Oct
17

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THE textile industry is in a dilemma as cotton trade between Pakistan and India has been hit by a rise in border tension; and traders across the border, being uncertain of future developments, are not entering into new deals.

Pakistan’s Cotton Commissioner Khalid Abdullah says a low quantum of trade activity is still taking place. The government has not asked importers to stop buying cotton from India but many of them are not buying on their own as a gesture of national solidarity. However, Indian exporters are refusing to sell at their government’s behest although they would be the losers.

Pakistani spinners are the biggest buyers of Indian fibre. Fewer imports by Pakistan this year could hurt Indian exports, raise their prices and help rival cotton exporters like Brazil, the United States and some African countries. For Pakistan’s industry, buying the raw material from other sources may prove costly owing to long distance freight. In fact, the situation is in a wait-and see mode. Cotton trade between the two countries is worth $822m a year.


Pakistan’s Cotton Commissioner Khalid Abdullah says a low quantum of cotton trade activity is still taking place


Another victim of high political temperature is vegetables. According to Times of India, traders from the Indian state of Gujarat have decided to stop supplying vegetables to Pakistan.

Gujarat used to send 50 trucks having 10 tonnes of vegetables, mainly tomatoes and chilli, to Pakistan via the Wagah border. This is the first time in almost two decades that Gujarat’s exporters have halted the supply of essential vegetables to Pakistan. The commission agents say they will not resume exports till the normalisation of relations.

The suspension in cotton trade comes at a time when Pakistan’s cotton crop has recorded an overall decrease of 15pc over the last year, adding to the industry’s woes. Pakistan, the world’s third-largest cotton consumer, starts importing from September, but this time there has been little activity so far.

In the 2015-16 fiscal year ending on March 31 in India, official trade between the two was $2.6bn with cotton being a major component. However, in the crop year that ended on September 30, Pakistan was India’s biggest cotton buyer after its own crop was hit by drought and whitefly pest. According to an estimate, Pakistan will need to import at least three million bales in 2016-17.

The Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC), on Oct 7, estimated that the output for 2016-17 stood at 11.039m bales.Participants were informed that the lower output was mainly due to effects of climate change on the crop, besides pests like pink bollworm and whitefly. The crop output in Punjab is estimated at 7.3m bales, with each bale weighing 170 kilograms.The crop size of Sindh is estimated at 3.7m bales.

The representative of growers from Punjab agreed to the assessment whereas the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association chairman was of the opinion that the crop size in Punjab was about 7.5-8m bales. Cotton sowing has registered a decrease of 21pc in Punjab while it has risen by 2pc in Sindh. The crop size is assessed on the basis of data provided by provincial governments.

Meanwhile, Afghan President’s special envoy and Ambassador to Pakistan, Dr Omar Zakhilwal, has refuted reports that Kabul has shut down the land route for Pakistani trucks going to Central Asian states through its territory. Ashraf Ghani had threatened, last month, to shut Pakistan’s transit route to Central Asian countries if it did not allow Afghan traders to use the Wagah border for trade with India. Pakistani trucks, the envoy says, can deliver transit goods directly to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan via Afghanistan.

It is interesting to note that in a highly charged political atmosphere, trade in other commodity goods has not been affected. The inward flow of Indian goods into Karachi’s major commodity and grocery markets, in old city areas which form the hub of the country’s wholesale trade, continues uninterrupted without any increase in prices or shortage of goods.

Shopkeepers selling Indian cosmetics and jewellery are doing business as usual because of their smooth flow and easy availability. The war-like situation has not affected their business. Not only is the arrival of goods from India normal, even exports are taking place at the usual pace. Pulses, spices and dried fruits continue to land in Pakistan, with these items not having faced any shortage in the wholesale market so far.

Trade balance between the two countries is in favour of India. In 2015-2016, exports from Pakistan to India dropped to $400m from $415m in 2014-2015. India’s exports to Pakistan surged 27pc to $1.8bn over the same period.

