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 Apple want to build a car, they need to stay free from the encumbrances of the legacy auto industry. Partnering or buying an existing brand would thrown them into the dealership quagmire. By never having had a franchise dealership arrangement they’re not subject to the laws that were set up to protect franchised dealers from the machinations of the auto manufacturers. Some states are dragging their feet, but they will not prevail in forcing Tesla (or Apple) to grant franchises.

    Apple needs to be free to sell direct through company owned stores. That is the path to higher margins for them in an auto business. No accelerated production to put lots of inventory on dealer lots, only to cut back production while the dealers try to sell off what they have in their lots. Just a nice, efficient production channel that builds to order. Electric cars won’t turn into clapped-out hulks that need to be replaced every four years. Once they put monkey-motion of franchised dealerships in the loop they loose control of the customers experience and the result will be a lot of very sour Apples, low margins and way too much stupid for Apple.

  2. I’m of the mind that they will either come up with something big or they’ll pack it in at some point.

    I mean whats the point of chasing Bosch ??? They need to bring something better than whats already here.

  3. If Tim Cook and Co., think they have the car figured out beyond entertainment, they need to produce their own car. CarPlay is turning into a ROKR-Sears/CompUSA/Best buy type situation. Apple has shown they do better own their own with iPhone and Apple Retail.

    People just don’t get Apple.

  4. Bajarin is barking up the wrong tree.
    He often does.
    Existing car tech is widely understood. Much of this becomes redundant for cars powered by electricity. A more likely business proposition would be Apple to continue with its wildly successful ‘Designed by Apple in California’ business model. All this means is that a vehicle is designed using existing best practice for the mechanicals (the running gear) and overlaying that with Apple’s unique secret sauce for want of a better expression. With the current state of the art in engineering modelling of key component behaviours, it would not be difficult for Apple to design a chassis, bodywork and running gear that could be built in China after deep testing of its dynamic behaviour using existing modelling software.
    Once such a chassis was field-tested and finalised, simply add the drive unit(s) and electronics and bing bang boom you might have a car that is the new exemplar of safe, exciting, economical motoring.
    The existing Apple design/prototype and contracted-out manufacture model is tried and tested. Add an optimal outsourced diesel engine and you have potentially a fine, state of the art highly desirable hybrid car.
    I agree with commenters who rightly point out that it would be commercial suicide for any existing automaker to partner with Apple in the way that Bajarin rather naively suggests. This is such an important market and with the transition away from hydrocarbon liquid fuels, this is the ideal entry time for a major reinvention and disruption of one of the largest and most important markets in the world.
    Never mind a computer for everyone. Such a development could mean transportation for all.
    It would have to be sensibly priced though if it were to become a true folks wagon.

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