• Harrison Wilmot

Apple's leap in unfamiliar territory

Apple may leapfrog today’s auto tech with its new Apple Car. The Apple Car is designed from the start with self-driving in mind, embracing this new tech that may transform the auto industry, our transport habits, and Apple’s mission itself.

Apple’s massive cachet in the consumer market may position them for success even in a field as competitive as the auto-manufacturing industry. Few predicted that Elon Musk’s Tesla would survive at a time when other car companies struggled. However, the appeal of an electric car’s cutting-edge technology interested consumers; this could augur well for Apple’s prospects and their visions of making a fully autonomous vehicle.

Seth Silverstein, the father of one of this writer’s close friends, who is a former Apple employee and owns a Tesla, shared how flexible Apple can be with their Apple’s “enormous cash balance” which totals up to nearly $200 billion, and their freedom to “pick off top talent, even in a new field.” Their ability to invest heavily — in what initially was rumored to be a partnership with Kia, but was scratched — will no doubt help them cement their business in the industry.

Development of the Apple Car (still at the time partnered with Hyundai/Kia)

When Tesla started, they immediately took the top spot through their electric, close-to-self-driving car. Apple is a company that fights for the top spot. Robert Franklin, a former worker at Cisco who worked on an Apple project, disclosed during an interview that Apple is “very secretive” and likes to keep its projects hidden from the public. He said that the project that he was working on was so secretive that they had to call it Project Peach. So where does this stand with Apple?

In 2014, 1,000 Apple employees started a task that breached Apple’s secrecy boundaries: Project Titan. Over the course of two years, Apple suffered with leadership issues and some internal conflict, resulting in nearly canceling the whole process. Finally, John Giannandrea took over the project in 2020 and immediately took advantage of Apple’s massive cash balance and offered to invest in Kia. While the offers were dismissed, Apple hopes to partner with a car company to manufacture their cars. Their freedom to “pick top talents,” as Silverstein put it, will help them speed up the operation.

In the coming years, whoever can first produce a completely autopiloted car will change the auto industry and the way we think about driving and intrigue all auto-industry buyers. Apple has been formulating big plans since 2014 to take over the industry dominated by Tesla.

Project Titan, iCar, or whatever name they choose to display is presumed to come out in 2024. However, analysts like Ming-Chi Kuo said that it may take until 2026 for the vehicle to be on the road. Franklin, an “Apple fanboy,” says that with the addition of the car, he is definitely considering purchasing it; he says Apple’s products “all just seamlessly work together and make life simpler.”

Apple is known for having very pricey tags on their products. No information is known on how much the Apple Car will be. People anticipate a high-class car, electric and self-driving, and with these luxuries, it will be an expensive purchase. Silverstein states, “If Apple can lower their costs over time [and offer] a model similar to the Model 3, [with] a [reasonable] price, I would absolutely consider buying it.” This highly-anticipated vehicle will surely excite “Apple fanboys” and perhaps create a dent in the industry.

So to recap:

  1. Apple is expected to produce their own car

  2. With a high cash balance (allowing them to invest heavily in partnerships with car manufacturers like Kia) and the freedom to hire top talent, Apple will take the auto industry by storm

  3. Fully-autonomous vehicle: surpassing Tesla’s technology and implementing an electric car that can drive completely by itself

  4. They are very secretive; no name or price tag is public yet, and the car is presumed to come out in 2024 or even push to 2025-2026 (though nothing is final)

From an idea to a reality. The Apple Car is in its final stages of development and after years of being secret, is finally announced to the public in hopes of taking down Tesla’s reign in the auto world. This is an invention that could change our whole concept of transportation.

A concept model of the Apple Car


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