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab Chairman Aamir Fayyaz says that since now the textile industry has become highly dependent on imported cotton, duties and taxes on import of cotton would make the entire value chain uncompetitive. The situation calls for the withdrawal of 4pc customs duty and 5pc sales tax on the import of cotton. He wants the government to resolve the textile industry’s issues and enable it to undertake investment worth $1bn per annum.

Oct
17

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Former batsman and captain of the national cricket team Jaived Miandad on Saturday withdrew his allegations against former T20 captain Shahid Afridi.

Miandad also announced that he harbours no ill feelings towards Afridi.

In a meeting held between the two former cricket captains, Afridi thanked Miandad for the withdrawal of his statements.

“It is a great pleasure that Afridi is sitting besides me and there are no differences between us,” said Miandad.

Miandad also expressed well wishes for Afridi and said if any of his comments had hurt Afridi, he would withdraw them.

Afridi said he had never demanded an apology from Miandad as he considers Miandad as his senior.

“Miandad withdrawing the allegations against me is a big deal for me and my fans,” Afridi added.

The controversy arose when Afridi, who quit ODIs last year after the ODI World Cup 2015 expressed his desire of playing a farewell match, and asked the PCB to entertain his request. Afridi had expressed his desire to bid farewell to his fans through one final match.

Miandad opposed the idea of giving a farewell match to the former T20 captain which resulted in Afridi passing controversial remarks about Miandad.

Reacting on these controversial remarks, Miandad levelled match fixing allegations against Afridi.

Oct
17

Like, where’s Fawad Khan? And is demi-couture a thing?

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Year after year, we’ve heard a similar complaint — award shows don’t bring anything new to the prime-time TV slot. Will this change with the newest award show in town?

We’re getting closer to the day of Pakistan’s only other style awards, the first ever QMobile Hum Style Awards — and the nominations are in.

Categories include Best Model, Best Hair & Makeup Artist, Best Fashion Photographer, Best Designer – Demi-Couture, Best Designer – Bridal, Best Designer – Lawn, Best Designer – Fashion Jewellery, Best Designer – Menswear, Retail Brand of the Year – Apparel, Best Fashion Publication and a QMobile Rising Star.

Most Stylish Awards will also be awarded to film and TV actors, singers, TV hosts and sport personalities.

The stage is set for a celebration of “trendsetters in fashion and entertainment”, but the most pressing question on our minds is ‘Will Hum TV remain objective?’ The tendency of TV channel-sponsored award shows to honour their own productions has reduced them to mere television entertainment with no real credibility, and the hope is that Hum TV will not follow suit in favouring the stars with whom they have the closest association.

Another question that begs asking is the exact criteria of the style awards. Are they being doled out to celebs that dress the best on-screen (in which case the credit really goes to the film’s stylist, costume designers, director and other people with creative input) or off-screen, where the celebrities’ own preferences are likely to come into play.

Either way, one is confused by the presence of Hamza Ali Abbasi in the style nominations. The actor has been vocal in his rejection of style statements, but is in the running for his second style award this year, the first having been awarded to him at the Lux Style Awards in July.

Other nominees that surprised include Feroze Khan who hardly ever makes an impression and Urwa Hocane, who is often singled out as the worst dressed at red carpets and isn’t ‘Most Stylish’ by a long shot.

Television hosts are, again, hardly stylish, especially those that go about gifting rickshaws and motorcycles to their audience. Fahad Mustafa, for instance, usually evades designer-wear, opting to boost a brand called ‘Cherry’ – and when he goes on promotional rounds for his movie, he makes blunders like wearing over-ripped jeans. Sana Bucha, Huma Amir Shah and HSY, though, certainly have style.

Noticeably missing from the nominations is one Fawad Khan, but the omission has probably got to do more with the fact that he hasn’t featured prominently in a Pakistani production — TV or film — in the past year.

Also read: Fawad Khan in a bowtie at the Grazia Awards is possibly his best look ever

Many big names were snubbed in the fashion categories. For instance,Elan and Faraz Manan were ignored in the Demi-couture category (more on that later), Sana Safinaz and HSY are not present in the Bridal category while a relatively younger designer like Zainab Chottani gets recognized. In Menswear, Deepak Perwani and HSYignored despite showing menswear collections last year – perhaps this is because both designers are ostensibly more inclined towards womenswear now?

