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Apple developing their own car?

roblab

Active Member
Jul 15, 2008
3,556
2,626
Angwin (Napa Valley) CA
According to the Financial Times Apple is secretly developing their own car. Chief designe Jony Ive has had interviews with several key figures in the automotive industry. One of them being Johann Jungwirth from Daimler Benz who has been working for Apple since September last year. https://www.linkedin.com/pub/johann-jungwirth/4/a87/b75

Why secretly? What are they afraid of?

Apple should be a leader in the electric car revolution. ONE of the leaders. It's amazing that it took a total outsider to develop a brand new company from scratch, bring it to fruition in such a short time, and absolutely hit it out of the existing park. This after over 100 years of research and development by companies that could have done it years and years ago -- oh, and they did, were afraid for their outdated business model, and crushed their new electric cars. Every one of them! Mass stupidity, fear, and profit mongering. The American Way.

Apple could have broken that mold a long time ago. If they want to join the party, the Tesla patents are free, and maybe they can pick up a few pointers. What do you think?
 

palmer_md

Member
Sep 26, 2012
801
248
Hermosa Beach, CA
It seems like they may be reading too much into this. For all I know, they may be building a car, but I suspect is is probably related to CarPlay. Apple - CarPlay I'm certain that Apple wants to develop a user interface that can be used by all car manufacturers to improve the lousy interface that the auto industry has thus far provided. If you look at the details of the folks they have hired, they all seem to be user interface specialists, including Johann in the above post.
 

rolosrevenge

Dr. EVS
Feb 7, 2009
1,864
120
I contacted some inside sources at Apple and got their current design sketch.

lowlyworm.jpg
 

igotzzoom

Active Member
May 26, 2013
1,217
585
Mission Viejo, CA
I've read several news reports that Musk has been seen on Apple's campus lately. Maybe this is actually a collaborative project, and maybe a creative workaround to the direct dealer ban.
 

anticitizen13.7

Not posting at TMC after 9/17/2018
Dec 22, 2012
3,638
5,761
United States
Mac Rumors has 2 articles on this today. People there are grumbling that the profit margin on cars is too low for Apple:

http://www.macrumors.com/2015/02/13/apple-working-on-electric-car/

http://www.macrumors.com/2015/02/13/apple-automotive-research-lab/

Apple's gross margins are about 40%. Given Apple's huge pile of cash and massive quarterly profits, I think they could easily finance their own automotive division. The question is whether they want to risk straying into an industry with massive Capex and regulatory hurdles.

I remember Elon saying that going into the car business was actually much more of a pain than launching rockets because of all the regulatory roadblocks.
 
Last edited:

MikeC

Supporting Member
Jul 9, 2012
2,882
5,411
Los Angeles
WSJ? I smell FUD. Very negative in their comments when mentioning Tesla. This is cleverly done because they are insinuating future competition from a tech company, because there's nothing threatening from the legacy automakers yet.

My guess is they want to supply an iPad like interface for all cars. This is the natural evolution of CarPlay and would give Tesla "a run for it's money", in that one small aspect of the car.
 

anticitizen13.7

Not posting at TMC after 9/17/2018
Dec 22, 2012
3,638
5,761
United States
WSJ? I smell FUD. Very negative in their comments when mentioning Tesla. This is cleverly done because they are insinuating future competition from a tech company, because there's nothing threatening from the legacy automakers yet.

My guess is they want to supply an iPad like interface for all cars. This is the natural evolution of CarPlay and would give Tesla "a run for it's money", in that one small aspect of the car.

Rumor site Mac Observer says its own sources say a car is under development:

http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/apple-is-working-on-a-car

I should add that when I asked one of my sources flat out to put a percentage chance on Apple working on an actual car—rather than some kind of car-related technology—I was told, "80 percent."
When coupled with everything I've learned since, I'm personally closer to 100 percent.

I am actually wondering what effect Apple's entry into the EV market would have on Tesla's competitors, rather than Tesla itself.

Consider this: GM wants to get its Bolt out ASAP, and Nissan is also in the race to get its next-generation LEAF developed. There are only a certain number of people with the skills necessary for an automotive product. If Apple moves in, that is likely going to take talent away from GM, Nissan, VAG, and others.

Given the relatively few defections from Tesla to Apple (Mac Observer notes that Tesla has far away more ex-Apple employees than Apple has ex-Tesla employees), I am not so concerned about employees leaving for Apple. The excitement is all at Tesla right now (Gigafactory, Model X, Model 3), and I think TSLA stock options have much more room to run than AAPL options.

But how many people would rather work on Apple Car than Chevy Bolt?
 

MikeC

Supporting Member
Jul 9, 2012
2,882
5,411
Los Angeles
Rumor site Mac Observer says its own sources say a car is under development:

http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/apple-is-working-on-a-car

Source #1 from that article: "But what I learned is that Apple has been looking for—and acquiring—the kind of people from Tesla with expertise that is most suited to cars. So much so that I went from being a doubter to a believer almost instantly."

Source #2: "From another source who travels in more rarified circles than yours truly, I also learned that a lot of people at the top in Silicon Valley consider it a given that Apple is working on a car. This is circumstantial, at best, but if you're going to crowd-source wisdom, you could do a lot worse than polling the C-suite."

The fact that the expertise of former Tesla employees was "most suited to cars" and an anonymous 3rd hand opinion are not very convincing to me.
 

anticitizen13.7

Not posting at TMC after 9/17/2018
Dec 22, 2012
3,638
5,761
United States
The fact that the expertise of former Tesla employees was "most suited to cars" and an anonymous 3rd hand opinion are not very convincing to me.

True, these are just vague rumors. The whole idea of Apple becoming a carmaker seems absurd. However, I'm keeping an open mind on this one because weird stuff sometimes happens.
 

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