Apple's 'Spaceship' Headquarters Schedule to Open in April

Here are your top news stories from eWEEK. Today's topics include word that Apple will be ready to open its futuristic Cupertino, Calif. headquarters in April, UPS’ tests of its familiar brown trucks as launch platforms for package delivery drones, Google’s addition of Graphical Processing Units support for Google Cloud customers and Microsoft’s addition of the Social Selling Assistant to Dynamics 365.

Apple on Feb. 22 revealed that the company's new 175-acre Cupertino, Calif. campus, called Apple Park, will be ready for employees sometime in April. The process of moving more than 12,000 employees will take about six months.

Final construction of the buildings and parklands is scheduled to continue through the summer. The new headquarters is a ring-shaped, 2.8 million-square-foot main building enclosed by the world's largest panels of curved glass. The building will enclose an enormous landscaped courtyard that includes an orchard.

With 17 megawatts of rooftop solar, Apple Park will run one of the largest on-site solar energy installations in the world. It is also the site of the world's largest naturally ventilated building, projected to require no heating or air conditioning for nine months of the year.

United Parcel Service delivery trucks are a familiar site on U.S. streets. But now UPS is conducting tests of a prototype truck it calls a "package car" that's equipped as a drone launch platform.

The purpose of the tests is to see if drones can help improve delivery efficiency in rural areas. The package car can park on the side of a road to launch a drone, which delivers a package to one address while the truck driver delivers another package to another. 

The drone is allowing the UPS to make two deliveries at the same time, but only driving to one location, potentially boosting efficiency, reducing costs and increasing profits. UPS is working with the Workhorse Group, a company that makes electric delivery vans, and autonomous vehicles including drones.

Starting this week, Google cloud customers in certain regions in the United States, Asia and Europe will be able to attach as many as eight Nvidia GPUs to their custom Google Compute Engine virtual machine.

The technology will enable them to accelerate certain applications such as seismic analysis or video and audio transcoding more easily than previously possible.

Other applications that can benefit from the new GPU support include computational finance, molecular modeling, big data analysis, fluid dynamics, visualization and computational chemistry, Google product manager John Barrus announced in a blog this week.

The availability of the new GPUs eliminates the need for organizations to construct their own GPU cluster for powering processor-intensive applications.

More than a timeline of up-to-the-minute information of what's going on in people lives, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are also troves of personalized data and provide a channel for some people to expand one's influence and reach.

Now salespeople using Dynamics 365 can get some targeted help in engaging with the masses on social media to potentially rack up more sales. Microsoft added a new Social Selling Assistant tool to Dynamics 365 this month, courtesy of update 1.1 to the Social Engagement 2017 app for the platform.

"With this application, your salespeople get personalized and smart recommendations to share on their social networks to enable them increase their social presence, gain trust from their followers, and generate more leads," stated the Microsoft Dynamics 365 team in a blog post.