Another thing that had us scratching our heads is what classifies as demi couture in the Pakistani context? Demi couture is defined as the in-between of pret and haute couture — it’s fashion that has the high quality and fine embellishments of couture but is available to be picked up off the racks. It sounds like luxury pret — and a fashion insider confirms that demi-couture is Hum TV’s new word for the same.

Fashion Publication of the Year leaves one confused because most fashion publications tend to be over-infested with ads and very little exclusive matter. One wonders how the jury managed to decide upon the results for this category.

The full list of nominations of the QMobile Hum Style Awards, which takes place on October 28, is below:

BEST FEMALE MODEL

Amna Babar

Rabia Butt

Sadaf Kanwal

Fouzia Aman

Sunita Marshall

BEST MALE MODEL

Shahzad Noor

Jahan-E-Khalid

Hasnain Lehri

Aimal Khan

Waleed Khalid

HAIR & MAKEUP ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Hannan Siddique

Raana Khan

Natasha Khalid

Toni & Guy North Pakistan

Nabila

FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

Shahbaz Shazi

Guddu Shani

Nadir Firoz Khan

Abdullah Haris

Azeem Sani

QMobile RISING STAR

Ashna Khan

Zara Abid

Anam Malik

Shoaib Khan

Umair Bin Nisar

Stopstyle

Mahgul

DESIGNER OF THE YEAR – DEMI-COUTURE

Sana Safinaz

Shamaeel Ansari

Body Focus Museum

Shehla Chatoor

Zaheer Abbas

DESIGNER OF THE YEAR – BRIDAL

Zainab Chottani

Nomi Ansari

Shehla Chatoor

Elan

Faraz Manan

DESIGNER OF THE YEAR – LAWN

Elan

Shehla Chatoor

Sana Safinaz

Zara Shahjahan

Faraz Manan

DESIGNER OF THE YEAR – MENSWEAR

Republic By Omar Farooq

Nauman Arfeen

Ismail Farid

Munib Nawaz

Amir Adnan

DESIGNER OF THE YEAR – FASHION JEWELRY

Samina Ibrahim

Amber Sami

Rema

Zohra Rahman

RETAIL BRAND OF THE YEAR – APPAREL

Khaadi

Gul Ahmed

Sana Safinaz

Generation

Sapphire

MOST STYLISH ACTOR TELEVISION

Junaid Khan

Imran Abbas

Hamza Ali Abbasi

Feroze Khan

Ahsan Khan

MOST STYLISH ACTRESS TELEVISION

Syra Shahroz

Ayesha Omar

Nausheen Shah

Aamina Sheikh

Urwa Hocane

MOST STYLISH ACTOR FILM

Mohib Mirza

Humayun Saeed

Adeel Husain

Sheheryar Munawar

Sikander Rizvi

MOST STYLISH ACTRESS FILM

Humaima Malik

Iman Ali

Mehwish Hayat

Sanam Saeed

Mahira Khan

MOST STYLISH PERFORMER MALE

Ali Zafar

Asim Azhar

Atif Aslam

Shahzad Roy

Umair Jaswal

MOST STYLISH PERFORMER FEMALE

Hadiqa Kiani

Zoe Viccaji

Sara Haider

Meesha Shafi

Quratulain Balouch

MOST STYLISH SPORTING PERSONALITY

Shahid Afridi

Shoaib Malik

Aisam-Ul-Haq

MOST STYLISH TELEVISION HOST

Fahad Mustafa

Faisal Qureshi

Hassan Sheheryar Yasin

Huma Amir Shah

Sana Bucha

THE FASHION PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR

Libas International

Diva

Niche lifestyle

Visage

Brides & You

Me & My Wedding

Oct
17

The actor says she finally understood “why women who wear headscarves are looked at differently”

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In 2015, Hollywood star Lindsay Lohan was criticised in the US for carrying the Quran while walking the streets of New York. This year she donned a headscarf while working with Syrian refugees in Turkey and threw the media in a frenzy.

