Innovation is oftentimes at the center of a topic we deem worthy of exploring and writing about. Whether it’s brand new or an inventive update, we pay close attention to advances in cars and tech—whether it affects our daily lives or is an abstract, but fascinating concept. We understand that not all our readers are tech-obsessives or car nerds, so we try to always find the most engaging stories within those categories to inform and entertain our audience. This year in Cars + Tech we see everything from camera reviews to test drives, classic cars, smarter homes and more.
The idea that the near-future will be radically different from the present might be false. Yes, we’ll see progress and innovation, however broad acceptance of new technologies only really occurs when they’re delivered in a familiar format, and only when these semi-cloaked new technologies are widely distributed is there the true opportunity for paradigm change. This is all to say that the Audi e-tron’s semi-cloaked new technologies promise to bring electrified mobility to the masses not by following the early trends in electric vehicle design, but by making the driving experience as familiar as possible.
Leica unveiled its quietest and most discreet camera yet. The M10-P is an inconspicuous addition to the M series—embodying everything the classic rangefinders are known for, but taking it up a notch (or down, depending on how you look at it). With a near-silent shutter and the omission of Leica’s recognizable red dot branding, this camera becomes an impressively unobtrusive option for close-range and stealthy shots. As result, it’s the brand’s most well-tuned option for street photography. During initial testing we were impressed that, despite the shutter being so quiet, there’s still that all-important and satisfying feeling in the body of the camera when the curtain releases.
For one week in August each year, the automotive enthusiast community descends upon Monterey, California and the surrounding area to admire, display, auction and drive all manner of vehicles. There’s an overwhelming number of events held over the course of the week-long extravaganza, but the bulk of the shows occur over the weekend. These were a few of our favorites.
The hype whenever Apple introduces a new product is that it’s “revolutionary.” That’s quite literally hyperbole because very few companies debut something that truly creates a sea change with any sort of consistency. But the new iPhone XS and XS Max actually are revolutionary, especially because they herald a different kind of photography in your pocket that has never been possible before.
There is a something momentous happening within the curved and shrouded walls of Ferrari’s new Centro Stile (which sounds better than “design center,” its English translation). Historically the brand outsourced its interior and exterior design to celebrated companies like Pininfarina, Vignale and Zagato while it focused on the engines and platforms it knew best, but 10 years ago it brought on Design Chief Flavio Manzoni to lead and develop its internal design studio, and earlier this year marked the official opening of their own building on the Ferrari campus in Maranello which we previewed along with the brand’s gorgeous new release, the limited edition Monza SP1 and SP2.
After typing away in CH HQ for one uninterrupted hour, we’re interrupted by Samsung’s brand new Galaxy Watch gently vibrating. The notification encourages movement. Specifically, it recommends we get up and do five torso twists. As the moves occur, the wearable logs them. No part of this is invasive, and had we wished to continue typing, we could have swiped the alert away instantly. But the latest watch from the tech giant wants to initiate wellness as much as track it, as evidenced by many new features. It also comes with a slew of other useful upgrades—and this smartwatch takes a nod from traditional watch design much to its benefit. It looks good and feels good, too.
Earlier this year Mercedes-Benz unveiled the production version of its all-electric EQC, a midsize SUV, in an auditorium in the woods in Stockholm. Arriving at dealers in 2019, it’s the first of ten all-electric vehicles that will come to market by 2022. Dieter Zetsche, the Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars made the company’s intentions very clear—they’ll be investing nearly $12 billion in bringing these cars to market and more than $1 billion in battery technology and manufacturing. Mercedes-Benz may not be first to market, but they will bring their 132 years of auto manufacturing experience to the table in a way that no other company can.
On our road trip, the destination was a trio of cities: Suzhou, Moganshan and Hangzhou—all along the Yangtze River Delta. Overshadowed on the global stage by Shanghai and Beijing, the river delta region (unofficially known as the Golden Triangle) ranks as China’s wealthiest. It’s also home to Mercedes-Benz’s largest Maybach showroom, eco-resorts and luxury hotels. This rapid urbanization of the Yangtze River Delta—which represents what is possibly the world’s largest concentration of adjacent metropolitan areas—means more first-time drivers, more cars and, as we soon discovered, much more traffic.
Unveiled earlier this year, the Apple Watch Series 4 is a major update to the now four-year-old device series. Having wear-tested one for the a week, I definitely feel it’s well worth the upgrade for existing users and finally the right time to get an Apple Watch for anyone who has been on the fence. Valuable new health features, a louder speaker, thinner case, haptic crown and faster overall performance are all benefits but it’s the larger screen that makes both new and old features alike really come to life. While all elements of the WatchOS were redesigned for the 30% larger screen on the Series 4, it’s the new watch faces I’m most enamored by.
Lincoln‘s all-new 2019 Aviator is a large, three-row SUV that sits just below the brand’s largest SUV, the Navigator. It’s the first vehicle from Lincoln that’s been designed from the ground up using the brand’s “Quiet Flight” strategy. In what is likely the first of its kind as well, Lincoln commissioned the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to create musical alerts for the Aviator—actual recorded music—which announce 25 of the car’s various functions.
Thus far, the terms “smart-home” and DIY haven’t been synonymous. Consumers are able to purchase products that make mundane tasks around the house a bit easier, but the process of bringing a home into the 21st century is generally costly and pre-designed. However, Smartians, from Amsterdam-based FROLIC Studio, is a set of motorized knobs and switches meant for making the most of offline products you already own. The Smartian tools—which press, turn and do whatever else you need—lend a DIY, cloud-controlled upgrade to just about anything.