Is iCar coming in 2020?
“[We’ll] give Tesla a run for its money.” Those sound like fighting words. No official statement has come from the tech giant, but that quote from an anonymous Apple employee has helped fuel speculation over the last few weeks as to whether or not Apple is in the process of developing an electric car.
Venturing into the automotive industry might sound like a stretch for a consumer electronics company, (Can you imagine GM, Ford or Toyota trying to produce a phone?) But then again, Apple’s no ordinary company. First it was music, then cell phones and recently smart watches, time and time again Apple has shown that they know how to enter a new industry and dominate.
For now, Apple’s neither confirming or denying their automotive ambitions, but it’s still fun to speculate!
Why it makes sense
If Apple is not developing their own car they really should be. Here are some of the pieces that have put them into a perfect position to make a car.
Money – As the most valuable company in the world money is not much of an obstacle for Apple. To put it in perspective, the two existing players in the electric car market, Fisker and Tesla, both spent roughly $1.5 billion developing their main line of cars, and Apple currently has $178 billion in cash reserves.
Trademarks – On March 2nd Apple expanded its trademarks to cover automotives. They actually had similar trademarks going back to the early 2000s but were mostly to protect vehicle accessories and electronic packages such as CarPlay. Nonetheless, that type of trademark adjustment is exactly what a car planning on making cars would do.
Stealing Samsung Battery Specialists – Apple’s been hiring away battery experts from rival firm Samsung. They are supposedly needed to work on the iPhone, but Apple’s ulterior motive with these hires could be to make a better electric car battery.
Poaching Tesla Engineers- Supposedly a bunch of engineers from Tesla have been brought on board Apple to work on a new project.
What would Apple’s car look like?
Here are some features the hypothetical vehicle would probably have.
Electric – Apple’s only expected to enter the fully electric car market. It makes perfect sense with their expertise in electronics and battery design.
i-Ecosystem Integration- As with any Apple product, you can expect the iCar (Apple Car?) to be fully integrated with their other products. Having the ability to start the car with an iPhone is a basic example, but the possibilities are endless. Apple knows how to do an ecosystem well, and we can definitely expect some innovative ideas in this department.
Customization – Some of the more exciting rumors show how Apple could really differentiate themselves from the competition. One of these ideas is multiple user support. Supposedly Apple’s car will be designed based on the idea that more than one person will be using it, so it will include the ability to have custom presets connected to your phone. With that type of set up, The car would automatically adjust seat position, temperature and even music selection.
Self Driving? – Google has been working on self driving cars for years, and has gotten pretty close to working out all the kinks. But “self-driving” is more of a cultural issue than it is a technological one. How long will it take for people to give up control and accept a car that drives itself? Along those lines, will Apple be the company to push that idea forward? At the very minimum an Apple car would likely have basic park assist and other computer aiding features, but self-driving a fully self-driving car still seems ahead of its time.
When would the Apple car hit the market?
Industry experts say it takes 5-7 years to develop a new vehicle from scratch, so the 2020 date that’s been thrown around makes perfect sense. Again though, this is all just speculation, and Apple has not said anything about making a car. However If you’re an Apple fan you might just want to start saving up for a down payment.