Understanding Apple’s car strategy

“The basic word on the street is Apple has a secret lab and has various car prototypes they are working on with the idea of creating an actual car that would have an Apple logo on it. While this speculation is interesting, count me as one of the serious skeptics on Apple actually making a branded car and selling it as a stand-alone vehicle regardless of how smart it could be,” Tim Bajarin writes for Tech.pinions. “If they really wanted to get into the smart car business, just buy Tesla and work with them to add Apple’s intelligence and services to this vehicle. Clearly, they have the money to do this if it was strategic to their future.”

“I believe Apple’s plans are much grander than doing their own car,” Bajarin writes. “I do believe Apple has car prototypes in their labs as some have suggested. But I believe they are there to help them create a radical smart/intelligent connected car architectural design that could be licensed to all car companies or be part of an integrated solution. They would work with car companies to customize future models that would be smarter and perhaps safer than any car on the market today. The operative word here is safer.”

“What if Apple was able to present to car makers a rich solution behind iOS that connects sensors and cameras along with music, apps and services that helps them create a car that has multiple cameras as well as a 360 degree camera on top so there are never any blind spots,” Bajarin writes. “Sensors inside and out could be used to add additional safety features including collision avoidance and the like. Add to that the music and entertainment features that are part of iOS as well as the fact that iOS is a platform app developers could create apps for a car. Apple could create the architecture that sits at the center of all future smart cars.”

Much more in the full article – highly recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: Would the vehicle makers really work with Apple and actually cede the “brains” of their vehicles to Apple? Or would they fight them tooth and nail as it seems we are seeing in the media realm with Apple’s difficulty putting together the deal to launch an Internet TV service?

24 Comments

  1. If radically safer cars are in the offing how will this effect car insurance rates? I would think it would scare more than appease the car insurance industry as accident rates eventually dwindle. My car already has some of these protections and they’re great. A portent of grander, safer things to come.

    1. Not quite that simple. Profit is based on premium dollars not returned to the customer in terms of the cost of claims. If accident rates went down and claims went down, premiums could go down and profits remain the same or even increase.

  2. It has been said that SJ wanted all of Apple’s products to be able to fit on one table. Keeping that in mind, I don’t see a car in Apple’s future but software to integrate and automobile into your daily lives.

    No one could do it better.

  3. TV and Cars are a totally different market space to exploit. Everyone buys additional “options” or packages with their cars. Why wouldn’t Apple present a tech package for upgrades when people buy or lease new cars? I bought the tech package with a BMW 2 years ago-while it’s nice it’s not CarPlay integrated. There are 2 ways to get into the auto market-the dashboard or the engine. My guess is Apple wants both. The engine for iOS based communication and diagnostics suites and CarPlay for the dashboard. I think within a year we’ll hear rumors of Auto makers partnering with Apple so that the watch controls ignition and all startup functions-in other words the Car’s key.

    1. And Apple won’t be able to make enough cars until Tesla’s gig a factory is finished and running. Apple plans many years ahead working on many projects. Some pan out some don’t. What I admire most is Apple knows when to move a project forward, when to release a project, and when to kill it. The pipeline for Apple products the next few years is amazing.

  4. An iOS backbone compared to RIM’s QNX or Windows Embedded would provide a much richer experience for car owners and maybe a much better development environment for car manufacturers. And also a thoroughly modern 64 bit OS that can process so much more information for safety, fuel efficiency and diagnostics.

    For instance, if a car knows your destination because of your GPS navigation setting, it may suggest gas stations or operating in a certain mode because of elevation changes and traffic conditions.

    1. LOL no thanks. When I need my anti-lock brakes to respond I don’t want to wait on a non-real time consumer OS to decide its ready to give that thread priority.

  5. For 1, cars are becoming electronic hogs. A 12v battery can only take so much. Car manufactures know they are running out of power in the demand of electronics. If Apple can save power, innovate new technology into the car system. What an open book for Apple!!!

  6. Ughhhh. More baseless car rumors.

    Apple has no car strategy. Apple has no interest whatsoever in low-margin manufacturing.

    Cook has made every indication that he wants users to rent iCloud services. So in an imitation of Ford’s disastrous Sync and GM’s somewhat less disastrous OnStar, Apple is aiming to displace connected services and infotainment streaming through its iCloud.

    I will not subscribe. Cars are overpriced and overcomplicated as it is. The reliability and ease of use of the iCloud, Mobile Me, etc has been disappointing and will not improve the driving experience. The people who pay thousands of dollars to duplicate on their dashboards what they already own on their ~$500 iPhone is just stupid.

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