In an interview with Turkish TV channel Haber Turk, Lindsay opens up about the recent events in her life that made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The Parent Trap actor explained how she felt like an outsider in her own country after being ‘crucified’ for holding the Quran in the US.

“This was just me holding it and walking… the paparazzi had been across the street… and they crucified me for it in America. They made me seem like Satan; I was a bad person for holding the Quran. I’m so happy to have left and gone back to London after that because I felt so unsafe in my own country. And this is my belief, if this is something I want to learn then this is my personal will, it’s not for you to express,” she said.

Lindsay’s tumultuous life was in the public eye for years, she explains that her close friends in London and Saudi Arabia had given her the Quran to help her through the difficult time she was facing in the US. “[They] gave me the Quran and I brought it to New York because I was learning and it opened doors for me to experience and spiritually to find another true meaning,” she explains.

But having faced that ordeal, she finally understood “why women who wear headscarves are looked at differently,” because she felt like an ‘outsider’ too.

Earlier this month, Lindsay visited the Syrian refugees camps in Turkey and during her visit she was presented with a headscarf by one of the refugees. The headscarf on the Hollywood actor’s head soon made headlines in the West.

I met a wonderful aid worker (Azize) at The Refugee Camp in Antep. She saw that my eyes lit up when I told her that her headscarf is beautiful. She waved to me and said, come with me, I followed her and she gifted it to me. I was so moved and touched by this that I wanted to wear it in appreciation for all of the generosity and love I received from everyone at the camp. Thank you #Gaziantep #theworldisbiggerthan5 thank you @fatmasahin. Photo: Instagram
I met a wonderful aid worker (Azize) at The Refugee Camp in Antep. She saw that my eyes lit up when I told her that her headscarf is beautiful. She waved to me and said, come with me, I followed her and she gifted it to me. I was so moved and touched by this that I wanted to wear it in appreciation for all of the generosity and love I received from everyone at the camp. Thank you #Gaziantep #theworldisbiggerthan5 thank you @fatmasahin. Photo: Instagram

“When the woman put that headscarf on me, I felt really honoured because she went out of her own way to allow me to be a part of my own culture and she didn’t have to do that. I was a stranger to her,” explains the actor.

“I said I really liked the colour of her headscarf and she gave it to me, and maybe she had two and she gave me one – there’s more in the story that occurred. Because this woman took the time to give me this, and a part of herself, not even knowing me, I’m not taking it off.”

She admits that wearing the headscarf made her think twice about how the media will portray her and she was scared she that it might misconstrue as something else rather than the truth that lay behind it.

“It should make headlines [her wearing the headscarf] because in Turkey you have the free will as a woman if you want to [wear a headscarf] or if you don’t want to, that’s why it’s amazing here because you can choose why you want it and it’s accepted. Whereas in America, I’m holding the Quran and I’m the devil.”

Although Lindsay’s trip to Turkey was for a work obligation, she decided to stay. Soon things started aligning and she was helping Syrian Refugees. She feels “it’s about time we recognised the truth and start doing something.”

I can't forget Heya whom I met during my visit to the Hussein family. She couldn't care less about our gifts to her, whose mother has gone. She held me more and more tight when she sat on my lap. I sniffed her hair, took her hands and held her tight. I understood at that moment once again that we can do more for each other, that we should do more for each other. And we can start by giving support to #Turkey which did its part in this huge human tragedy called Syria by welcoming 3 million refugees. We should do more, starting today... #RefugeesWelcome #MassacreinAleppo #theworldisbiggerthan5 #love not #ignorancekills
I can’t forget Heya whom I met during my visit to the Hussein family. She couldn’t care less about our gifts to her, whose mother has gone. She held me more and more tight when she sat on my lap. I sniffed her hair, took her hands and held her tight. I understood at that moment once again that we can do more for each other, that we should do more for each other. And we can start by giving support to #Turkey which did its part in this huge human tragedy called Syria by welcoming 3 million refugees. We should do more, starting today… #RefugeesWelcome #MassacreinAleppo #theworldisbiggerthan5 #love not #ignorancekills

“Everything happens for a reason,” she explains. “I left, came back, hurt my finger, I couldn’t leave, I had to stay. But that happening to me was an eye opening experience, because everybody said ‘Should we stop? We’ll postpone everything’, and my first thought was ‘Are you kidding me?’ Why would I stop? Why would you stop because my finger hurt, when someone had their legs blown off?'”

