Apple dives deeper into autos with software for car dashboard; updates MacBook Air
Stephen Nellis, Reuters
Published Monday, June 6, 2022 5:06PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 6, 2022 5:06PM EDT
CUPERTINO, Calif., June 6 (Reuters) - Apple Inc AAPL.O on Monday announced it would more deeply integrate its software into the core driving systems of cars, while the iPhone maker rolled out a slew of features for payments and business collaboration.
Apple also announced that its new MacBook Air laptop was redesigned around a new M2 silicon processor, which it says is 35% faster than the previous M1 chip. The new laptop will be 2.7 pounds (1.2 kg) and have a 1080p high-definition camera to provide better images on video calls. The MacBook Air will start at $1,199, Apple announced at WWDC 2022, its annual software developer conference.
The M2 chip will also power the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which will start at $1,299 and be available next month. Prices are $100 lower for education customers as Apple targets the back-to-school market.
Apple showed off a new car dashboard that it said would be able to display data from major instruments such as speed, fuel levels and gas mileage. Apple said it was in talks with automakers such as Ford Motor Co F.N, Nissan Motor Co 7201.T and Honda Motor Corp 7267.T.
The software connects more deeply into core driving systems than prior versions that were limited to the vehicle's infotainment displays for playing music and showing maps. Apple said vehicles using the software will not be announced until late next year.
Polestar, the premium electric vehicle maker owned by China's Geely GEELY.UL and Volvo Cars, is installing the current version of Apple CarPlay into its Polestar 2 cars through an over-the-air update later this month, Polestar spokesman JP Canton said. Which Polestar cars will get the newer version Apple announced on Monday are under discussion and no further information was available, he said.
A spokeswoman for Ford, which announced a software deal with Alphabet's GOOGL.OGoogle last year, declined to comment on Apple's announcement. Ford and other automakers have formed a number of alliances with big technology industry companies including Apple, Google and Amazon.com AMZN.O. But automakers remain wary of allowing the tech giants unfettered access to the data generated by connected cars, or to allow them to displace the automakers' brands with their own in dashboard displays.
Apple also announced that users can buy now and pay later for purchases. Apple Pay Later will be available anywhere that Apple Pay is accepted and managed through the Apple Wallet. Users can make four equal payments with no interest or fees. The move puts Apple in direction competition with payment providers like Affirm Holdings Inc AFRM.O and PayPal Holdings Inc PYPL.O.
Apple's iPad also received a revamp of its operating system to make it easier for users to juggle multiple applications and displays and to collaborate more easily on business-centric documents such as presentations. The company also previewed an app called Freeform, which will act as a virtual whiteboard that multiple users can tap to share ideas during video meetings over Apple's FaceTime service. The productivity features put Apple in more direct competition with Microsoft MSFT.O, whose Surface tablet computers are popular among business users.
Apple also added an edit button to iMessage for sent messages, beating Twitter TWTR.N to a long-requested feature.
The tech giant is also adding a tool called "Safety Check" to turn off access to sensitive information for people in abusive situations.
Apple introduced a new technology called Passkeys to replace passwords on websites. Apple said Passkeys are safer than traditional passwords because Passkeys are never stored on a web server. The company said it is working to enable the use of Passkeys with non-Apple devices.
Apple also introduced tweaks to popular apps including live sport scores on Apple TV, making the shared video-watching app available in messaging and shared tabs on its browser.
Apple shares closed up less than 1%, similar to their level at the start of the presentation.
So far, Apple only provided a few updates to augmented reality developers. It introduced a new interface called RoomPlan, which utilizes the iPhone and iPad to create a 3-D floor plan of a room.
Apple did not provide any hints about future devices such as a mixed-reality headset. Such a device would be Apple's first entry into a new category of computing device since the Apple Watch shipped in 2015 and would put it in direct competition with Meta FB.O, which has disclosed plans for a mixed-reality headset code named "Cambria" to be released this year.
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Additional reporting by Nivedita Balu, Shivansh Tiwary and Bhanvi Satijain in Bengaluru, and Joseph White and Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Peter Henderson and Lisa Shumaker)