When you want to make a lot of money in business, you need to sell something that is everywhere. As businesses go, they don’t come any bigger than Apple which is currently the world’s most valuable company. iPhones and iPods may be everywhere, but what about taking things further? Cars are as ubiquitous, and rumors rife, which is why talk of an Apple Car may not be wishful thinking…
Do We Need an Apple Car?
There was a time when people balked at the thought of paying $500 for a smartphone. Wasn’t a standard candy bar style Nokia good enough? Now with the advent of the iPhone X people are paying double that amount and happy to do so. That tells us that Apple knows how to make us want things we already thought couldn’t get much better. Steve Jobs changed the game when it came to mobile devices, and now we simply can’t get enough of them.
Add to that the fact that iOS is significantly more robust than Android and you get a feel for just how good Apple can make things. So, why not at least dream about Apple changing the landscape of the auto industry too? The major players have been the same for decades now which means it is primed for a real shake-up. With the financial clout they have, I think this is a rumor worth taking a closer look at.
Do They Know How to Make a Car?
The reason I’m getting a little hot under the collar here is that they recently hired numerous engineers from companies like Tesla. If you want to be able to build a self-driving car then whom better than a team which is already further down the road? (Good pun right!)
The name that is being talked about more and more with each passing day is ‘Project Titan.’ By hiring senior directors of engineering from their main competitors, Apple is certainly planning something. They’d have no problem headhunting the best of the best in the world of smartphones and tablets.
If you want to get an insight into the way Apple works then think about this. The iPad unveiling was rumored for a while. However, did not comment until Jobs walked out on stage with one. The same is true of the way in which the Apple Watch was debuted to the masses. They’re not a company that deals in half measures and press releases. Their whole ethos is that people won’t know what they really want until you show it to them. If you can unveil a car that blows Tesla, of the water, then that’s like a magic bullet.
Tesla has been around for some time, and their vehicles improve step-by-step, but they keep talking about batteries and AI. Whatever you think about Elon Musk, he gets headlines, but perhaps more as the head of a company in transition. As for Apple, it likes to create technologically closed ecosystems which appear before your eyes as if fully formed. But what can we expect this approach to yield?
What I think will happen?
As with any developing story, there is a mixture of fact and rumor that we need to unpick. You’d be mad to think that it won’t try and use its software expertise to create a self-driving Apple car. That has long been touted as the future. So, as Apple is known for getting in early and doing everything better than people initially thought they could. Don’t be surprised if you learn that they’ve been working on AI since before they even had an idea of what the car itself would look like.
Next, you have the issue of fuel. Will it be a gas guzzler or will it run off a single charge and try and directly compete with Elon Musk and co? I’m stretching out a bit here folks, but I would say that given the company’s California hippy roots they won’t want to add more greenhouse gases to the environment. That would not only be a great bit of PR, but it would also allow them to change the game all over again.
What the rumors say
As for what current rumors suggest, there is not a lot. However, I can tell you; it will be autonomous. Apple has reportedly been working on such a vehicle since 2014 (possibly earlier,) however, it shelved those plans in 2016. According to those that worked on the then called ‘Project Titan,’ some technology hurdles needed to be surpassed.
Fast forward to 2018, and it looks as if those roadblocks have been overcome, as Apple has been poaching staff from Tesla, and rehiring old team members.
Regarding insights into the features and abilities of the Apple car, there could be a new signaling system, such as warning other drivers that it is about to change lanes, turn, slow down, stop and so on. Additionally, the cars AI could anticipate a driver’s next move and provide at the second information or corrections (assuming being driven manually.)
When will it hit the road? No one knows for sure, but, 2020, is the widely reported year. Will, that come to pass? I doubt it, Apple was fashionably late to the smartwatch market, and I see it doing the same with its car. Furthermore, with no autonomous consumer vehicles being legally driven on the roads right now, I see it waiting, ironing out any issues it see’s in other manufacturers vehicles, and then launching.
So there you have it, I guess that ultimately time will tell. But I predict that you will see an Apple Car driving past your home within 5-years. And when you do see one, it won’t be a half-baked effort with a substandard battery. It’ll be driven on stage ready to roll off the assembly line.