Electric car Apple Car: myth or reality?

    Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview that the company is simultaneously conducting several new developments that are so far kept secret.

    It seems that now one of these developments has ceased to be secret: Apple specialists are working on their own electric vehicle project. This is reported by reputable publications: The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and Reuters. MacObserver reports that many Silicon Valley experts think the same.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, the project is developing a car design in the minivan form factor, and the project itself is called Titan. Many other sources agree that Apple is developing not just technology, but a full-fledged car that may someday appear on the roads.

    And on Monday, the network got videos and photos with a black minivan, which had cameras installed on the roof, and the numbers belonged to Apple. The conclusion immediately followed: Apple is creating not just an electric car, but a self-driving electric car! Another conclusion was more modest: Apple just works on iPhone Maps and creates an analogue of Google Street View. All this raised even more questions than answers.
    Maybe these are well-launched rumors? After all, it is known that Apple often confuses the public with its ambiguous actions.

    For example, the company has acted more than once in this scenario: it was reported that research was being carried out, but it still did not reach the appearance of the product. Of course, their financial capabilities make it possible to engage in non-binding research.
    Now, the facts that we managed to find out indicate more serious intentions. Firstly, the number of employees working on the project is approaching 1,000.

    There is evidence that Apple is recruiting employees from the Tesla car company.
    And this is a year after Apple almost bought this company. Apple and Tesla thennegotiated possible cooperation, but did not come to a decision on joint plans.

    Why did Apple abandon their intentions? Maybe they thought that they could not get the profit they were counting on with Tesla? Or was it an attempt to become more familiar with automotive technologies that Apple engineers were just starting to work on then? Maybe they originally conceived to create something of their own and were looking for new ideas and talented cadres?

    The latter is confirmed by the fact that Apple has employees who in the past worked in other automobile companies. So, last year, Mark Newson, an industrial designer who previously worked on a concept car for Ford, was hired by Apple.

    Johan Jungwirth, former president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz R&D in North America, was also invited to the company.
    The project manager was Steve Zadecki, who led the design teams for the iPod and iPhone. But, again, in the past he worked as an engineer at Ford Motors, and his experience is now of particular value.

    Among other things, recently there was a meeting between the leadership of Apple and car manufacturers in Austria, in particular, with representatives of Magna International. What they were talking about, while you can only guess.

    However, in addition to finding new employees for the implementation of the project, many other tasks arise that are associated not only with technological difficulties, but also with assessing the prospects for innovation in the automotive sector and financial risks.
    Apple has enough money to build its own car factory. Having $ 178 billion in the bank, it’s not difficult to allocate a couple of billion for this, especially since the production of the same microprocessors cost the company 5 times more. According to the well-known analyst of the mobile market Horace Didier, Apple’s quarterly expenses on hardware and other equipment reached $ 4 billion before the release of the last iPhone. Expenses for the next quarter increased by $ 3.2 billion, which is 60% more than last year. And such an increase in costs usually indicates plans for the release of a large product.


    If Apple continues to do so, then their car will not be affordable for most car owners. But, recalling the history of the company, it is easy to notice that their past products entered the market as the most expensive in their category, but thanks to their unique qualities and competent marketing, they gained popularity. And Moore's law contributed to a further reduction in prices.

    But is it really that simple?

    The automotive industry is facing difficult times. Ford, one of the most successful companies in the United States, received only $ 835 million in net profit over the past quarter. Compare this figure with Apple's record $ 18 billion in revenue. How is Apple going to make huge profits on its cars?


    Moreover, Moore’s law does not work for the automotive industry: car batteries do not double their capacity and do not halve the price every 18 months.

    It can be assumed that it will be possible to create a prototype of a self-driving electric vehicle. But will it pass testing on real roads? Lee Gomez, a former technical writer for the Wall Street Journal, believes that the idea of ​​a self-driving car is broken down by weather conditions and unforeseen situations on the roads, which, unfortunately, occur more often than we would like.

    There is a simpler explanation for the rumors around the Apple Car

    Johan Jungwirth and other specialists who were invited to Apple are working on the CarPlay project. During the implementation of this project, the problems of integrating iOS technologies into cars are just being solved. And the mysterious “black minivans” are indeed part of the Apple Maps project.

    Why can such rumors be beneficial to the company?

    Cars have always been attractive. For many years they managed to go from the usual means of transportation to the attribute of the status of wealthy people. Therefore, the very idea that the Apple Car will appear one day makes the company even more popular.


    In the meantime, everything follows its course: ideas are generated, innovations are introduced, projects enter the market, stay afloat or burn through, but open the way for others. So, it is not so important who will be the first to launch an autonomously controlled car, what profit he will receive. So far, Apple has not done so. Since it is not particularly predictable, we can only wait.

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