The company whose late 1990s turnaround meant branding itself for rebels and troublemakers spent Monday talking up how to use iPads to collaborate on business presentations and how its software will eventually help display fuel economy on car dashboards. Notably absent were any hints of Apple’s expected next big product, a mixed-reality headset that can overlay digital objects on a view of the real world. Hopeful fans got only a few tidbits of new augmented reality technology at a technical talk.
Apple demonstrated a new automobile dashboard at its developers’ conference that can display statistics such as speed and fuel levels. Even as the iPhone manufacturer handed out a number of new capabilities for payments and corporate collaboration, as well as a pair of new laptops, Apple Inc stated it would more completely integrate its software into the basic driving systems of automobiles. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the presentation on Monday is part of a weeklong event that reveals major features for Apple’s 34 million developers. The enhancements are intended to keep consumers loyal and encourage them to use more Apple devices together, which is a critical strategy for the world’s most valuable tech business. The announcements demonstrated a corporation that was formerly an outsider working together.
Apple announced Apply Pay Later, a service that lets users make interest-free instalments. The business, which will work over the MasterCard Inc network wherever Apple Pay is accepted, puts Apple in direct competition with payment providers like Affirm Holdings Inc and PayPal Holdings Inc. But mostly Apple doubled down on existing products. A MacBook Air laptop was redesigned around a new M2 silicon processor, which it says is 35 percent 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 its WWDC 2022 conference.
But Apple did break with its tradition of not tipping its hand about future technology when it 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, Nissan Motor Co, Mercedes-Benz and Honda Motor Corp. Vehicles with the software will not be announced until late next year.
The M2 chip will also power the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which will start at $1,299 and be available next month. Both chips will use a second generation of 5-nanometer chip manufacturing technology. Apple did not say who would make the chip, but likely manufacturers include longtime Apple partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, which is struggling with delays in newer technology. “They have to do volume” with the new laptops, said Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis Research. “That’s the safe choice,” he said of the 5-nanometer chips.
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. While Apple’s car software has been in vehicles since 2014 and is currently available in more than 600 models – even including a few motorcycles – it is largely separate from the vehicle’s own operating systems. Vehicle owners must leave the system for even basic functions like adjusting a car’s climate controls, a shortcoming the updated system is designed to address.
Polestar, the premium electric vehicle maker owned by China’s Geely 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.