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Late-night ‘motor noises’ emanate from Apple’s mysterious car testing center


Apple’s top-secret Sunnyvale, Calif., automotive testing facility has been the source of loud “motor noises” late at night that irked at least one nearby neighbor, AppleInsider has discovered.

Artist’s (poor) rendering of an Apple garage.

A resident who lives near Apple’s automotive campus in Sunnyvale issued a complaint to city officials last year over concern about noise coming from the property. Major renovations at the Apple-occupied site have been in the works, including the addition of an “auto work area” and a “repair garage,” AppleInsider was first to reveal last March.
Apple has built an “auto work area” and “repair garage” in the town of Sunnyvale, where one neighbor complained of “motor noises” late at night.
Whether the sounds were construction or something else remains unknown, as Apple has gone to great lengths to conceal what it is doing at the property.

“(Do) there have to (be) motor noises at 11:00 p.m. at night like last night?” the resident wrote to the city of Sunnyvale. “Even with the windows closed I could still hear it.”

Apple occupies seven buildings, comprising nearly 300,000 square feet, of a large office complex in the city. One of the buildings, street number “175,” was advertised as home to a mysterious company named SixtyEight Research, believed to be a shell corporation for Apple to conceal its real intentions.

Sources have indicated to AppleInsider that shipments related to the development of Apple’s “Project Titan” automotive effort have been sent to its Sunnyvale campus, just minutes away from the 1 Infinite Loop headquarters. Specifically, “Project Titan” is said to be based out of a building known internally as “SG5.”

Construction at Apple’s Sunnyvale campus, as seen last year.

Whether the developments at the site are related to the advancement of the CarPlay platform or are a part of something larger — like a full-fledged Apple-built car — remains a mystery.

And Apple, of course, intends to keep it that way. Last year, representatives for the property received permits to build a 10-foot-tall security fence around the buildings Apple occupies, citing the need for both “physical security” and “visual privacy.” The permits were required because the fence exceeds local height restrictions.

Numerous additional permits for construction inside the buildings specifically say the improvements were done “for Apple,” leaving little question as to who requested the security fence, and who is responsible for the late-night noises.

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Third OS X 10.11.4 beta fixes bug with shortened Twitter links in Safari



The third OS X 10.11.4 beta solves issues Safari would encounter trying to load shortened Twitter links, according to a developer in contact with Apple.

“Apple just sent back my radar about urls not working in Safari, saying it’s fixed in latest 10.11.4 beta,” developer Dieter Komendera noted on Twitter. The bug would prevent HTTPS-secured links from opening properly when clicked. Instead a link would try to load for several minutes before ultimately failing.

OS X El Capitan users have been complaining about the issue since last year. In the interim some workarounds have included clearing the Safari cache, stripping “HTTPS” out of a URL, or simply reloading a link several times until it works.

Apple released the third public beta of OS X 10.11.4 on Wednesday, two days after a developer-only seed. Not every developer beta is matched by a public version, since pre-release code could easily break apps and features. links are an essential part of Twitter, since the service’s normal 140-character limit often makes full-length URLs impractical.

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Apple working on systems for ‘high-end cars’ at California ‘auto testing center’



A year and a half ago, Apple received approval to build an “auto testing center” in the town of Sunnyvale, Calif., and the city manager even highlighted the project in a biweekly blog, though no one seemed to notice at the time.

While Apple is known to go to great lengths to keep its projects secret, Sunnyvale City Manager Deanna J. Santana and her staff apparently do not share those same concerns over privacy.
“The building will be used as a testing facility for new electronic technologies that are integrated into high-end cars,” Sunnyvale’s city manager said about an Apple permit approved in 2014.
Santana took over as city manager in Sunnyvale on June 2, 2014. That very same day, the official City Manager’s Blog was updated with projects of interest, said to be “handpicked by City Manager Deanna J. Santana” herself.

On the topic of community development, the top two projects singled out by the city manager’s office were both Apple-related. One touted the fact that Apple was moving into an office space previously occupied by Maxim Integrated.

Sunnyvale officials also noted that Apple was awarded a building permit for another, nearby facility with 9,600 square feet of office space.

“The building will be used as a testing facility for new electronic technologies that are integrated into high-end cars,” the city manager explained.

Further details are available in public records viewed by AppleInsider, where it’s revealed Apple received permits to build an “auto testing center” on the property the very next month, in July of 2014. Other additions at the building include a lobby, conference room and break room.

Apple’s “auto testing center” could simply be related to CarPlay, its vehicle infotainment platform that was officially announced earlier in 2014. But the company is also rumored to be working on its own electric car, and details of an automotive-related “testing facility” for “high-end” car technology will no doubt fuel speculation that the building could be related to “Project Titan.”

