Apple Car rumors fuel Geneva Motor Show debate about car of future

“The main talking point at this week’s Geneva car show is likely to be a vehicle that may never be built: the Apple car,” Edward Taylor and Jan Schwartz report for Reuters.

“The world’s automakers will gather in the Swiss city to tout their latest minivans, city cars and sport utility vehicles against an uncertain market backdrop, with growing signs of recovery in Europe offset by slowing demand in emerging markets,” Taylor and Schwartz report. “But longer-term worries are also looming large. Reports that technology giant Apple may be building a car have got established automakers, who have spent the past 127 years refining the combustion engine, wondering whether they are still in pole position to build the car of the future.”

“Another factor intimidating car executives is Apple’s size,” Taylor and Schwartz report. “With a market capitalization of $750 billion, it’s worth more than Daimler, Volkswagen, Renault, Peugeot, Fiat Chrysler, Ford and General Motors put together.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. The auto industry has suppressed innovation that could have eveolved the industry and benefited the consumer forever( read on a clear day you can see general motors- the delorean story). They’ve been buying inventions and shutting them down and silencing all innovators that rock the boat so that they can parasitically continue to milk the market with dumbed down peices of bloated cheap ugly crap since the early 90s.

    Apple is independent and because it thinks about how to improve, reinvent and make quality and service in everything it does, it upends lazy, greedy and stagnant industries and the absolute proof that it will uppend the auto industry is the sheer sudden concern shown here by industry exaxs that know that they have been caught with their pants down – they can never make up for the time lost stagnating and dumbing down.

    Go Apple.

    1. Exactly! And this suppression of superior carbon car efficiency didn’t just start in the 1990s. I suspect they’ve been buying and burying fuel efficiency patents since the 1970s. I blether about it further below.

  2. Everyone is debating whether Apple would start a car company or just an information system for any car that would install it.

    Is there another realistic choice? Tens of billions of $s outside the country = yup. Buy an upscale small car company that is available, maybe.

    1. Well, keep in mind that Apple would never bother with a carbon fuel based automobile. Therefore, who exactly would they buy? Tesla is the closest to any company Apple would want to own in this market. We’ve been through the rumor mill about that potential purchase.

  3. My biggest question now is “how much will we know, and when?” Building a car is not something you can hide. Parts will leak. Certainly can can assemble many iterations of the car without anyone knowing anything, as they have the machining capabilities all in house. But mass production will be a 12-18 month ramp up, maybe even 24 months for certain parts…

    I’m thinking they’ve rumor-announced the project because too many people are now involved for it to remain hidden as a plan. Probably it’s about to get a whole lot more serious, too (and thus the rumor-announcement).

    My guess is that they’ll continue to breadcrumb the project over the next three years, giving tidbits of data just to keep people aware and hungry. But they’ll probably have to pre-debut it 12 months ahead of time — at least — to be able to do the ramp up. So perhaps an announcement in early…

    We’ll let’s make this interesting…

    Let’s say they’re actually 2 years in on a five year project. So they announce in 2.5 years — late 2017 — that the next fall will see the debut of the car. It arrives in October/November of 2018.

    Just for fun let’s say a bit more:

    – They sell them in local stores. How? They buy a small-time rental car outfit or two and use those facilities.

    – There is no bartering.

    – They cost $29,995.

    – They are SUV-like, seating 5. No trunk, but a “back rack” that opens like a refrigerator door and has shelves like a pantry.

    – Electric

    – Ability for them to “link,” so one can become a tethered trailer for another, though it will use its own motor. (Solves self-driving issue for now). Up to 5 can link together, can happen on the fly.

    – No door frame blocking your side vision.

    – Large “spike” wheels. Each wheel has thousands of spikes that act like spring-loaded mechanisms (won’t actually have springs). These have excellent traction, can compensate for uneven road, and don’t wear out like rubber.

    – Gull doors

    – No paint

    1. Good start. If Apple does design a whole car, I will bet that almost every significant object will get a design team to rethink how and why and if that object should exist the way it is or be reinvented.

      Unlike consumer electronics which are typically replaced every 3 years and may have a 6 year lifespan, if not damaged, an Apple Car to compete will have to have a lifespan beyond 10 years with parts/service & repairs/updates available. Hence, it will be a much different business with far, far more after sale service/repair required.

      The issue of dealers is still not resolved because of laws in certain states. If a car is to be serviced nationwide, the service/repair issues become large.

      I don’t doubt Apple can do it. It is going to be an interesting couple years.

        1. It would looke cool. But, at the same time, intoduces complexity in something that should be simple. Additionally, it introduces points of weakness in the structural design. While I don’t profess to be an mechanical or structural engineering, creating that kind of door is just not Apple’s way of doing things.

      1. Apple focuses on simplicity – the minimum necessary to get the job done well. I do not think that gull wing or scissor doors will pass that hurdle.

        I do like sliding doors, however. The side doors on our van are very useful and provide the best ingress/egress capability of any door design that I have used. Sliding doors would be straightforward to implement on an SUV-type body style, as implemented on existing minivans. But the front doors would have to slide forward.

  4. I believe Tesla is the latest game changer. The technology in their cars is amazing, and their software is regularly updated over their built-in 3G cellular connection, faster over your home WiFi while it’s plugged in at home. They give you free access (for seven years) to their 2,000 charging stations alongside the freeways across the country.

    The major downside, of course, is the price. A 250 mile range car starts at $71,000 + extras (like a sunroof, etc.), so I’ll never be able to afford one. A friend of mine just ordered the $104,000 base priced P85D all wheel drive model, so at least I’ll get to see one up close and hear about its issues over the coming years.