She first got to know about the problem in Turkey through the coup, that’s when she knew she had to help. “A lot of it was around when the coup happened. Just seeing the whole country stand up for each other. That was very emotional for me. All these people in one place… all supporting one another. And that’s a really powerful, strong front.”

Oct
17

Move over, Fawad Khan. There’s a new chai-making sensation in town.

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A discovery of Islamabad-based photographer Javeria Ali, thischaiwala — spotted at a tea stall in Islamabad’s Sunday Bazaar — has girls ready for rishtas and talent management firms on the look-out for their next big star.

“I didn’t expect [such a fuss] at all,” shares the photographer Javeria. “It’s very surprising.”

“I took the picture during a photowalk at [Islamabad’s] Itwar Bazaar and put it up as a regular post on Instagram and it didn’t go viral until four or five days later,” she tells us.

Javeria Ali uploaded more photos after popular demand
Javeria Ali uploaded more photos after popular demand

Javeria, whose photography business goes by the name of Jiah’s Photography, says that some enterprising person realised the potential of the photograph before she did.

“Someone stole the picture from my Instagram since it had no watermark. This person claimed it to be hers. Later, a girl on Twitter (@albatrouz_)posted it and it started trending. Afterwards, Facebook page Sheikhspere posted the tweet on their page. I found out then that it went viral.

“People started tagging me and my Facebook blew up. Then I had to run after all the pages to [have them] give [me] credit and tell them it was my image.

“And then [popular Indian Instagram account] India Pictures shared the photo and my insta went viral. Since yesterday, my phone and Facebook has been buzzing.

“Thanks to the girl who claimed it to be hers, [laughs] and the twitter account @albatrouz_.”

While Javeria knows little about the chaiwala, Twitter is having a field day with her important discovery.

Oct
17

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An Indian film festival on Monday dropped a Pakistani film from its programme after protesters threatened to disrupt the screening in Mumbai.

Organisers of the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival said they would not show the 1959 classic “Jago Hua Savera” (The Day Shall Dawn) following a complaint from an Indian NGO called Sangharsh.

“Given the current situation, the Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star has decided not to programme ‘Jago Hua Savera’ as part of the Restored Classics Section,” said organisers of the festival in a statement released on Monday.

“Jago Hua Savera”, a black and white film, tells the story of a fishing village near Dhaka, now the capital of Bangladesh.

The move comes after a group of Indian cinemas said last week that they would not screen any films featuring Pakistani artists in protest at the raid on an army base in Indian-held Kashmir last month.

The ban by India’s Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association (COEA) applies to single screen cinemas in four states and is likely to affect the forthcoming release of movies “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, “Dear Zindagi” and “Raees”.

The ban came as Hindu nationalist groups pile pressure on the makers of “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” to drop Pakistani actor Fawad Khan from the romantic drama film.

The fringe but noisy right-wing group Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has threatened to stall the October 28 release of the movie.

India blames Pakistan for the raid on September 18 which saw the Indian army respond with “surgical strikes”.

Following the militant attack the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association, which represents a number of Hindi film industry employees, passed a motion banning Pakistani artists until relations between New Delhi and Islamabad improve.

Oct
17

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© AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Apple Inc. has drastically scaled back its automotive ambitions, leading to hundreds of job cuts and a new direction that, for now, no longer includes building its own car, according to people familiar with the project.

Hundreds of members of the car team, which comprises about 1,000 people, have been reassigned, let go, or have left of their own volition in recent months, the people said, asking not to be identified because the moves aren’t public.

New leadership of the initiative, known internally as Project Titan, has re-focused on developing an autonomous driving system that gives Apple flexibility to either partner with existing carmakers, or return to designing its own vehicle in the future, the people also said. Apple has kept staff numbers in the team steady by hiring people to help with the new focus, according to another person.

