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Apple Daily: Apple Auto Hires; Parisian Apple Watch Display; 2011 MacBook Replacements

In today’s Apple Daily, a new report reveals the names of many former automotive engineers who now work at Apple, all while battery maker A123 files a lawsuit against the Cupertino company in protest of its alleged poaching. In other news, a huge stand is apparently being built to promote the Apple Watch in a mall along the Champs-Élysées in Paris, and Apple has finally launched a repair program to service 2011-2013 MacBook Pros with faulty video performance.

Apple Reportedly Pulling from Tesla, GM, Ford, A123, Etc. For Automotive Project

Former GM CEO Daniel Akerson said yesterday that Apple doesn’t know what it’s getting into if it intends to enter the car business, but the Cupertino company is actively involved in hiring (or, ahem, poaching) people who do know. According to a new report from 9to5Mac, these engineers are coming from big firms like Tesla, Ford, and GM, and smaller companies like A123 Systems, General Dynamics, MIT Motorsports, Ogin, Autoliv, and Concept Systems.

And these aren’t random nobodies. Consider David Nelson and John Ireland, both of whom once held high-ranking positions at Tesla. Lauren Ciminera, the person once responsible for bringing quality engineering talent to Tesla, now performs the same job for Apple.

As you might expect, the affected companies aren’t exactly happy about this. Battery maker A123 Systems has gone so far as to sue Apple, claiming the iPhone maker has pulled so many engineers away that it’s had to shut the door on several projects (via Reuters). The lawsuit alleges that whatever battery division Apple is cobbling together for its top-secret project “is similar if not identical to A123’s,” and that the Cupertino company is actively involved in poaching battery engineers from Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Toshiba, and others. All told, 11 former A123 employees now call Apple home, judging from their LinkedIn profiles. In addition to its suit against Apple, A123 is suing five former employees individually.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that Apple has other things in mind for the engineers. A123 also isn’t in the best of situations right now; it’s still selling off assets in accordance with the terms of its 2012 bankruptcy.

Apple Reportedly Building Massive Apple Watch Stand in High-End Parisian Mall

Apple is reportedly in the process of building a massive stand at the lovely Galeries Lafayette in Paris for the purpose of showing off the upcoming Apple Watch, according to multiple sources in the French press (via MacRumors). France’s Mac4Ever and FashionMag.com have some photos of the installation under construction. Apple Retail Senior Vice President Angela Ahrendts has reportedly been to the site in person to oversee the construction of the project, which took the place of a small food court and some small jewelry shops.

Tarps reportedly covering Apple display, via FashionMag.com

In related news, 9to5Mac claims that inside sources at Apple say the company is considering creating stand-alone retail stores that sell nothing but Apple Watch. It’s possible, however, that these may never appear at all, or that the most we’ll see are the specialized Mac areas familiar to Best Buy and similar retailers. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said the device itself will hit stores sometime in April.

 

Apple Introduces Replacement Program for 2011-2013 MacBook Pros with Faulty Video

After years of complaints and massive petitions, Apple is finally instating a replacement program to help customers who own one of the 2011-2013 MacBook Pros that are notoriously plagued with video performance issues. The replacement program covers the 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros released in 2011, in addition to the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros manufactured in 2012 and early 2013. If you’re curious about whether your device qualifies under warranty, you can plug in your serial number at Apple’s site.

Source: MacRumors

The replacement program will go active tomorrow and continue through February 27, 2016, or three years from the original purchase date. The program appears to be the result of a class action lawsuit that was initiated by the Whitfield, Bryson, and Mason firm, which used social media last August to build evidence before filing a suit against Apple two months later.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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