    If Apple chooses to compete in the Tesla-class car area, I’m sure they’ll do fine. A lot will have to change to drive the car down to the $40-50k viable range for me to consider it, however.

  5. Lots of LiquidMetal 3D printers for the frames, body and suspension parts, all “wiring” printed as part of the frame assembly, even the dashboard printed with conductors layered with insulators and components printed on top (LED display, touchscreen buttons, etc…)

    Dreaming is OK, No?

    1. LiquidMetal technology licensed and further developed by Apple is not suitable for 3D printing as far as I have ever heard from articles on it.

      Even if LM was able to be 3D printed, 3D printing is not suitable for high volume production because of very slow build times.

      Slow build times holds for virtually any material used for 3D printing whether STL epoxy, other polymers or SLS stainless & titanium. The thinner the build layer, the larger the build time and the better the finish.

      All RP parts have relatively rough finishes and tolerances compared to machining processes. That means SP parts are not suited for real world uses until they get surface finishes and mating surfaces cleaned up which is very expensive work.

  6. “Sales are secondary. Market shares are secondary. Profits are secondary. The important thing is to focus on building great products.” I just wish every corporation had this attitude.

  7. What I think we’re going to see is the continued, and eventually dramatic rise of the NON-internal combustion, carbon-based fuel automobile. Once the carbon car business notices that they’re losing significant marketshare, just watch them pull all their buried superior efficiency internal combustion engine patents out of mothballs and start trying to revive their dominance. I seriously believe this is what we’ll see. If only they’d bothered to improve carbon car fuel efficiency 30 or 40 years ago. The word ‘cretinous’ comes to mind.

    1. Easy to say that innovation is suppressed, but when you have a generation of idiots who have been brainwashed into thinking that disposable plastic chinese junk from their local walmart somehow saves them money, then how do you imagine that automakers are going to get car buyers to pay for it?

      The automotive world would indeed be better off if instead of Asian rolling refrigerators that we had all vehicles designed by Aston Martin, Bugatti, Ferrari, McLaren, and Porsche in mass production, priced to sell to the common man. But that’s not how the market works. Premium hardware is only available to the select few. If you want a LaFerrari, you need to pay for it.

  8. “You cannae break the laws of physics, Captain.”

    PV = nRT and the Carnot cycle says max 50% and the fact IC has all those moving, heat-losing parts means 30% max.

    Why are people so obsessed with faulty 19th century technology?

    Go Apple! Drag ’em kicking and screaming into the 21st C. Get rid of this noisy polluting shit.

  9. The auto manufacturers are the only ones who have been able to deliver hybrids and full electric cars in any kind of real capacity for a price that is competively close to existing internal combustion powered Cars.

    Until that changes they are still your best bet going forward.

    1. Really????
      isn’t that what they said about computers? music players? phones? pads?
      You sound like you don’t know history, go do your homework.
      Mark my words, (iCal if you will) there will be disruption, and automotive is a VERY RIPE segment of the world right now, that the major manufacturers have stymied into a blah state with their adherence to outdated technology.
      That is my forward looking statement, but if you look at the past, you will see why it is not prescient, but simply applied pattern recognition

      1. Look at the electric and hybrid vehicles out there. Who is currently capable of supplying the market at a competitive price?

        It sure isn’t Tesla or any of the other so called revolutionaries who are trying to make an electric car.

        Granted that may change, but to write off the existing auto manufacturers as dinosaurs when no one else can currently match them in price or quantity is a bit of a joke.

        1. Joke is on Steve “No Keyboard” ballmer, of Microsoft, and Ed “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.” Colligan of Palm
          and of course, the joke will be on anyone who puts a limit on Apple based on the past, or even the present. The puck is still travelling, and the major car companies are trying to keep up, Tesla has only just begun
          If tesla was allowed to sell their cars as they see fit, and there was more capital available to tool up the shift would happen sooner. so go ahead and laugh, i for one believe i will laugh last, all the way to the bank

          1. I’ll buy from the company who makes the best product in its class for the right price.

            I have no loyalty one way or the other.

            I just find it comical to hear all of this blathering bullshit about how the major auto manufacturers have no chance when they are the only fucking companies out there who can fill a car lot with hybrids or electrics right now at a competitive price point.

  10. “Sales are secondary. Market shares are secondary. Profits are secondary. The important thing is to focus on building great products.”

    This is the one thing that Apple’s competitors fail to understand. In effect, Tim Cook is saying, “If you build it, they will come…” He is echoing Steve Jobs’s business philosophy, and, so far, seems to be doing a damn good job of running Apple accordingly.

    1. Tim isn’t doing an adequate job in terms of maintaining software quality. Ugly unintuitive interfaces, no help menu, no user manuals anywhere to be found. It seems the whole team has spent 5 years implementing 64 bit iOS and 15 minutes whitewashing OS X.

      Repeatedly when glitches occurred on our iPhones, the “geniuses” one and only answer was to totally erase and reinstall — a very Microsoftian solution that wasted hours of our time resetting stuff the way we had it.

      OS X has completely stagnated in terms of capability as a desktop OS, instead adding complicated fluff that doesn’t work half the time.

      And then you have to look at the declining ability for users to customize and upgrade Apple hardware. If you can’t get the configuration you need, Apple ignores you. Hell, if you write into Apple with Maps corrections, Apple ignores you. This is no longer a customer-focused company. Cook is selling fashion, and like most fashion, it looks great from a distance, but no supermodel spends a second more in that uncomfortable crap than they have to. They move on to stuff that Just Works. Remember when that used to be Apple? Not today.

      If Apple continues to charge the premium price, it needs to up its value. Instead

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