Would You Buy an Apple Car?

Reports suggest tech giant working on its own autonomous vehicles.

by on Feb.16, 2015

It would be a big jump from making smartphones and smartwatches to a smart car for Apple.

Apple revolutionized the computer, the portable music player and the cellphone. Might it also be looking to change the way we drive? That’s the subject of intense speculation in recent days, several reports indicating the maker is looking to take on its high-tech rival Google – as well as traditional automakers like General Motors and Toyota – with its own autonomous vehicle.

The news is being taking seriously enough that investors have begun snapping up shares of several Chinese companies supposedly linked to the Apple project, including electric vehicle manufacturer BYD.

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Apple has already gotten a foot into the automotive world with its new CarPlay technology which helps sync the company’s iPhones to vehicle infotainment systems.

Supposedly known by the internal codename Titan, the new Apple project would go far beyond that. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, several hundred employees are now at work on a battery-powered minivan.

Similar reports have been appearing in tech journals. “A lot of people at the top in Silicon Valley consider it a given that Apple is working on a car,” wrote Bryan Chaffin, in the Mac Insider, an Apple-focused website. Meanwhile, Business Insider quoted a letter it said it received from an unidentified Apple employee who wrote, “Apple’s latest project is too exciting to pass up. I think it will change the landscape and give Tesla a run for its money.”

Apple traditionally has been tightlipped about even the smallest of projects and so far has not commented on the reported automotive project. TheDetroitBureau.com’s request for information has not been returned. But this publication has been hearing plenty of speculation within the automotive community that Apple would enter the carmaking business in some form.

(American motorists are ready for autonomous vehicles and willing to pay for them, says study. Click Herefor more.)

Apple co-founder and CEO, the late Steve Jobs was known – and both respected and feared – for his ability to target new niches for the Silicon Valley firm, such as the Mac computer, the iPod music player, and the iPhone. His successor, current CEO Tim Cook, has taking some fire for not going after another new market. The Titan Project could be his big one.

Exactly what type of car Apple might want to build – if the reports are true – is unclear, but such a vehicle would clearly take a high-tech focus. And there are three primary technologies that are driving the automotive world right now: in-car infotainment, zero-emission powertrains and autonomous driving.

With CarPlay, Apple has already targeted the first of these. Now, it appears, it may be combining the remaining two into one vehicle.

And beyond pitting Apple against the established auto industry it would put it up against two of the other giants of the high-tech world. Battery-electric maker Tesla is already marketing a zero-emissions vehicle, the Model S, with two other vehicle programs under development. It is also working on self-driving technology that could roll out before the end of the decade.

Google, meanwhile, is considered one of the leaders in autonomous vehicles, and has begun building a fleet of so-called Google Cars. These little bubble cars will be used in a fleet test around the firm’s headquarters south of San Francisco.

Unlike Tesla, however, Google has indicated it does actually want to build cars on its own, but would prefer to license its technology, much as it has its Android cellphone operating system, said project director Chris Urmson.

(What does Google have in store? Click Here for more.)

The speculation is that if Apple actually moves forward, it would partner with other manufacturers, much as it has done with its iPhone. And, here it may also turn to a low-cost production base in China.

Shares of BYD, a Chinese battery-electric vehicle manufacturer, surged 10%, to $45.84, on Monday thanks to speculation it could partner with Apple. U.S. mega-investor Warren Buffett holds a major stake in the carmaker.

Several other Chinese firms that provide automotive electronics also benefitted from the Apple car reports.

(Google may be readying an autonomous challenge to ride-share firms Uber and Lyft. Click Herefor the story.)

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5 Responses to “Would You Buy an Apple Car?”

  1. TOM MARTIN says:

    Not too long ago, Michael Dell shot his mouth off about how much better his company would be at building cars than most traditional manufacturers…this was just before Dell nearly went under.

    If Apple et al could build flawless computers without having to beta all their operating systems and apps, then I’d be convinced they could build a really great car.

  2. Jorge says:

    I personally would not touch anything Apple sells, especially a car.

  3. Jorge says:

    Yes we’ve seen the O/S and security issues on Apple products…

  4. Ten Reasons not To Buy an Apple car :

    1. The first model will crash, a lot

    2. The antenna won’t pick up radio (but it’s all your fault)

    3. Bono will be on the stereo, whether you like him or not

    4. It’ll cost twice as much as a Google car that’s also a bit bigger

    5. There will be a social network to let you share your favourite drives

    6. The built-in GPS will be Apple Maps

    7. After three years software updates will make it slow to a crawl

    8. It’ll bend badly if you drive it wearing skinny hipster jeans

    9. You’ll be able to buy a solid gold version

    10. And of course … the battery will run out by 4pm every day

    - The Guardian -

    ———————————————-
    Two more reasons : ☺/

    If Apple sells a branded vehicle

    It will likely be made other companies in foreign factories by workers getting paid substandard wages working in unsafe conditions , working egregious hours and living under substandard conditions and of course with foreign sourced parts .

    Profits will likely be held offshore as usual with overseas shell companies to avoid paying US taxes all the above in accordance with Apple’s usual long standing best practices of course ☺/.

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      Brilliant stuff! Thanks for sharing!

      Paul E.