Apple plans to enter the automotive industry. According to Bloomberg, Apple aims to start selling cars in 2020. The company is said to have hundreds of people working to develop a car, many of whom have deep automotive engineering expertise. The company also has reportedly made aggressive hiring offers to employees at Tesla Motors.
Apple is being sued by A123 Systems LLC, a battery technology company based in Waltham, Mass., because it hired five of the company's employees. Batteries are a critical component in electric cars, and are becoming more important for general energy storage.
It would be easy to make fun of Apple for its ambition. The Onion has already done so. One only need recall Apple's iOS Maps fiasco in 2012 or Steve Jobs's 2010 advice to an iPhone 4 owner who complained about the device's reception when held ("Just avoid holding it in that way.") to realize that the Apple Car has comedic potential.
But it would be more interesting to imagine an Apple Car that could really change the industry. With something like $178 billion in cash, Apple could afford to buy the entire US auto industry if it wanted -- Chrysler, Ford, GM, and Tesla. It could certainly afford to make a credible splash in the auto industry.
Whether it will or not isn't certain. But considering how cars have become mobile technology platforms, not to mention potential electric vehicle subsidies, the economic and political advantages of deepening Apple's commitment to US-based manufacturing, or the need to find growth opportunities for an already huge company, it has plenty of reasons to get serious about auto manufacturing.
So here's a glimpse of the future. Having seen enough Apple press releases in our lifetime, we present to you the (unofficial) announcement we imagine will be created someday for Apple Car.
CUPERTINO, Calif.—September 8, 2020—Apple® today unveiled Apple Car™—its most ambitious project ever—featuring revolutionary new technologies and a reimagined interior that honors the rich tradition of automotive engineering. Apple Car introduces the meticulously designed and engineered PowerDrive Engine™ to provide unprecedented range and recharging speed.
Assembled at Apple's Mesa, Ariz., production facility, the PowerDrive Engine is Apple's most revolutionary technology since the Apple Watch™. PowerDrive is a fully sealed, modular electric engine and 100 kWh battery array. Rated at 700 horsepower, it is designed to operate with minimal maintenance, and comes with a 10-year, infinite mileage parts-and-labor warranty. The expected range of Apple Car exceeds 350 miles on a full charge.
Apple Car transforms the nature of transportation and mobile communication through Siri voice recognition, Apple Aware gesture controls, Apple Mesh Network routing, and real-time vehicle-to-vehicle telemetry. Apple Car also introduces Apple Mobile Services, a set of communication, safety, maintenance, and entertainment offerings designed to enhance the driving experience. Apple Car is available in three distinct models—Apple Car, Apple Car Sport, and Apple Car Executive.
"Apple introduced the world to several category-defining products, the Mac, iPod, iPhone iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple Home," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "And once again, Apple is poised to captivate the world with a revolutionary product that can enrich people's lives and keep them safe. It's the most ambitious product we've ever made."
Engineered for unmatched beauty, efficiency, integrity, and environmental impact, Apple Car has been built with the most advanced materials science in the industry. The Apple Car and Apple Car Sport have been sculpted from graphene-reinforced aluminum of unsurpassed strength and durability. The Apple Car Executive adds a layer of synthetic polymer that allows the vehicle to self-heal from minor dents and abrasions.
"With Apple Car, we've developed multiple technologies and an entirely new control system specifically for a device that's designed to be driven. It blurs the boundary between art and engineering," said Jony Ive, Apple's senior vice president of Design. "It will transform transportation."
Apple Car features a dynamic collision avoidance system, Apple Vision™, developed at the Apple's Vicarious Systems research center. The technology allows Apple Car to anticipate potential collisions with moving and stationary objects and to notify the driver or intervene in case of emergency. Apple Car includes driver and passenger Apple Proactive Air Bags™, designed to inflate when a collision is imminent, instead of after an impact.
Apple LifeLine™ is one of the Apple Mobile Services that will be available next month. It provides continuous monitoring of vehicle status and of driver and passenger vital signs, in order to send emergency notifications and to initiate urgent response procedures during an adverse event. For example, in the event of sudden driver incapacitation, an Apple Car with LifeLine would contact Apple Care Central on behalf of the driver and either initiate an automated braking maneuver or turn control of the vehicle over to a remote Apple specialist.
"At Apple, the well-being of our customers is our primary concern," said Steve Zadesky, Apple's vice president of Automotive Design. "We've made Apple Car more aware than any other car on the road. We think our customers are going to love it."
Apple Car features dual Apple-designed A12X processors to manage PowerDrive Engine and passenger systems. It comes with Touch ID door locks and ignition, 1TB of owner-accessible storage, 1TB of protected analytics storage, Beats CarSound, iPad Car® display, a FaceTime® dashboard camera, and an iSight® 360 camera for capturing a complete view of the car's surroundings.
In October, Apple will release an update to AOS 3 SDK beta that includes DriveKit, software that gives developers a set of tools to create experiences for the Apple Car easily, without compromising the security of critical vehicle systems.
Apple Car will be available in three editions: Apple Car, featuring a polished burgundy or space black graphene-aluminum body; Apple Car Sport, with a space gray or silver graphene-aluminum body; and Apple Car Executive, with 18-karat white or yellow gold trim and a regenerative graphene-aluminium composite body. Three tire options are available: Apple RoadSense standard, Apple RoadSense self-healing, and Apple RoadSense all-terrain. All Apple Car models come with one year of Apple Internet Access. Apple Car is compatible with Apple devices running AOS 3 and Apple Home installations completed in 2018 or later. Apple Car will be available next month in the US from Apple Store Showrooms, starting at $39,999.
Attend Interop Las Vegas, the leading independent technology conference and expo series designed to inspire, inform, and connect the world's IT community. In 2015, look for all new programs, networking opportunities, and classes that will help you set your organization’s IT action plan. It happens April 27 to May 1. Register with Discount Code MPOIWK for $200 off Total Access & Conference Passes.Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio