Apple’s next big thing: The Apple Car?

“As rumors that Apple is making a self-driving car rev up, a peek under the hood of the company’s famed Industrial Design studio reveals a crew of talented automobile designers,” Leander Kahney writes for Cult of Mac. “An interest in futuristic cars is embedded deep within the DNA of Apple’s vaunted design team. Working under Jony Ive, Apple employs designers who worked on several fantastic concept cars, including a fabric-covered BMW that shifts shape depending on speed.”

“Ive has long been obsessed by cars. (He has quite a stable.) As a teenager, Ive wanted to be a car designer,” Kahney writes. “Apple’s possible interest in automotive innovation comes at a time of accelerating change for the transportation industry. From electric cars and high-mileage hybrids to autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing ventures, the way we move around the planet is undergoing rapid and radical transformation.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple hiring auto engineers and designers – February 13, 2015
Apple and Volkswagen working on iCar? – August 29, 2007
RUMOR: Apple prepping vehicle navigation system – June 18, 2007
Business writer begs Apple CEO Steve Jobs to start a car company – November 02, 2006

39 Comments

  1. I hope the auto designers are working on a heads-up display for automobiles. Old eyes don’t change focus very fast, and having the instrument panel displayed in the in the far field in the windshield field of view would be a big help.

  2. The question for me to answer as to why a car at Apple would be what key goal is sought? It is not just another car or another Tesla.

    Simplified structure and safer? Easier to update and fix? Transform from auto to SUV quickly?

    What would be the goal of doing what everyone else is doing?

  3. Up to a few days ago I thought this idea was absurd, but evidence from many sources has changed my mind. Here are some thoughts about why this actually might make sense.

    Apple’s relevant strengths:
    – Brand value and Brand loyalty like none other in the world.
    – Absolute World Leading Industrial Design (I would trust Jony Ive over anyone else to hire the best car designers, and choose the best final designs)
    – World Class Software Skills
    – Unmatched skills in managing operations and manufacturing (Very few other company are likely to have been able to ramp up and ship 74 million high end phones in one quarter)
    – Ridiculous quantities of cash in the bank

    Here are some factors that effect car buying decisions and greatly benefit from these strengths:
    – Beauty and Sex appeal in design (Sex sells cars)
    – Infotainment and Phone Connectivity (more significant now than ever, and will be much more so in the future)
    – Brand confidence

    Yes apple has zero experience in automotive mechanics, but apple can partner with other companies, buy great companies, and hire great talent.

    What OTHER potential industries exist that offer total sales dollars on a similar scale and benefit so greatly from apples known strengths. None that I can think of. This could be one of the very few directions apple might go to that could provide heavy growth from here.

    1. “Ridiculous quantities of cash in the bank”

      As it happens, the market cap of Ford, Chrysler and GM combined comes to $143 billion. Apple’s cash on hand is around $178 billion.

      -jcr

  4. A few years back Tim was watching HBO
    and ‘Tucker’ comes on.
    “hmm…”

    Sooner/later: “And from the design team who brought you Steve’s yacht…”

    oh no

  5. I had to dig this out of the archive. Hadn’t read this in years but most of old timers will chuckle.

    DOS Airlines
    Everybody pushes the airplane until it glides, then they jump on and let the plane coast until it hits the ground again. Then they push again, jump on again, and so on.

    Windows Air
    The terminal is pretty and colourful, with friendly stewards, easy baggage check and boarding, and a smooth take-off. After about 10 minutes in the air, the plane explodes with no warning whatsoever.

    Windows NT Air
    Just like Windows Air, but costs more, uses much bigger planes, and takes out all the other aircraft within a 40-mile radius when it explodes.

    UNIX Airways
    Everyone brings one piece of the plane along when they come to the airport. They all go out on the runway and put the plane together piece by piece, arguing non-stop about what kind of plane they are supposed to be building.

    Mac Airlines
    All the stewards, stewardesses, captains, baggage handlers, and ticket agents look the same, act the same, and talk the same. Every time you ask questions about details, you are told you don’t need to know, don’t want to know, and would you please return to your seat and watch the movie.

  6. If Apple is making a car–which I am not sure that I believe–why not just gobble up Tesla and be done with it, as opposed to working from scratch, which is significantly more expensive.

    As it stands, I suspect Apple is working on technologies that can go into vehicles, as opposed to a vehicle in and of itself.

    1. Apple does not ‘gobble up’ companies. Not their DNA IMHO.
      It would be counter productive unless Elon Musk agrees to it.
      Gobbling up / hostile take over just creates a non-workable atmosphere..

  7. Actually we aren’t fundamentally moving around this planet any differently to the way we did this past 20 years or more. Yes things are changing though modifying might be a better description but it’s certainly no revolution as things stand or look likely in the foreseeable future. I’m just grateful that St least we have started to make one progress in the right direction mostly thanks to Tesla but a long way to having real significance for the ordinary human.

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