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Opinion: Putting Apple’s electric car project into perspective


At this point the fact that Apple is working on an electric vehicle is all but confirmed. Recent reports show that Apple is searching for a private road-testing site, hired hundreds of workers with automotive industry experience and the company allegedly discussed licensing some technology from BMW. Officials within Apple have yet to confirm the ambitious new product, but CEO Tim Cook acknowledged that the automobile industry is ripe for disruption and it is difficult to imagine them backing out at this point.

The electric car is reportedly codenamed ‘Project Titan’ and it is indeed a project of titanic proportions. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently made some comments warning the Cupertino company of the complexity of manufacturing cars. Those comments were surprisingly met by mockery from a lot of Apple fans. I think Apple can and will make an electric vehicle, but I’d like to put the project into perspective.

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  1. shareef777 - 7 years ago

    They’re not coming out with a car for at least another 5 years (if at all). This is not a routine upgrade people buy every year or couple years. Most people across the globe only buy vehicles once every 5-10 years. And with vehicles lasting longer and longer these days, Apple will be hard pressed to find people willing to sell their car just to get their offering. I’m a huge Apple fan, and would buy one if it’s available today (paying a premium in all likelihood), but am in the market for a car in the next year or two. Once I buy a new car (eyeing the Honda Accords at the moment), I’m going to stick with it for years. You won’t find many people that will trade-in/sell their massively depreciated vehicle just to get another i product. I’d hope that Apple would release some information a couple years before they release the car to allow the people that are in the market for a car an option to hold out for their offering.

    Tesla’s Model 3 is a prime example. The car won’t come out till 2017 and they won’t release any information till 2016. Why not give SOME details now for those that can hold out a couple years.

  2. Luis Alejandro Masanti - 7 years ago

    You forgot to take on account last comment from Ferrari’s CEO!
    If we follow last inroads in the ‘fashion world’ by Apple… a.k.a. Apple Watch, Apple developed a series of watches: sport/watch/edition.
    You must begin to speculate that the iCar will have a similar series, maybe: Mino [a.k.a. Smart] / iCar [a.k.a. BMW] / Edition [a.k.a. Ferrari]

    And, of course, there will be ‘Made for iCar’s straps!

  3. triankar - 7 years ago

    Something tells me Apple will be focusing more on urban commuters kind of thing, along the lines of the Hiriko, the Renault Twizy or the Toyota i-Road. A market which is neither mature nor saturated and it really IS the future.

    If they try and build a “proper” car to begin with, they’ll have a much tougher time selling it, entering a market that’s both mature (if not stale) and saturated. It will be a much easier sell to convince us to get a second small-and-agile electric car for our city commutes, leaving our “big” cars at home (assuming they price it REASONABLY this time!). I also expect that they won’t be competing with motorcycles / scooters, directly at least. They’ll be aiming for the market that on one hand envies the convenience of 2-wheelers and their low running costs, but wants something “better” (“safer” / comfier / easier). That’s my guess.

    Anyway, give it 4-5 years and we’ll know.

    • triankar - 7 years ago

      Needless to say that in a vehicle like this, they can and will fashion-ize the hell out of it and charge $$$$ for every extra bling you put on it.

  4. presslee - 7 years ago

    Words become pages, pages become books, books become libraries, libraries become internet, internet becomes app on an iphone, iphone becomes dashboard on a car. Who would have guessed?

  5. gkbrown - 7 years ago

    Apple is not making a car. And all the engineers working on Project Titan are having a good laugh at people like who, who think they are.

    • gkbrown - 7 years ago

      OK, so that was a bit snarky – sorry. But I’m having a good laugh at the idea, anyways. :-) I’m sure Apple is working on something car-related. I just don’t think they’re working on an actual car.

      • triankar - 7 years ago

        Don’t be surprised if they come out with something like a Toyota i-Road or thereabouts. Something smaller/simpler than that (or a Smart) and bigger than a Segway and focused on urban mobility, but not a “proper” car. There’s simply too much fuss going on for them to be building just a module, and you can’t exactly start building vehicle components without agreements with auto companies to begin with, hoping that they’ll adopt it when they see it (CarPlay got through because it’s much smaller a project and in an area where manufacturers expect aftermarket components anyway).


Avatar for Fred Lambert Fred Lambert

Fred is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at Electrek. He sometimes contributes to 9to5mac and 9to5Google.