The Apple Car: Rumor or Reality?
By Marc AlessiPublished March 11, 2015By Marc Alessi, 3/11/15
Apple brought us into the future and it doesn't look to stop there. Last month, the media was flooded with reports that the company has (finally) started working on a new, game-changing product: the Apple Car. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news, stating that hundreds of Apple employees were working on an Apple-branded electric vehicle. Apple? Really? The news came as a shock to the technological world, mainly because the company usually sticks with its baseline products. After all, Apple has had plenty of success with the iPhone, iPad, and Macintosh. This was demonstrated in January when the company posted the largest quarterly profit in history, thanks in large part to the newly released iPhone 6. So the question remains, why would Apple want to start working on a new product, when it is already so prosperous?
First, let's take a look at the evidence surrounding the controversy. One person close to Apple said that Steve Zadesky, a leading designer of the company, is leading a new automotive research lab, supposedly set up late last year. Zadesky is also making frequent trips to Austria, where he could be working with high-end contract manufacturers such as Magna Steyr. Apple already has close relations with many German automakers, some, such as Volkswagen, agreeing to support Apple's new dashboard system, CarPlay.
According to Wired, forty-six former Tesla employees agreed to switch over to Apple in exchange for a guaranteed 60% raise. Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, did not seem worried in reaction to the news. At the Detroit Auto Show, Musk said "If we can make it [automobile industry] go electric sooner, then that will be much better for the world… The potential harm to the climate is really much, much greater than it was before. The potential harm to the environment is much much less." If Apple did release an electric car, Tesla would most likely still be able to stay in the game as it is already ten years ahead of the game. Apple is also hiring more and more battery engineers. Furthermore, in January of 2014, Apple board member Mickey Drexel said, "Steve Jobs, if he had lived, was gonna design an iCar … I think what cars need is someone with a vision on design." The Apple car has many indications of becoming a reality, and as a leading innovator company, it has the potential to successfully revolutionize the world of technology.
If the Apple Car does become a reality, what would it look like? Like many of Apple's products today, it would be easy to use, convenient for consumers, and maybe a little pricey. The Apple Car could be electric or even autonomous, competing with Google's proposed self-driving vehicle.
The Apple Car would be an interesting future for the company. However, not even a few hundred workers is enough to launch a brand new car company. In comparison, Tesla has over 10,000 workers. Matching the strength and advancement of today's automobile industry would be nearly impossible, even with Apple's billions of dollars. Then again, Apple can pretty much do whatever it wants. I guess we'll just have to wait and see the latest developments in the Apple Car.