Apple’s real CarPlay: Cupertino doesn’t need to build cars in order to reinvent driving

“Apple may well intend to reinvent driving, but it hardly needs to build its own car to do that,” Will Knight writes for MIT Technology Review. “Its ambitions are, I think, more likely focused on the software and interfaces found in vehicles — the code that shapes the driving experience, and increasingly makes vehicles actually run — than on developing the expertise needed to manufacture hardware such as chassis and brake lights. To some degree, Apple has already begun this journey with Car Play [sic], software preinstalled in some new cars that transfers functionality from an iPhone to the vehicle’s interior.”

“Replicating all the manufacturing carmakers already do isn’t where the real opportunity lies,” Knight writes. “A smarter strategy, surely, would be to invest in developing new software, and maybe some new hardware, that transforms the driving experience, and then sell that technology to as many car manufacturers as possible.”

Read more in the full article here.

20 Comments

    1. Apple will reinvent driving. But simply writing the software and letting someone else build the hardware is a Microsoft-Dell model of doing the business. I think Apple has tried it and seen the problems.

      Iris the whole widget, or nothing.

      1. I agree. No way is Apple going to get mired in the Android/Windows type swamp of incompatibilities and constant bug fixing it would take to support several car manufacturers each with several new models every year.

        Not a chance!

        Either they will do the whole car, and ride the all-electric car wave, or stick with just CarPlay, which does have a clear interface and leaves 99% of the complexity in the phone.

    1. You are right. They are building their own car. People are clueless. Look how hard it is to just get people to adopt carplay?

      Everyone wants their own proprietary platform. No one wants to really on another company for the user experience even if their own is crappy. Geez look at even Pioneer and Alpine who shove their own UX alongside carplay?!

      Apple hates relying on others even down at the component level.

      They are building a car, or cars. Likely start out with a small 5 passenger and then evolve an SUV hybrid model and possibly a sports car down the road.

      I’d suggest that they will borrow both from Mercedes (Ive) and Audi (Cook) as inspiration.

      What the writer of this article is suggesting is that Apple will build a Mac OS X version and license it to other PC manufacturers who can use to build their PCs. Apple doesn’t operate this way.

      Not gonna happen. Apple is building a car. Period.

      1. I want an Apple Pickup! It has to have a monogramed, easy rider rifle rack for the back window. It also needs both country and western music on the Apple 12 speaker boombox.

        Cars are OK for city folk but real men want a pickup.

    2. I agree. The EASY strategy is to create the “car software” that other car makers use. It would have been much easier (and less risky) to create iOS and let other smartphone makers license it. In the bad old days, it would have been much easier for “beleaguered” Apple to license Mac OS, and Apple even tried it before Steve Jobs came back. But the EASY strategy does not equal the BEST strategy.

      History says IF Apple is getting into cars, Apple is ultimately designing the car. The whole car. Otherwise, it’s just a “hobby,” and cars will NOT be Apple’s next hobby.

  1. Car companies are rather protective of their products, NIH?

    Apple thinking they can get a significant market share as a supplier to those companies will probably be a longer road than the typical iPhone ramp up.

    In other words, I would not bet on either option as both are too risky.

  2. “…and then sell that technology to as many car manufacturers as possible.”

    Fine. Except Apple has never been particularly successful with providing just part of the product. There’s been a lot of talk about Apple’s DNA. That DNA compels Apple to build the entire widget their way. Apple is not built to accept the limitations of being an automotive supplier.

    1. And their DNA is to design for and sell to customers, not sell to manufacturers or corporations who down the road sell to customers or their employees.

      How the heck would Apple ever manage a quality experience that way?

  3. Those serious on software build their own hardware. It’s futile to wait for all those car guys to adopt the platform built by Apple. Apple must build their own hardware, i.e. the car in order to best integrate their innovative software.

  4. You only have to look at the slow uptake for something as superficial as CarPlay to see how much resistance there would be against adopting a more comprehensive software package capable of being the operating system for cars.

    Manufacturers would be very reluctant to jump on board and would make all sorts of excuses why they shouldn’t.

    If Apple wants to put significant amounts of software into cars, it’s going to need to make those cars itself. Maybe once it’s proven to work and popular with customers, the other manufacturers might possibly show interest, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  5. years back when the topic first came out, I believed Apple would never build a whole car but I’m starting to change my mind (and I echo Danno Bonano above) …

    Auto manufacturers are saying they want systems that provide for ALL their potential customers i.e a system that integrates Android, Win Phone etc, will Apple do that?

    Also Car makers like Toyota are already skipping on Carplay because they want control. (they’ve seen what happens to manufacturers in PCs, phones etc who cede control to software guys,).
    Auto manufacturers don’t really care about the ‘highest quality’ knowing their vast majority of their customers can’t objectively compare as Most have never touched a Carplay system before. They would rather use their own propietry clunky systems.

    Apple didn’t succeed building a good phone with Motorola , the ROKR E1.

    Apple’ Carplay is vastly differently M.O than it’s success with things like iPhone where it controls everything.

    So for all these reasons supplying just a system for auto manufacturers does not seem ideal.
    And today Apple has huge amounts of money.
    And car manufacturing might give them experience for even more complex stuff like advanced … ROBOTS.

    So maybe due to frustrations and long term plans they are looking to build their own car….

    1. Agree everything you said Dave.

      I think Apple has no choice but to go the full month to build their own car.

      Likewise, I believe if Apple goes into robotics they will be able to fully integrate everything together including humanoid assistant to assist the old or paraplegics inovement – think ironman suit.

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