‘Apple Car’ could disrupt the auto industry as much as the iPhone upended tech

Apple is a disruptor. The company completely reinvented personal computers, smartphones, the music business, and more. If the company’s past achievements are any indicator, an Apple car would tremendously disruptive for the auto industry.

vehicle under wraps

Al Root for Barron’s:

The reason Apple will likely enter the car business is simple, according to J.P. Morgan’s Apple analyst, Samik Chatterjee: It’s a huge market. New cars top more $2 trillion in sales around the globe annually. Apple, he says, will likely stick to higher-end vehicles, so the iCar’s addressable market would be equal to roughly one-third of the total vehicle market.

An Apple partnership would undoubtedly be a boon for whomever the tech giant selects. In the broker’s Monday report, J.P. Morgan’s Korea auto analyst SM Kim highlighted Hyundai Motor as a potential iCar partner… Investors should also remember that the auto supply chain is a lengthy one, and Apple represents another large customer that will need to buy parts. That could benefit both Korean and global auto suppliers, according to J.P. Morgan.

In the end, J.P. Morgan suggests that Apple will be as disruptive in the car business as it was in the phone business years ago. Chatterjee says Apple will target operating profit margins of about 15% on car sales and higher than that on ancillary software and services.

MacDailyNews Note: J.P. Morgan believes it will be awhile before Apple Car disrupts the auto industry as Apple won’t offer cars until full self-driving technology is mature, which could take another five to 10 years.


  1. Apple has been teasing about cars for years. Teaming with Hyundai would seem like a smart move. That might mean they are going for a ‘middle class’ market rather than starting upscale like most everyone else, kudos. If they have an innovative battery or motor, that would be very good.

      1. I agree teaming with long in the tooth and well established brands of that nature would be a hellish job to get the required result they will inevitably claim to know best. Rovers work with Honda despite the initial logic of it produced camels at best. you need an up and coming brand with flexibility and want to find an opportunity to upset the market place on quantity and quality and see electrification and other technologies as an opportunity. But we shall see.

    1. Let’s not forget the Hyundai subsidiary; Genesis.

      It’s hard to name one Apple product that’s “middle-class” focused, either related to price and, or design/components. To think Apple wouldn’t create high end with an already high-priced item is a bit of a stretch.
      I think it’s likely it will be definitively high-end…maybe higher than usual.

  2. Apple is a disruptor. It disrupted the Constitution. It disrupted American free speech. Apple used to be an American innovator. Now, it is a sad puppet of the Chinese Communist Party. Great job, Timmy Cook.

    1. Right, a disrupter—Apple and Cook pushed back when a would-be dictator used force to try and blackmail the Congress of the United States into supporting his effort to overturn the Constitution. It has adopted a policy that those who aid in sedition should pay a price. It frankly doesn’t care if a bunch of sad members of a pro-totalitarian clique are offended by its patriotism.

      1. Trump did no such thing. You are an idiot. Nobody cared when Dems were burning down cities.

        Txuser, it is incomprehensible how someone with your high level of stupidity passed the bar exam. You are a stain on your former profession.

        1. “Txuser, it is incomprehensible how someone with your high level of stupidity passed the bar exam. You are a stain on your former profession.”

          TxUseless never passed the bar. He’s a giant phony and a mentally ill projectionist! No real lawyer would think that Schenck v. United States was actually a case to be used to bolster your argument.

      2. We be dictator? Please. America suddenly stopped killing people with drones and started trying to reverse the Obama foreign policy and bring troops home under Trump you delusional twirp.

  3. My 1st thought was a question…

    Do I want to be a part of any future Apple “disruptions?” Maybe Apple will feel the need, privilege and right to continue with non-product disruptions?

    I’ve never had a thought in anyway related.

  4. I truly can’t imagine Apple building a car. I believe Job’s once said all of Apple’s products could or should fit on a table. That was true then and it is now.

    So that being said, what if apple was to make available the software any vehicle manufacturer would need to build a car without having to write their own software? Just a box that could be plugged into every manufacturers computer plug to run everything. Then each manufacturer would be still responsible for design and build.

    Doesn’t that make more sense then trying to pick a manufacturer of parts and assembly? Dealing with customers complaints on vehicles suck. I know first hand they are rarely satisfied.

    1. Steve Jobs said a lot of things that were true. Until, one day, suddenly, they weren’t.

      Apple is about controlling the whole widget. “Widget,” in this case, being vehicle.

      But if you’re thinking about just a vehicle, you’re thinking too small. You can bet Apple is thinking well beyond merely building a vehicle. Apple is mapping out a whole ecosystem involving manufacturing, delivery, parts, networking, customer relationships, charging/refueling, maps, music, traffic, AI, video, lidar, upgrades. Perhaps peer-to-peer vehicle communication. Perhaps something like an air traffic control system for cars. Apple will not only have a service network but an app development community. The Apple Car ecosystem will roll out slowly and build gradually until one day, you’ll look around and suddenly it will look like almost everyone has one.

        1. And it will have AI voice control; In realtime it will listen for voice commands. And if by chance you say something inappropriate the doors will lock and the iCar will take you to the local iConcentaion Camp 🙂

          Im joking

        2. And… the car will take you down to the Division of Approved Action and Thought, if you happen to “misstep” in anyway. The car will be programmed with the correct route…don’t worry.

  5. Ten years would be too late I would think, five years probably getting towards the maximum window otherwise they will be struggling to make an impact amongst the numerous vehicular equivalents of Spotify or Netflix. And by then the established producers will already be into electric technology as their main products. Meanwhile this innovative battery technology they talk of might be old hat by then or like Mini-LED already used by others. If they are seriously talking about true or full Self driving tech as MDN mentions then I am not convinced that ten years will be enough, that last ten percent will take for ever I suspect, at least in the way we universally use cars now anyway, but time will tell as one presumes the definition of ‘full’ I guess I suspect it might in this case mean less than no driver input at all which is what my definition would be. The development of Siri for example hardly encourages faith in that timescale.

  6. I didn’t want an Apple Watch, my wife gave me one for Christmas. I was not thrilled but am trying to wear it. Seems cheap and easily scratched. I like a traditional strong timepiece. I would never go out and buy an Apple Watch. I think the car will be the same, some neat tech but cheap. I won’t buy an Apple Car either.

  7. Forgive me for posting an actual relevant comment, but I think the author of the Barron’s piece is delusional. Apple generally disrupts businesses that are crappy: think PCs and cell phones. But cars have evolved nicely over the past 100 years or so.

    Other than the car-buying experience (which IS ripe for disruption), cars themselves are already pretty reliable, safe, easy to use and fun to drive. And let’s be honest, between Tesla, Porsche, BMW and Mercedes (among others), the premium marketplace is already pretty crowded.

    Other than offering some magical self-driving technology — and Apple is clearly YEARS behind Tesla and others in this area — I can’t see them disrupting the auto industry. (Heck, they couldn’t even disrupt the cable TV industry, and that’s a frigging mess.)

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