Apple Talking to Goldman About Financing Your iStuff; Mercedes Building an E-Sprinter Van; UK Government Looks to Bolster Gig Workers’ Rights

Apple is in talks with Goldman Sachs to offer consumer financing for people buying iPhones, Apple Watches, iPads, etc. 9to5mac.com reports that it is a type of loan or finance deal, not a credit card. It would allow people buying an iPhone X for a grand to finance it with Goldman instead of charging to a high interest credit card. It’s possible that any deal Apple makes with Goldman would also roll up the iPhone Upgrade Program. There are no further details, and it’s not a done deal…stay tuned.

You see Mercedes Sprinter delivery vans on the freeways and streets all the time…even more so in Europe. Now, according to engadget.com, Mercedes is planning an -Sprinter version. It looks like it would be geared at city deliveries, where short hauls wouldn’t need a huge range and the accompanying huge battery packs. Mercedes says the costs are on par with running diesel vans, but without the smog issues. The e-version will be much more connected…allowing fleet managers to schedule maintenance and order parts, and consumers…with a camper van, for example…to be able to turn the heat on in the van while returning from a hike. The e-Sprinter should debut in 2019.

The ‘gig’ economy is a two edged sword…it allows work flexibility, albeit without the benefits of a regular job. Now, the government in the UK is looking at a plan to get and improve benefits for gig workers like sick pay, holiday pay, and stable contracts. Cnet.com says such regulations will provide a much more stable workforce without continued fights, as with Uber, over whether the workers are employees or not.

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GM Buys Self-Driving Car Kit Startup; Mini Fuel Cell for Drones; & Apple’s Event

General Motors has announced it is acquiring San Francisco based Cruise Automation, which is making sensors to turn regular vehicles into self-driving ones. Techcrunch.com reports that the price is undisclosed, but Fortune reports its over a billion dollars. GM had already partnered with Lyft. GM President Dan Ammann says the automotive giant plans to integrate the Cruise tech into its fleet of vehicle brands as soon as possible! Since GM sells about 10 million cars a year worldwide and 3 million of those in the US, that would put a substantial number of self driving cars on the roads in just a few years!

Pohang University of Science and Technology has built a miniature fuel cell they say can keep a drone in the air for an hour, rather than the usual 15-20 minutes batteries provide. Slashdot.org says the miniature fuel cells could also find their way into smartphones and other devices in the near future. The new type of fuel cell is claimed to have increased performance and higher long term durability.

Apple sent out invites to the tech media yesterday to an event at Cupertino Monday, March 21st. In their usual cryptic style, it merely says ‘Let Us Loop You In.’ It’s widely expected that Apple will show the new 4 inch iPhone SE, a revamped 9.7 inch iPad which may get the Pro designation, and new bands for the Apple Watch. Since it’s Apple, there could always be ‘one more thing!’ Stay tuned!