Apple’s visit to BMW factory fuels further rumours of possible partnership

“Rumors of a possible collaboration between Apple and BMW have been given a boost after details emerged of a visit by Apple executives to the German luxury car maker’s factory in Leipzig,” Alexander Sehmer reports for The Independent.

“During the visit executives from the technology company asked detailed questions about tooling and production, and BMW board members signalled their readiness to license parts,” Sehmer reports. “Although there are no plans at present for jointly developing a passenger vehicle, according to BMW, one of the sources quoted by Reuters said exploratory talks between senior managers may be revived at a later stage.”

“Rumors of a possible partnership that would see Apple using the body of BMW’s ‘i’ vehicles as the basis for an Apple Car, have been circulating for months,” Sehmer reports. “Apple appears to want to explore developing a passenger car on its own, while BMW is said to be cautious about sharing its manufacturing know-how as it wants to avoid becoming a mere supplier to a software or internet giant… Apple’s car project is code-named ‘Project Titan’ but details remain a closely guarded secret.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If Apple were to actually build vehicles, they’d need an assembler who can build to the exacting tolerances Apple demands. BMW would be a perfect candidate.

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9 Comments

  1. Newton.com will be used for something special soon. Apple is doing what it did when it toured Xerox parc except this time Bmw is not getting paid.

  2. I like BMW, I like Apple. However, the thought of them partnering for an Apple car seems odd:

    1. Apple is a vertical integration company. Like the new commercial “An iPhone is an iPhone because the people that make the hardware are the same people that make the software.”

    2. Jonny Ive said he always wanted to design a car. Can’t imagine he’d be ok using someone else’s design…

    But of course, I could be wrong. 🙂

  3. It makes sense insofar as Apple isn’t out to redesign how the fundamental aspects of a car operate (it’ll have tires and a steering wheel, suspension systems and air conditioning, etc. like every car on the road today) but instead of how to integrate modern communications technology that it has pioneered into the car experience the way it ought to be done as a cohesive experience rather than mostly a dangerous one . . . . probably also factor in a new fuel paradigm that is very economical and efficient (think battery tech like Tesla’s) . . . . BMW does make sense as a supplier because it has a premium image and has the production chops to produce a high end product.

    1. You mentioned that an Apple car would a steering wheel. I suppose you’re probably right because any alternative might be too shocking for the Department of Transportation to handle.

      But if Apple were to do a fundamental interface rethink, they may explore some alternatives. I posit that steering by hand may not actually be the best way to control a vehicle. Now, I anticipate many down votes here. But try to think outside the box a little.

      We have grown up steering our bodies with our feet quite accurately when running, climbing up a hill, and jumping over obstacles. Our feet react extraordinarily fast to unanticipated events. When we stumble over something we usually catch ourselves before we fall. (Hands, of course, help us cushion the blow if we do fall.)
      Imagine slipping your feeling into boots with pressure and motion sensors all around. (If you need to stretch a flip of a switch could temporarily disable foot control.) With all four appendages available and in full use during driving the level of control a driver could have would unprecedented.

      Maybe this is too radical for a passenger car. But I could definitely see this creeping into race cars as well as cars for the disabled sooner rather than later.

      1. One more point about steering wheels. In passenger vehicles when you enter a sharp turn you typically have to rotate the steering wheel more than 180 degrees, which requires that you let go of the wheel with one hand temporarily as your turn the steering wheel. In a tight turn that is precisely the worst time for you to let go of the steering wheel. Bad, bad, bad!

        The steering wheels of Formula One race cars have tight turning controls to prevent the drivers from needing to remove their hands from the steering wheel in a turn. A pure safety issue.

        I am not saying that passenger vehicles should have Formula One type steering wheels. I am saying that the current steering wheel used in today’s passenger vehicles needs to change.

  4. No no no. They gotta pull a Preston Tucker thing and build their own factory, their own car. Using BMW is a lot like…well…dare I say it… all the PC manufacturers using Windows licenses. If this is what they mean by ‘a car’ when they should know perfectly well that everyone is expecting them to build their own car/factory… then that stock is gonna sink even further. Next thing you know Apple is gonna be in talks with Sony to sell their 2017 Trinitron.

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