What happens if Apple starts making cars

“When media coverage suggests Apple may redesign the automobile, even the most cynical car-lovers quiver with righteous curiosity,” Michael Schrage writes for Harvard Business Review. “They should.”

“Could Sir Jonny Ive be the next Battista Pininfarina, Harley Earl, or Akihiro Nagaya? Don’t bet against him. Steve Jobs’ successors are at least an order of magnitude more credible as disruptive innovators than the heirs of Ford and Sloan,” Schrage writes. “The computer, software, telecoms, music, broadcast, publishing, photography, retail, and consumer electronics industries certainly believe so. Apple demonstrably understands design, UX, and global supply chain alignment in ways few organizations ever have. According to data from Yahoo finance, company’s market cap exceeds that of Toyota, BMW, Volkswagen, Ford, GM, Honda, Fiat Chrysler, Tesla, and Daimler combined. Apple’s cash hoard currently tops $175 billion.”

“If Apple truly wants to fundamentally transform the driving experience and global automobile business, it surely has the ingenuity and resources to do so,” Schrage writes. “Unlike commercial aviation, automobile economics brilliantly reward the brilliant. Apple is brilliant. Don’t bet against them.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: What happens if Apple starts making cars is that every car maker will be impacted and many will either die, go the low-end crap route targeting the type of customers that Apple smartly couldn’t care less about, or embark on knocking off as many of Apple’s patented innovations as they think they can get away with.

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Lawsuit claims Apple poaching auto engineers to build large-scale battery division – February 19, 2015
Apple poached workers for new battery division, A123 Systems lawsuit claims – February 18, 2015
Apple Car: Apple’s ambition knows no bounds – February 18, 2015
Rethinking the Apple Car. Rethinking Apple. – February 18, 2015
Forget the rumor: Apple will never build cars – February 17, 2015
The real battle Apple is waging in autos – February 17, 2015
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An Apple Car is exactly what investors want – February 17, 2015
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
Apple’s project ‘Titan’ gears up to challenge Tesla in electric cars – February 13, 2015
Apple’s next big thing: The Apple Car? – February 13, 2015
Apple hiring auto engineers and designers – February 13, 2015


    1. Billions of dollars alone can’t guarentee that Apple can deliver a car that maintains the levels of quality, user experiences and innovations we have come to expect.
      Many “off the shelf ” components made by the mediocre existing car companies will be used subjecting Apple to many of the same vagaries virtually all brands suffer in the name of profitability.
      These Apple car rumors are purely pipe dreams – and I am not sure what is shouldering in those pipes.
      Apple certainly sees major possibilities in the dashboard of the automobile and that is the direction they are pursuing. CarPlay is just the beginning.

      1. But billions of dollars …plus brains and a truly pioneering view of innovation, not to mention insights into culture-changing technology and super cool design — now all this could do the trick, don’t you think? I don’t know any other company that has all these qualities.

        Most cars, their designs, their “user interfaces”, their power sources and drive trains, their production methods, are old tech. Even obsolete. Plenty ripe for revolution.

        Lastly, the only way for Apple to continue to grow now that it is so big is to continue to do what it has always done: make insanely great products that change the world, and to do so in large new product markets.

      2. Either you replied to me by mistake or the humor escaped you.
        I have no preconceptions that Apple will build a car.

        Design one and invest in/buy Tesla to push the boundaries?

      3. I just can’t wait for the 6 wheeled SAMSUNG smart single seat turdowaggon which will come out just as Apple anounces it has no interest in building cars but is to launch an instant teleporter that makes all cars effectively redundant.

    2. With the right battery/ultra capacitor, it might very well finally be able to make a car that flies. Either way, I look forward to a car built by a design driven company with an eye on perfection. If Detroit were smart, they would be on their knees begging to be the prime contractor.

  1. So I guess this is their 2020 revolution (they do this every 5ish years, right?). Guess it was just going to be too big to keep under wraps for so long, given the massive size and investment necessary for the project.

    I say bring-it-on! After all, if cars are destined to become computing devices, which of these do you want running your car: Windows? Android? Ford-craptastic? Or OS X?

    Microsoft? Google? Ford? or

  2. And they’ll give the blind independence that we may never have if cars just keep being the same thing with luxury stuff being put in every few models or so. And just imagine having iTunes Radio or the new streaming service being accessible with the touch controls on the dashboard or even right from the iPhone as the car autopilots itself as your music and videos and movies stream from the iPhone to the big screen on the dashboard of the car? Siri would announce progress to the destination as you watch movies or play games on the big, probably crisp iPad-like car display. It’ll probably have a wireless charger for all your Apple devices too, and might even have a version of iOS for the car, so that family centered games can be played on displays that would be at every seat. Each display would be like a miniature iPad, with different settings, like accessibility, bring able to be set differently than the other displays. Each display could also show the eta to a rival at the destination so no more “are we there yet” from kids. Gosh, the future seems so bright and full of possibilities for apple.

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Microsoft always wanted to be in autos and Apple will likely turn down their request to be in the Apple-mobile. Man that must be sweet to see the eyes of the board members of booth Samsung, Google, and Microsoft. Priceless.

  4. Ford famously said something to the effect “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said “Faster horses””.

    Don’t expect faster horses. Don’t even think about horses.

  5. I seriously doubt Apple has an interest in the production of cars and think the whole thing is speculation run wild, but will offer this:

    1) The auto business is a very mature business with deep political ties to the culture and self image of many countries. There will be no first mover advantage.
    2) Patents, patents, patents. Almost any direction Apple would be likely to approach the design and production with will be littered with numerous and diversely held patents-especially alternate fuel technologies.
    3) Marketing. Apple likes to control the marketing and sales of it’s products-something auto dealers would fight with every last ounce of their being. These days dealers are not mom and pop shops- they are fairly large corporate entities with plenty of lawyers and politicians. Ask Musk about the bag of hurt direct sales has been with the patchwork of state laws bought with decades of lobbying dollars.
    4) Margins. Most makers operate on very thin margins and even the luxury or near luxury brands are feeling the pressure. Audi, BMW, and Mercedes are all building new plants in Mexico to produce for the North American market- even non Union US labor in the south are pinched in the low and mid-priced luxury market. The high end market is not a very large one and is over saturated currently.

    That gives Apple very few attractives forward should they Perdue such a strategy. The money is in owning patents for technologies sold to existing producers.

  6. Would love to see Jony Ive toting a Craftsman wrench! And Tim Cook at the Apple Car announcement laugh at Jony’s colloquialism of the word bonnet in lieu of hood! Wonder if “AL-u-minum” is out and ‘Liquid Metal’ is in?!?

  7. A car is several orders of magnitude more complex than any device Apple has ever designed. As much as I would love to see Apple succeed in this endeavor, I will be utterly shocked if they actually succeed.

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