AWT News Update: August 30, 2017

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Steve's finally back from his eclipse and national parks trip, and in the process of trying to get caught up with his work he actually found some really good stories for today’s podcast:

  • A group of 17 automotive engineers working for Apple on the Project Titan autonomous car program have jumped ship for a Silicon Valley startup
  • The implementation of Siri on the fourth-generation Apple TV has won a special Emmy award
  • Bombich Software’s excellent Carbon Copy Cloner Mac backup app receives an update to prepare it for macOS High Sierra and APFS

The text version of the podcast can be read below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Apple News readers need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for August 30th, 2017. I’m back from my eclipse watching trip and followup visits to several national parks. If you haven’t had a chance to view my 360° VR eclipse video on YouTube, head out to our YouTube channel at https://youtube.com/c/appleworldtoday and be sure to look it up. Watch the video in Google’s Chrome browser or in the YouTube app for iOS for the best effect.

Apple recently lost some talented automotive engineers to a self-driving car startup called Zoox, with 17 staffers leaving after Apple scaled back its plans for autonomous cars. Zoox has obtained $290 million in funding in the past two years and has a stated goal of providing autonomous mobility as a service — in other words, fully automated electric vehicles that one can call to take you between two points in a city. Apple’s plans are still somewhat fuzzy; first, the company announced that it was focusing more on autonomous vehicle software than an actual car, now the company is looking at partnering with another company for a self-driving shuttle between corporate offices. In that report that came out earlier this month, Apple’s looking at a project in which it will provide autonomous driving technology while the partner will provide a fleet of vehicles. The project is called PAIL, an acronym for “Palo Alto to Infinite Loop” and will carry Apple employees between offices. It’s unclear when this project will actually happen, but the company is currently testing its autonomous driving tech with a fleet of Lexus SUVs. 

Frankly, I find awards ceremonies like the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and so on to be self-indulgent garbage, but I do think it’s worthwhile when the groups giving the awards recognize technological advances in their respective fields. That’s why I found it interesting that Apple won an Emmy Award as part of the Technical and Engineering Achievement Awards. Apple’s getting the award for “Contextual Voice Navigation for Discovering and Interacting with TV Content,” otherwise known as Siri on the Apple TV. Congratulations to the Siri and Apple TV teams on their award.

The Apple World Today team is full of fans of Bombich Software’s Carbon Copy Cloner, a Mac app that does some amazing tricks with cloning and backing up storage devices. Bombich has just released Carbon Copy Cloner 5.0, a new version that is designed to work with macOS High Sierra and the new APFS (Apple File System). APFS is the storage file system that will replace HFS+ once High Sierra ships in about two weeks. It’s already in use on iPhones and iPads, and is used to improve performance, work well with SSD storage devices, and provide much-improved encryption. Carbon Copy Cloner fully supports APFS, making bootable APFS backup, supporting APFS encryption, and providing an re-imagined and streamlined user interface. The app sells for $39.99, but those who use Carbon Copy Cloner 4 can get the update for $19.99. If you’re still using Carbon Copy Cloner 3.5, you can still get the new version at a discount for $29.99. You can try Carbon Copy Cloner for free by downloading it from Bombich.com.

That’s all for today; I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.