The deeper reason for an Apple Car

“As more and more smoke has emerged around the Apple Car, I think I see one big thing missing in people’s speculation about why this might or might not make sense as a strategic initiative: Apple has to try to continue to be an exciting place to work,” Matthew Yglesias writes for Matt’s Newsletter. “If you could staff a company with emotionless Vulcans, then simply sticking to Apple’s core business of releasing iteratively superior smartphones and extending the franchise by releasing smartphones (and smartphone-like tablets) in different sizes might make sense.”

Yglesias writes, “But if you want to keep a bunch of people who are very smart and hardworking but also already quite well-to-do and easily employable elsewhere engaged, motivated, and on-task you really have to give them a bigger mission than ‘iterative improvements in a market-leading product.’

“If you listen to Apple’s PR, they dwell a lot these days on Apple’s commitment to clean energy and also on its commitment to accessibility features. Some of that is just PR for PR’s sake, but some of it has to be PR that’s directed internally — the company wants the people who work there to believe that they are working for a company that stands for something more dramatic than an ever-more-convenient way to access your Facebook feed,” Yglesias writes. “They are solving big problems in the world!”

“An electric car would be a huge deal for the environment. An autonomously piloted car would be a huge deal for the blind and people with other visual impairments. These are big topics,” Yglesias writes. “If you want people at your company to feel like your company is wrestling with the big socially significant problems, working on car-electrification and car-automation is the way to do it.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: There’s certainly an element of employee retention in there somewhere, especially for the likes of say, Jony Ive, who could walk away at any time, set for life, unless he’s mentally challenged. Cook needs to use all of the tools at his disposal to attract and retain critical talent like Ive. In fact, keeping Jony and his team happy and engaged is one of Cook’s most important jobs, if not his most important job. As per Steve Jobs, everything at Apple revolves around the designers.

Volkswagen emissions scandal spotlights need for an Apple Car – September 23, 2015
Morgan Stanley: Apple Car, if true, ‘one of the most important moments in transportation’ – September 22, 2015
Former GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz: Apple Car ‘is going to be a gigantic money pit’ – September 22, 2015
Apple speeds up electric-car efforts, aims for 2019 ‘ship date’ – September 21, 2015
Apple meets California DMV officials to discuss ‘autonomous vehicle’ – September 18, 2015
Documents confirm Apple is building self-driving car, Project Titan further along than many suspect – August 14, 2015
Apple Car development proceeds apace – July 27, 2015
Apple hires veteran Fiat Chrysler auto industry executive – July 20, 2015
What’s up with Carl Icahn’s sudden obsession with the Apple Car? – May 18, 2015
Survey: 77% of hybrid or electric vehicle owners would likely buy an Apple Car – May 13, 2015
Apple’s ‘Project Titan’ could reshape the auto world – February 22, 2015


  1. While I do think it’s important to keep Apple employees challenged Tim Cook and the Board aren’t going to sign off on a project of this magnitude just to keep people from leaving. There needs to be a solid business reason for getting into the car business and employee bordem isn’t one.

    1. I could not agree more. Where’s a sixth start on which to click? 🙂

      Getting into the car manufacturing business is a tough thing to do, even when you have more money than any other company on the planet to throw at R&D and production and a massive customer base that is as loyal as anyone can be.

  2. Obviously I have no idea what Apple are actually planning, but I do believe that it will be significantly different from existing cars. My guess is that it will be powered by a fuel cell rather than just a storage battery.

    It’s worth remembering that Apple always expects to make a significant profit, while existing car manufacturers often operate at marginal profits. Therefore you can be quite certain that Apple’s business model is unlikely to be anything like that of existing car manufactures.

    Apple doesn’t want to get into the TV set market because there isn’t any significant profit to be made and TV sets are generally retained for quite a long time, so turnover isn’t that great. The same things are even more true with the car market, so Apple must be thinking along completely different lines to everybody else.

    1. Space…The Final Frontier! Time for Apple to Catch up with Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos… laptops, cars, and watches… so 20th Century… be like Elon Musk, and plan to Nuke Mars… or Titan [Project Titan???!!]

      1. well maybe, but if apple relies upon that ugly ass little beemer that is so frequently cited and pictured in apple car related articles, i wouldn’t bet on it.

        apple produces and sells premium products at premium prices, if they don’t have a vehicle that aesthetically meets or surpasses tesla in looks…. but i guess that is jony ive’s job, to make it look good.

        in that regard, he might want to take a look back at the 1967 maserati ghibli for some inspiration. that is one fine looking automobile !

        good looks count in cars and other more human relms

    1. >Partner with Tesla to build them

      There ya go! Tesla will need many billions to create enough gigafactories even to satisfy its own production goals. Apple could invest some of its offshore cash horde in GFs around the world to supply Tesla’s and meet it’s own needs.

  3. As Transportation is going to be the next big thing, and Tesla, Amazon, and even Google to some degree have aspirations for Space Transportation, and with Elon Musk making aspiring statements about establishing a colony on Mars… what would really fire up the troops in the “SpaceShip Apple Campus”… would be for “Project Titan” to be establish a human colony on ….Titan! Because in building an Autonomous vehicle, is just following the pack, and Tesla, and Google are doing…. Apple is the Mega Silicon Valley company that does not have Space Transportation plans unlike Blue Origins, SpaceX, or Google [] … with all the cash that Apple have, moonbase established by apple would be just small change….!!!

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