Jump to content

Apple is done with building an Apple car according to a report – and everything I've been telling you for the last nine years


TechRadar

Recommended Posts

rssImage-a5eead585fdfb375acedd01d742c52b6.jpeg

"Apple is not building a car. Not today, not tomorrow, not this year. Not ever. It’s not building a gas one or a diesel one. It’s not building an electric one or nuclear-powered one. It’s not."

I wrote this in 2015 and it's just as true today as it was then.

Did it spend potentially billions investigating the possibility, even launching Project Titan as a focal point of all its efforts? Yes, it did. Did it even acquire at least one car tech company, Drive.AI, in 2019? Yup. But I'm not sure that the company's heart, or at least Apple CEO Tim Cook's heart, was ever in it. Cook is too savvy a supply-chain and business-process guy to get mired in the difficult business of building a large, mostly mechanical device to house a hopped-up, big-screen iPhone.

According to typically accurate Apple secrets digger Mark Gurman, Apple is shifting the efforts of the Apple Car team to a more clear and present target: generative AI. 

Stalled

It's now accepted wisdom that Apple's WWDC 2024 will be the springboard for Apple's substantive new generative AI efforts. We expect to see an all-new Siri with generative AI powers in text, imagery, and more that rivals OpenAI's ChatGPT, DALL-E, and Google Gemini.

The beauty of focusing on Generative AI over an Apple Car is that Apple doesn't have to introduce any new hardware. Virtually all the magic will be on the software, machine learning, and algorithm side. Sure, eventually, we'll get a new iPhone 16 that will highlight these generative AI capabilities. But Apple is probably taking a breather from all new product category efforts while it tries to engage the populace in its new Vision Pro mixed reality headset.

Gurman's report notes the struggles of the Apple car project, but this might be a misreading of Project Titan. Sure, Apple spent a lot of money studying electric vehicles and autonomous driving, but was that all in service of a potential iCar or all so that Apple could build around what it saw as an important and growing market?

Reverse

The EV market has enjoyed astronomical year-on-year growth since 2020, and while there are hiccups (like the poorly maintained EV charging infrastructure) the commitment to the category by manufacturers and government interest in slowing climate change is undeniable. For Apple, that's a market opportunity. It could build more features in the iPhone to support these cars or further expand CarPlay capabilities. Apple could even build after-market integrations for EVs, or at least it could've if it kept Project Titan alive.

Worth noting here - and something I'm sure Cook and Apple are fully aware of - is that for the EV market, growth is a relative thing. Across the car market, EV's slice remains small; just 18% of all cars sold in 2023 were EVs. Excluding the new Vision Pro, Apple is in the business of selling products to millions, if not billions of people. Maybe EV was just too small a market.

There's also the possibility that Apple finally realized that it took too long to develop a viable semi-autonomous EV and that the market had passed it by. That argument doesn't hold up for me: Apple's MO is to let a market grow, even seem to flourish, before it swoops in and shows everyone how it's done (iPod, iPhone, iPad).

I think it's more likely Apple just kept discovering all the challenges unique to the automotive industry. Even a company like Tesla, which seems to have worked them out and refashioned the industry in its image, took years to achieve critical mass. Now it's facing strong competition. I used to believe the shortest distance between Apple not having a car business and having one would have been Apple buying Telsa, but then it got too expensive ... and its CEO and owner Elon Musk became too toxic.

Whatever the rationale, it seems safe to assume Apple's car project is done and the company's attention will be squarely focused on what it does best: improving our lives through home, mobile, and work hardware, software, and highly lucrative services.

I tried to tell you in 2015, 2017, and even as recently as 2022, Apple isn't building an Apple Car. You should not be surprised. Time to call a self-driving, all-electric Uber and move on.

You might also like

View the full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...