 3 on the Billboard charts and turned Bruce into the biggest thing in America. But even better, it was proof that the American Dream was real. It was proof that if a person works hard and stays true to himself, he has a chance to do something great with his life. The only question being: will you keep believing and working hard through it all?

SPRINGSTEENAfter Born to Run broke through, it would be safe to assume that Springsteen sold out and forgot about his roots, right? Not exactly. For 35 years, he has remained exactly the same, showing a mixture of humility and confidence. Of course, he does have one vice. To celebrate the album’s success, Bruce went out and bought himself a 1960 Chevrolet Corvette. I can’t say that I blame him. Long live the BOSS.

 

Henry Ford’s Last Surviving Grandson, William Ford Clay Sr., Passes Away

williamclayfordImagine taking your first driving lesson with Henry Ford, or going on your first flight with Charles Lindbergh. Those might sound like wild fantasies for all of us, but for the late William Clay Ford Sr., it was one of the privileges of being the grandson of Henry Ford. Unfortunately, William Clay Ford’s illustrious life came to end Sunday as he passed away in his sleep from pneumonia at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores. He was 88 years old.

Born on March 14, 1925, William Clay Ford led a privileged life, but he never took his foot off of the gas pedal. Instead, he always looked to push himself to the limits and build a life of his own accord. At just 18 years old, Ford became a member of U.S. Navy Air Corps during World War II, and later on in 1949, he graduated from Yale University with a degree in economics. These, of course, are major accomplishments for any man. Adding to the foundations of his life, Ford was also married in 1947 to Martha Firestone, heiress to the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co.

continentalmarkiiEventually, William Ford became involved in his grandfather’s company, showing a flair for design and acumen for business. Both skills were of great benefit to the company. In 1956, one of Ford’s greatest styling contributions came with the design 1956 Continental Mark II, which is viewed as one of the most iconic cars of all-time. Former Ford Motor president, Nick Scheele, says, “He had a great eye for styling. You could see it in his Continental Mark II.”

However, William Clay Ford’s biggest contribution may have come when he stubbornly insisted that the Ford family not give up control of the company when they went public in 1956. Through his leadership, the Ford family retained 40% of the voting rights through a special class of stock, helping the company continue forward into the modern world.

timeDuring his life, Ford became so prominent that he appeared on the May 1953 cover of Time Magazine with brother Benson and father Henry. Adding to his infamy, William Clay Ford bought the Detroit Lions in 1964 for 4.5 billion dollars. “My father was a great business leader and humanitarian who dedicated his life to the company and the community,” William Clay Ford Jr. said in a released public statement. “He also was a wonderful family man, a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him, yet he will continue to inspire us all.”

William Clay Ford Sr. is survived by his wife Martha, children William Jr., Martha Ford Morse, Sheila Ford Hemp, and Elizabeth Ford Kontulis, as well as 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

The GM Recall Just Got a Little Worse #Cover-Up

Image Courtesy of CBS News

Image Courtesy of CBS News

In January, GM was riding an all-time high, winning both truck and car of the year at the Detroit Auto Show. Politicians and industry leaders were lining up to offer their praise and approval.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Instead of building off of their success, GM is now dealing with questions about their past and a possible cover-up scandal.

This scandal is circulating around a recall of roughly 1.6 million vehicles in February of this year. The recall was performed because of a faulty ignition switch that could shut off the engine and disable safety systems. This malfunction has been linked to 31 frontal end crashes and 13 deaths over the course of the past decade. Now, there have been reports that the businessmen in the upper echelon of GM may have known about this problem 10 years ago and still went on dealing the vehicles.

These rumors have led to an investigation of the company. This week, regulators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have begun an in-depth examination of the company, starting with a 27 page survey that includes 107 questions about the timeline of events leading to the recall. GM has until April 3rd to finish what is assumed to be a several hundred page report of events.

gm2Addressing what will be done with the report, the NHTSA said in a released statement on their website, “The Special Order is part of the agency’s ongoing investigation into the timeliness of General Motors’ recall of faulty ignition switches to determine whether GM properly followed the legal processes and requirements for reporting recalls… We are a data-driven organization, and we will take whatever action is appropriate based on where our findings lead us.”

Mary Barra, who took over as CEO in January, is already trying to weather the storm with an internal investigation. On Tuesday, she sent a letter to GM employees stating that the company would be taking an “unvarnished” look at how the process was handled.

To handle the public and the swarming media, GM released this statement earlier this week: “We are fully cooperating with NHTSA and we welcome the opportunity to help the agency have a full understanding of the facts. In addition to getting NHTSA the information they need, we are doing what we can now to ensure our customers’ safety and peace of mind. We want our customers to know that today’s GM is committed to fixing this problem in a manner that earns trust.”

For the new GM led by Barra, they have handled this scandal the best that they can. But the question still remains: will the public forgive and forget, chalking this up to corrupt leaders that are no longer around? Only time will tell.

Apple’s CarPlay Has Just Been Released and Some People Are Disappointed

carplayFor years, companies have been falling over themselves trying to connect the growing technological world to the automotive world. There have been prototypes for autonomous cars that communicate amongst themselves on the road, there was the trial run of the infamous Google Glass (still in the works), and there has been endless chatter about bringing the web to vehicle dashboards. Well, Apple has finally released their latest answer to the technology/automotive question: CarPlay.

