Apple car: Will it be more like BMW or General Motors?

“The big question about the rumored Apple car is not whether the company will build one,” Patrick Seitz reports for Investor’s Business Daily. “It’s how many it will build. That’s the assessment of a panel of Apple experts who spoke at the UBS Global Technology Conference last week in San Francisco. UBS analyst Steven Milunovich issued a transcript of the panel discussion on Monday.”

“Panelists Horace Dediu, fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute; Mark Gurman, senior editor of 9to5Mac; and Adam Lashinsky, assistant managing editor of Fortune magazine, agreed that Apple is indeed developing an electric car. That’s a given, they said,” Seitz reports. “Speculation should be over whether Apple, which has roughly $200 billion in cash and equivalents on its balance sheet, will produce a niche luxury car or will scale production for the mass market, Dediu said.”

Seitz reports, “‘The question ought to be just how many cars are they targeting to make? Are they intending to be a Tesla, which actually is a niche player, or are they intending to be 10 times bigger than that? Because that’s where you need to be to make a meaningful impact on the global market,’ Dediu said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in March:”When Apple enters markets, it’s because they can bring something(s) so unique to the table that significant disruption is inevitable.”

It goes without saying that Apple would create a premium vehicle, premium-priced for premium customers as usual, not a some low-end crate.MacDailyNews, September 21, 2015

Analyst: Apple Car will cost an average of $55,000 – October 16, 2015
Apple speeds up electric-car efforts, aims for 2019 ‘ship date’ – September 21, 2015
Survey: 77% of hybrid or electric vehicle owners would likely buy an Apple Car – May 13, 2015
What to expect from the Apple Car: Disruption – August 31, 2015
Apple Car: Tesla engineer joins Apple’s ‘Project Titan’ vehicle effort – August 21, 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 Car: Forget ‘electric,’ think hydrogen fuel cells – February 20, 2015
Apple working with Intelligent Energy on fuel cell technology for mobile devices, sources say – July 14, 2014
North Carolina regulators approve Apple’s 4.8-megawatt fuel cell facility at Maiden data center – May 23, 2012
New aerial images of Apple’s planned NC fuel cell, solar farms published – April 7, 2012
Apple’s massive fuel cell energy project to be largest in the U.S. – April 4, 2012
Apple patent application reveals next-gen fuel cell powered Macs and iOS devices – December 22, 2011
Apple patent app details highly-advanced hydrogen fuel cells to power portable devices – October 20, 2011


      1. Are you saying that Apple has nothing significant to add to the automotive field? Do you really think that they would turn out something that is focused on raw power or something that intelligently transmits the right amount of power to the wheels at the right time to achieve a wonderful experience? A car is much more than an extension of the pituitary gland.

        1. A few months ago, I would have agreed with you. I’ve never owned a GM, hadn’t ever driven one that I liked, and always did an “oh crap!” when I was assigned one at a rental car place. And that’s exactly what happened when the only option I had at a rental car place was a Chevy Impala back in October. I used to refer to the Impala as the Impale-ya because it was such a miserable excuse for a car. Uncomfortable, couldn’t get out of its own way, interior by Rubbermaid, powertrain that was nearly straight out of the early 80’s. What I got was quite the opposite. The infotainment system worked well, the car handled and accelerated well. Great gas mileage (relatively speaking), comfortable and quiet (despite what I initially perceived as “too firm” seats — they grew on me). I’m not sure if the new Impala is symbolic of what is going on at GM, but I will say that I liked that car. And this is coming from someone who has bought nothing but “import” marques for nearly 20 years. I’m still flabbergasted by it.

        2. i am no fan of GM vehicles, not since the Chevy’s from the 1960s and early 1970s. But you are woefully misinformed, Fwhatever. The government bailout of GM ended nearly two years ago! And GM recently topped ratings of initial quality. The company is performing strongly and many thousands of good jobs remained in the U.S. because of the (regrettably necessary) government bailout.

          Fwhatever, you should consider that the merit (or lack thereof) of your rants on MDN reflect directly on your credibility (or lack thereof). Personally, I would be thrilled if I saw any sign of growth in your ability to consider the merits of other viewpoints rather that settling deeper into your own ossified worldview. But that seems increasingly unlikely.

  1. You have to realize that even Apple is not premium when it comes to price. If the average good Android handset is $500 and an Apple iPhone is $650. That isn’t much more in price, especially when you factor in excellent support the ecosystem. In fact it might be even cheaper of a solution. If truly premium in price than the iPhone would cost around $2000 starting. Understand the gap difference?

      1. Take the iPad as a prime example. Before the iPad, a slate tablet computer was over $2000. Remember when Steve Jobs showed $999 as the price tag, but quickly dropped it down to $499? Apple also did this with RAIDS. Before the Xserve RAID, storage on that performance and level costed $100,000. Apple’s solution brought it WAY WAY WAY down to starting at $6000. Apple did it again with the iPod, with 1000 songs. No one could come close on that price.

