Technology

What's Up With Apple: iCar Designs, Independent Repair Expansion and More

Like many of us, LeaseFetcher, a U.K.-based online auto leasing website, got tired of all the talk about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and whether it would find a partner to build an Apple Car. What LeaseFetcher wanted to know was what an Apple Car would look like.

The U.K. firm decided to commission drawings of what an Apple Car (which the firm identified as an iCar in the renderings) would look like if it were designed and built by each of X manufacturers. The mashups include iCar designs based on Hyundai’s Ioniq electric vehicles (EVs), Nissan’s GT-R, Toyota Supra, Honda E and Kia Soul EV, along with a different Apple product for each automaker.

The Nissan-built iCar is a mashup of the automakers GT-R with Apple’s iPhone 12.

Check out the rest of the designs.

Apple announced on Monday that its independent repair provider program will soon be expanded to include more than 200 countries. The program was first rolled out in the United States in 2019 and Apple added independent repair shops in Europe and Canada last year.

According to the announcement, “repair providers of all sizes [gain] access to genuine Apple parts, tools, repair manuals, and diagnostics to offer safe and reliable repairs for Apple products.” The program is free to join but the repair shop needs to commit to having an Apple-certified technician perform the work. The certification process is “simple and free of charge.”

MacRumors reported Tuesday morning that Apple has agreed to a contract with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) to make the next generation Mac chips and the next generation A-series Bionic chips used in iPhones and iPads. Taiwan-based Digitimes reported that Apple already has booked initial runs of TSM’s 4-nanometer (4nm) chips for the Mac and 5nm chips for the Bionic. The A14 Bionic chips used in the iPhone 12 and the M1 Mac chips are both 5nm designs.

According to Digitimes, TSMC will begin volume production of 4nm chips in the fourth quarter of this year. Apple also plans to use an “enhanced version of the 5nm process for the A15 chip in the iPhone 13.” Production of the so-called A15 is expected to begin by the end of May.

Apple, of course, has been silent. The company has not said that it will continue to use the old naming scheme either for the chips or the iPhone. There is no indication that Apple will introduce a 4nm chip into the Mac by the end of this year.

Finally, Apple has lost an attempt to stop Swiss-based watchmaker Swatch from using a phrase long identified with the late Steve Jobs. When Jobs would host an Apple event introducing new products, he would save the one everyone wanted most to hear about until the very end. Then he would say, “One more thing.”

Swatch had attempted to register the phrase and a prior decision by a European court sided with Apple’s suit to block Swatch. On Monday, though, a judge in London reversed the decision, citing the U.S. TV detective show Columbo as the source of the phrase.