Apple executives have given the car team a deadline of late next year to prove the feasibility of the self-driving system and decide on a final direction, two of the people said. Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr declined to comment.

The new shift and deadline come after months of strategy disagreements, leadership flux and supply chain challenges inside Apple’s unmarked car labs in Sunnyvale, California, a short drive from its Cupertino headquarters.

Apple isn’t the first to realize mastery of mobile gadgets and software updates is no guarantee of automotive success. Alphabet Inc.’s Google learned the challenges of building its own vehicles and has sought partners. Its car project has also suffered departures. Tech investors are dubious too. They’re used to fat profit margins, while carmakers survive on net margins well below 10 percent.

“For a quality Apple-branded car they could probably get a healthy margin,” said Eric Paul Dennis, an analyst at the Center for Automotive Research. “They probably weren’t willing to compromise on quality issues” because that could hurt the perception of its other products, he added.

Apple started Titan in 2014 with grand ambitions to make a dent in an auto industry that consultant McKinsey & Co. estimates will be worth $6.7 trillion by 2030. The iPhone maker embarked upon an aggressive hiring spree, and an Apple-designed vehicle was targeted by the early 2020s. The hope was to revolutionize cars in the way the iPhone upended the mobile industry in 2007.

By the end of 2015, the project was blighted by internal strife. Managers battled about the project’s direction, according to people with knowledge of the operations. “It was an incredible failure of leadership,” one of the people said. In early 2016, project head Steve Zadesky, a former Ford Motor Co. engineer and early iPod designer, left Titan. Zadesky, who remains at Apple, declined to comment.

Zadesky handed the reins to his boss, Dan Riccio, adding to responsibilities that already included engineering annual iPhone, iPad, and Mac refreshes. Bob Mansfield, a highly regarded manager who helped develop the original iPad, returned in April from a part-time role at Apple to lead the team.

About a month later, Mansfield took the stage in a Silicon Valley auditorium packed with hundreds of Titan employees to announce the strategy shift, according to people who attended the meeting. Mansfield explained that he had examined the project and determined that Apple should move from building an outright competitor to Tesla Motors Inc. to an underlying self-driving platform.

Departures

In the following months, engineers started leaving. Some chose to quit amid doubts over job security and skepticism that an Apple car product would ever come to market. Others were cut. In August, a first wave of employees was let go, followed by a second round in September.

More than 120 software engineers working on a car operating system and testing procedures were cut. Several hundred hardware engineers working on car chassis, suspensions, and undercarriages also left, the people said. The New York Times reported in September that Apple had cut dozens of employees from Titan.

John Wright, a veteran Apple manager who led the software teams, has left the project, according to people familiar with the matter. Dan Dodge, creator of BlackBerry Ltd.’s QNX car software, took a larger role developing Apple’s auto platform architecture, some of those people said.

Remaining software engineers are working on autonomous programs, vision sensors, and simulators for testing the platform in real-world environments. The team also has regulatory specialists to navigate the heavily regulated auto industry, one of the people said.

Far Cry

It’s a far cry from early plans that excited Apple executives. “The car is the ultimate mobile device, isn’t it?” Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said in 2015.

Soon after, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said the auto industry was “at an inflection point for massive change.”

Apple executives had imagined an electric car that could recognize its driver by fingerprint and autonomously navigate with the press of a button. One plan sought a partially autonomous car that still had a steering wheel and pedals, while later plans migrated toward a fully autonomous vehicle.

Regardless of Apple’s struggles, established carmakers have recognized the threat posed by new entrants and have embarked on a hiring and acquisition splurge to beef up their software capabilities. They are wary of allowing technology companies to own the lucrative software component of new cars.

Apple meanwhile struggled to tackle complex automotive supply chains, according to another person familiar with the situation. In smartphones, Apple wields extensive influence and often secures exclusive rights to certain parts from suppliers. For cars, the heavy investment required to make automotive parts means suppliers are less willing to commit their products to a vehicle like Apple’s which may have initially shipped in small quantities.

“When they started digging into the details of what that would entail it likely became an intractable problem,” the Center for Automotive Research’s Dennis said.