        Apple is disruptive because of price. They actually bring a lot of technologies closer to all users, regardless if they use an Apple product or not. Once Apple does it, many follow and the price is reflected because Apple made it so.

        OS X is FREE. The iApps are FREE and pretty have been for some time. Final Cut Pro made extremely affordable to make A level motion pictures at a FRACTION of the price.

        I can go on FOR days on how Apple has reduced the cost of technology that we ALL take for granite today. Without Apple, you’ll wouldn’t even have a personal computer, because the APPLE II was a breakthrough in price that allowed anyone to purchase one.

        1. iPad debuted starting at $499. You’re confusing it with iPhone which started at a higher price, but was quickly dropped in price by Steve Jobs.

        2. He didn’t mean that the iPad started _selling_ at $999. He meant that Steve Jobs deliberately suggested $999 as a potential starting price, but then said it would actually be $499. Pretty common sales technique, and shocked the crowd at the iPad unveiling.

  2. Every time I think “What could Apple possibly do better than all these other xxxxx makers…” they show me. I remember when I heard they were finally going to actually make a phone. I thought “Why would they want to get into that business, having to deal with the likes of AT&T and Verizon, etc. And what can they do that all these other phone makers haven’t done.”

    Never going to make that mistake again.

    If Apple is going to build a car, can’t wait to see. Don’t expect to be able to afford it, but I can’t wait to see it.

    1. They’ll be going after the mainstream. No point for Apple to do it if they can’t lead the pack / change the world. A simple safe enjoyable-to-drive car that you plug in, and that works seamlessly with all your other Apple gear.

  3. For sure a premium price, probably in the 70K range.

    But here’s a thought. Currently Apple make $60-70BB revenue in phones and macs etc per quarter. Apple would need to sell 10,000 cars @ 100K each to make a $1BB.
    That’s a lot of cars.

  4. Wrong question. In all the world, only Apple can make an iPhone. Because they design without the constraints of any existing manufacturer using materials and technologies at scale that only they can afford and in entirely new ways. The product may be priced at the high end of the mass market, but it brings overwhelming value. Remember, please, those old exercises aimed at building a PC that was the equivalent of what came in an iMac or a MacBook Pro. When all was said and done, the PC cost the same or more and even then, didn’t match up because the Apple product brought a unique combination of hardware and software.

    Apple’s car will be the same way. It might be costly, but it’ll be a super bargain for what you get.

  5. Neither. You can get an idea of just how different an Apple car will be in every way by looking at a Mac Pro next to a traditional PC in 2012. Totally different—unrecognizably different! Or by looking at an iPhone next to a state-of-the-art Blackberry in 2007. Or an iPod next to a Sony Walkman in 2001. Expect a different car—a very different car!

    1. You’re quite right. Anybody who imagines that an Apple Car will be comparable to BMW, GM or any other existing car is liklely to be taken by surprise.

      Apple doesn’t enter a new sector by offering something similar to what already exists, they always start from the ground up and ask what it’s supposed to do and how best can it do it? The result is usually radically different in looks, uses newer technology and is made from different materials to most.

      Remember when Apple started having unibody Macs milled from a solid ingot of aluminium? They had just about every suitable automatic milling machine in the world dedicated to machining those cases. Manufacturers who wanted to copy that concept found that there was no spare capacity available to them.

      A lot of commentators are asking who Apple will partner with to assemble the Apple Car? I am confident that Apple won’t be partnering with any existing car assembly specialists because they will be using manufacturing techniques that are new to the auto industry ( but which will be widely copied soon after ).

  6. Apple will do what they do with their other products. Make them really good and really unique, and admittedly, they will be a little more expensive, but not so expensive that they’ll be a luxury item. They want good quality, easy to use products that are in reach of everybody, not just the super rich.

  7. Apple hires ppl that Tesla has fired. Apple is the Tesla Graveyard. If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.

    Apple making a good electric car lol what a joke.

  8. It’ll be like Lotus. Quirky but great. And over-priced to a ridiculous degree. Or TVR. It would be nice to see a sub-$15K Apple car, available to anyone, but I strongly expect the price point to be in the 80-100K range. And a special gold edition for 2 mil….

  9. I’m thinking Lexus or Acura. Solid design, slight premium over Toyota or Honda equivalent pricing. Not stupidly our of reach and worth every penny. Apple will offer a mid-volume vehicle, more than Tesla but less than Leaf. Not a silly design, like iMiev or Chevy Bolt.

    I’d like to see a partnership with Tesla that would gain Apple BEV access to the Tesla SuperCharger network. And a distribution scheme like Teslas, no dealerships, just factory direct ordering. Hope springs eternal.

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