As many people already know, CarPlay has been one of the most talked about technological upgrades of the year; it is a gadget that creates connectivity between cars and a person’s iPhone. For ravenous onlookers, it’s been a long wait (9 months to be exact) since Apple’s original announcement of the gadget. This week at the Geneva Motor Show, the product was finally unveiled to the public.

And so far, it looks like there are mixed reviews on the device. But whether you like it or not may depend on if you are a “glass is half full” or “glass is half empty” type person.

On the bright side, CarPlay opens up a world that has never before been available, providing maps, messaging, music, and all of the best features of an iOS. Adding to the new plethora of functionality, CarPlay has also established a message control system that will be controlled by the driver’s voice. This feature will allow drivers to listen to their voicemails and go through texts with the help of Siri, the programs speech recognition “personal assistant.”

However, there is some grumbling about the current setup, including the voice activated system. One of the main questions is: why isn’t every app voice activated? Writer Jacob Kastrenakes is one of these critics; he says, “For some reason [messaging] is the only app shown for which Apple has made the interface almost entirely reliant on voice control…It’ll certainly prevent drivers from reading through their text message history when they shouldn’t, but it’s somewhat strange that this appears to be the sole app that Apple has designed this way.”

iphoneOf course, this isn’t the only criticism facing CarPlay. Many people are already complaining that the product does not move as fast as a smartphone or tablet. Then, others are wondering why there are no third party apps like Facebook and Twitter available. Really, all this sounds like is a bunch of nitpicking. And most people seem to be missing the point.

Today, people want their technology and their social media available to them 24-7 with no interruptions. If anything takes away from their full capacity to be plugged in, there is a infantile outcry. They don’t want their freedom to be limited! But what’s really bad about all of this is the fact that people are unwilling to admit that all of this technology may be dangerous. In a 2013 study released from Texas A&M, it was reported that the reaction times of drivers texting and/or using voice to text applications were twice as slow.  “The amount of time that drivers spent looking at the roadway ahead was significantly less when they were texting, no matter which texting method was used.”

The University of Utah released similar findings, too. In a study led by psychology professor David Strayer- who has worked closely with AAA over the years- driving is significantly impacted by hands free technology. He says,  “Our research shows that hands-free is not risk-free. These new, speech-based technologies in the car can overload the driver’s attention and impair their ability to drive safely. An unintended consequence of trying to make driving safer – by moving to speech-to-text, in-vehicle systems – may actually overload the driver and make them less safe.”

Unfortunately, consumers are paying very little attention to these findings. Being plugged in to the rapidly changing, high anxiety world is now what’s most important, and in a twist of irony, it’s the greedy, money driven companies that are showing some restraint.

The Lamborghini Huracan Is Making Believers Out of Us All

lambpFor Lamborghini, the Gallardo model was the brand’s top selling vehicle of all-time. During its decade long run, there were over 14,000 Gallardo’s produced, ranging in the $180-$210 thousand dollar range. It was a car that countless celebrities and big wig CEO’s wanted in on, and it was even featured on 60 Minutes. However, times have changed, and at this week’s Geneva Motor Show, Lamborghini showcased the Gallardo predecessor: the Huracan.

Leading up to its release, many critics were wondering if the Huracan could live up to the reputation of the Gallardo. USA Today writer, Chris Woodyard, says, “Huracan has big tires to fill: It is the replacement for the Lamborghini Gallardo, probably the best known supercar that brand has ever produced.” For Lamborghini, this type of pressure was no surprise. It only added to their determination to build an even better super car, which is exactly what they’ve done.

Amazingly at this week’s Geneva Motor Show, spectators were finally able to see the Huracan up close and in all its beauty. Immediately, the first thing that pops out is that the body of the Huracan features less sharp angles, providing a smoother, sleeker vehicle. Adding to the wave of change, this new ride will be powered by a 5.2-liter V-10 engine that fires up a superb 610 horsepower (this is an upgrade from the Gallardo’s 562 horsepower). Also, to build on the upgrades, the Huracan has both direct and indirect gas injection that is designed to provide better performance and fuel economy than the Gallardo.

Lamborghini CEO, Stephen Winklemann, says, “We wanted a redefinition of the supercar. We wanted a car that was easy and comfortable to drive on the roads and absolutely the highest performance on the tracks. And we wanted to bring innovative technology and absolute performance. It will be a milestone within Lamborghini’s history.” So far, it seems that Lamborghini has done just that. Reportedly, there are already over 1000 orders for the new car.

Across the web, writers and bloggers have been clamoring about the new technology that Lamborghini promised and delivered on. This car’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission has clocked in at a top speed of 202 mph and a 0-62 speed of 3.2 seconds. Adding to the innovation is Lamborghini’s attempt to improve fuel efficiency- a long time criticism of the car. To do this, the Huracan has implemented a start-stop technology that automatically shuts off the car’s engine at stop lights.

Already, in the early hours after its release, the critics have all been silenced, and the Gallardo has seemed to fade off into our distant memories. Instead, all people can talk about is how great the Lamborghini Huracan is.