O’Leary: Yes, give me the Apple car

“Buzz around Apple’s potential foray into the auto world has a lot of investors, such as Kevin O’Leary, really excited,” Reem Nasr reports for CNBC. “The O’Leary Financial Group chairman and ‘Shark Tank’ investor told CNBC‘s ‘Squawk Alley’ on Tuesday, ‘That’s interesting to me because I think that car can exist within the next five years.'”

“‘I like it as an investor because you’ve captured me for an hour and a half of the day in a car that you control the ecosystem in,’ he said. ‘That is a story I would like to hear Apple tell,'” Nasr reports. “‘I think there is a place for that in Apple’s world,’ he added.”

Read more in the full article here.

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Apple’s electric car dreams may bring auto industry nightmares – February 17, 2015
Jean-Louis Gassée: The fantastic Apple Car is a fantasy – February 16, 2015
Apple is already positioned to be a car company in many ways – February 16, 2015
Why Tim Cook would want to build an Apple Car – February 14, 2015
Apple working on self-driving electric car, source says – February 14, 2015
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    1. Yup. Apple’s not making a car. The car business is extremely difficult, particularly with the vast array of regulations that differ from country to country, so much so that requirements for things like hood height, bumpers, width, lighting, right hand drive, etc. etc. are extremely difficult to engineer to meet all countries. Most car companies have to either change a vehicle or simply not sell it in certain countries.

      And then there’s the manufacturing. It’s not like Apple can hire a company to assemble cars for it; Apple would have to become the car maker and have suppliers build its parts for it. That is a multi-billion dollar investment just in the plant and tooling costs alone, then you have the car R&D and production on top of it.

      Finally, it would be very, very difficult for Apple to extend its product line model to cars –– does Apple make a four door sedan, an SUV, a roadster, a minivan? How do you do that on one platform, or do you make multiple platforms? Or does Apple just go with one body style, take it or leave it?

      Sorry folks, but Apple is working on integrating iOS into the automotive experience, and perhaps even plotting to take over vehicle OS from QNX to offer a new type of automotive interface.

      1. As somebody who actually is in the car making business, let me gently suggest that I believe, for the very reasons you outline, that Apple is looking seriously at building a car. Actually, Bizlaw, you have articulated most of what is wrong or foolish about the automobile industry. Like “smart” phones with plastic button keyboards and tiny screens before 2007, cars are (generally speaking) poorly designed, stupidly built, inanely sold and serviced, and suck as user experiences. Tesla, in my mind, has barely scratched the surface of the change that is needed.

        Apple is almost always accorded respect for the design of their products, but rarely do people gush over the incredible achievement of building hundreds of millions of devices at the level of quality that Apple demands. And Apple does that without owning the means of production. I can easily see a vehicle-oriented Foxconn turning out Apple cars with terrific fit-and-finish, in either the US or China or Brazil or wherever.

        As for different models, Apple’s experience taking one iteration of engineering and using it in multiple devices – under the hood, there is considerable similarity between MacBook Pros and iMacs, for example – could work for vehicles as well.

        I don’t think we will know what Apple is doing anytime soon, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn at a special Apple event a couple years from now that the company has reinvented the car. That would be soooo like Apple.

  1. Let’s face it, 16 to 18 year old Chinese girls will not be the greatest people to assemble new cars for Apple.

    They will have to move their auto assembly plants to Germany to get decent assembly work.

    1. Not girls – robots. And as someone who has stood in many Chinese vehicles factories, let me assure you they can build a very good car when properly trained and managed – just like Foxconn has done with its labor force for all of Apple’s existing, and very high quality products.

  2. The real problem IMHO is not the lack of a better car, it’s that folks are trapped in cars for 90 minutes a day.

    Think Different.

    How about a network of Apple-designed collaboration centers where telecommuters could meet and have access to Apple IT support and all the latest high-end tools (plotters, editing suites, 3D printers, etc.) plus the great local community of creatives. Genius Bar + Kinkos + Starbucks, only better!

  3. “…you’ve captured me for an hour and a half of the day in a car that you control the ecosystem in.”

    That may just be the most intelligent thing I’ve ever heard Kevin O’Leary say.

    1. Headline next year: “Apple Fails to Ship Expected Apple Car! Company’s Future Is In Question!”

      Meanwhile, CarPlay ships, exactly as announced by Apple, providing the following initial functionality to cars manufactured by the companies using it:

      Siri eyes-free mode
      Satellite navigation
      Telephony instruction and control
      Music control
      iMessage control and response

  4. I read O’Leary’s book a few months back.


    He made his money partly by selling discounted fonts and software through his company Softkey. Those who are old enough remember the discs at the checkout counters at department stores containing low quality software. He says he was so smart by getting his guys to copy fonts and software just enough (like making fonts slightly taller or wider) so that he could avoid ligitation and he undercut the companies he copied from ($300 became $50 or less). (As a designer I was pretty appalled as I know some people spend weeks, months creating one font).

    He said he met Steve Jobs once in his life when he tried to blackmail Jobs into giving him $50 m (if I remember correctly) to continue to develop software for mac which was struggling at that time. Jobs ripped into him and asked him to get the hell out his office and not come back. He said Jobs was ‘one tough bastard’ (best quote in the book).

    the book is worth a read (I got mine from the library) if you want to know how the tech world run (ran) besides apple and hardcore marketing.

    1. Actually, some font families take YEARS to design correctly. The quickie fonts on the market today (popularized by Softkey and its descendants) range from fair to unimaginably bad, especially when it comes to things like consistency, ease of reading, built-in kerning tables and the subtleties that make great fonts great…

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