In fact, the building highlighted by the Sunnyvale city manager’s office is located just a few blocks from a building AppleInsider’s own sources have claimed is ground zero for Apple’s rumored automotive project. Last year, it was said that the bulk of development had emanated from a building known internally as “SG5,” located at the nearby Sunnyvale campus occupied by Apple.

Evidence suggests Apple hid behind a shell corporation dubbed SixtyEight Research at that location. A company identified as “SixtyEight LLC” imported a 1957 Fiat Multiplay 600 into the U.S. in November of 2014, and SixtyEight Research was also listed as an attendee of the EuroCarbody 2015 Global Car Body Benchmarking Conference in November of 2015.

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Newly-revealed date glitch may render some iOS devices unusable



Though people have to go out of their way to trigger it, a time-related glitch discovered in iOS 8 and 9 will let users potentially “brick” many Apple devices, rendering them non-functional.

Users must go into the Date Time menu under Settings, disable the “Set Automatically” option, and then manually roll the date back to Jan. 1, 1970, according to a YouTube video published on Thursday. This requires jumping in and out of the menu, since the date won’t initially rewind that far.

Once the new date is set, rebooting a device may leave it stuck at the Apple logo, and even the full range of restore options may not work. In that circumstance there’s likely no option but to get a Genius Bar repair or a replacement device (possibly free under warranty), though some people have reported that a device might spontaneously recover several hours later — albeit with extremely slow performance. That may allow users to change date settings and recover.

A Reddit thread suggests that the bug may be related to timezones, since rolling the date back as far as it will go could be setting the clock to a value less than zero. One person said they only bricked their phone after changing timezones from Beijing to New York.

In addition to requiring iOS 8, the bug is also limited to Apple devices with 64-bit processors, from the iPhone 5s onwards. Older products like the iPhone 5 or iPad 2 should be immune.

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CBS head says talks for Apple streaming TV have stopped for time being



CBS is no longer in talks with Apple regarding the latter’s frequently-rumored streaming TV service, the network’s CEO admitted in a recent interview.

“We had conversations awhile back, and we haven’t had recent conversations with them,” Les Moonves remarked to CNNMoney. This is despite the network being regularly contacted by other tech firms looking to partner on content.

Moonves noted that he also had no idea when Apple might launch a service. “You’ll have to ask Apple that. I don’t know that,” he said.

In December Moonves suggested that Apple had “pressed the hold button” on a streaming TV service, a view that was echoed by later reports. The main obstacle was allegedly Apple’s insistence on a “skinny” channel bundle costing less than $30 per month, and the unwillingness of content providers to leave some channels out.

More recent rumors have hinted that the project is still alive, and that Apple may even be preparing to offer original TV shows in a package that could arrive as soon as September. Subscribers might be able to watch live NFL games as well, assuming Apple successfully bids for the rights.

A streaming service was at one point rumored to launch alongside the fourth-generation Apple TV as a flagship feature. In the interim, Apple has been looking to spur content providers into producing tvOS apps.

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Novel Quartz news app launched for Apple Watch ahead of Android phones



An innovative new app launched today by business news site Quartz turns new stories into an interactive streaming text conversation. Also of interest: the new iPhone app was launched for Apple Watch before being released to Android phones at all.

Quartz news app. Source: Atlantic Monthly Group, iTunes App Store

The new app appears to be inspired by the popularity of text messaging, which Pew Research reported last year to be the most popular feature among smartphone users, ahead of internet browsing, voice or video calling, email, or video and music consumption.

The new app presents a news feed that looks like Apple’s iOS iMessages, with incoming news, graphics and video clips appearing as received messages. Users can “reply” by picking one of a couple canned responses, which appear as blue bubbles.

User responses direct the flow of curated news segments, allowing the service to expand upon a given subject, or alternatively move on to something new. News bubbles also offer links to full stories or related content.

Also akin to Apple’s Messages app: the curated news feed is embellished with emoji and GIFs, and indicates new messages are about to be received using the same chat bubble with an animated ellipsis. It’s also driven by notifications, which the user can customize to being rare major events, once or twice a day, or frequent updates throughout the day.

Quartz news app for Apple Watch. Source: Atlantic Monthly Group, iTunes App Store

In addition to the main iPhone app, Quartz also supplies a Today Widget for iOS, and an app for Apple Watch (above), customized to deliver incoming news updates at a glance, including a “market haiku” summarizing the prevailing business climate. The Apple Watch app also features a Complication which reflects the stock market’s direction on the user’s watch face via an emoji.

An equivalent app for Android is still under wraps, despite the broad distribution of that platform. Android’s installed base in the U.S. is similar to Apple’s iOS devices, but much larger than Apple Watch. However, for a number of reasons iOS and Apple Watch remain a priority for developers building innovative new app experiences.

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