Apple + Ford Does Not = iCar
The Apple Car. In the world of technology analysis and coverage, Apple is often the subject of some wild and outlandish rumors. Why? Because they are very successful in creating new and innovative products that disrupt industries. Even though they make plenty of money, Wall Street wants to see growth.
Growth drives the stock price, and that drives the overall perception of the company’s health and well-being. Who cares if you have more cash on hand than any other company in the history of the Earth if you can’t sell more iPhones this quarter than last quarter?
As a result, when Apple sends a few minivans out (presumably for Google Street View-like support for Apple Maps) or hires a few employees from the automotive sector, the Internet explodes in a collective orgasm of iCar rumors. Let’s face it, you don’t want to be the person who didn’t predict the iCar if it does happen.
Let’s start squashing these rumors as ridiculous nonsense.
Apple Will Purchase Tesla
If Apple were to make a car, purchasing a car company would be the easiest way. The problem with that is, Elon Musk doesn’t strike me as a guy who would sell. Heck, Apple has enough cash on hand that they could purchase every share of Ford stock and take control of the company in a hostile takeover. Plus, they could buy every American a Chipotle burrito afterwards and still have money left over!
If Apple does any deal with Tesla, it’d be an in-car infotainment partnership or a deal related to the new Gigafactory. Apple doesn’t have a business interest in cars, but they do have an interest in batteries.
Apple Will Build Their Own Car
This rumor is even more silly than Apple buying a car company. Why? Liability. It’s extremely difficult to start a car company in the United States. Safety and governmental regulations make it difficult. That’s why we don’t have as many small car makers like the British do.
For an Apple Car to be truly successful, it would have to be fully-autonomous. That’s what people would expect from an Apple Car. Yet, we still don’t have the legal issues figured out with autonomous vehicles and who is responsible in accidents. The infrastructure just isn’t there yet, and it’s doubtful it would arrive by the 2020 Apple Car deadline.
Yes, it appears they are hiring some former automotive employees, according to 9to5Mac. Don’t forget though, Apple makes automotive products by way of the Car Play technology. They presumably want to better integrate that into new vehicles, bringing even more people into the ecosystem.
Also, I come back to the batteries argument. Apple is always looking for ways to improve battery life for customers while providing more innovative solutions. Hiring people with battery engineering backgrounds only makes sense. If you’ve worked on hybrid vehicles before, the concept is similar.
Also, look at the timing of this leak. We are nearing the final release of the first version of the Apple Watch, and it is believed that Apple had issues acquiring the sensors needed to make all of their promises of a connected watch to come true. If everyone is talking about the Apple Car, they aren’t focusing on the potential issues with this upcoming product.
Is Apple working on a car? Sure, they could be. But I would be surprised to see them working on an entirely electric, autonomous vehicle. But I can definitely see them working with manufacturers on an automotive platform to further enhance their brand. That seems like the most logical move.
[A totally unrelated Apple Car ‘Leaked Ad’ video above was posted recently to YouTube. -Ed.]
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