Many signs point to the fact that Apple has been working on a car and in the last year there has been a wealth of speculation about what this could mean.
Let’s look at all the recent rumours together to try to work out Apple’s plan and how it will disrupt the auto industry. In this year alone, several rumours have surfaced surrounding the Apple car (which has been codenamed Project Titan)
- Apple has filed permits to build an “auto work area” near Cupertino
- The have also leased a super-secret testing facility and met with the California DMV
- There has even been speculation that Apple has created not one, but two shell companies to disguise its car-building operations
- Apple will be making smart windshields
- They have hired a bunch of experts in electric batteries, A.I., and automotive.
Does all this help to paint a better picture as to what we can expect to come from Project Titan? Who knows? We may even get to see it sooner than 2019, which is the year the Apple Car is rumoured to hit the road.
Why the Apple Car will be unlike any other
If the rumours are true and Project Titan becomes a reality, Apple will be the first computer company to launch a car, which will be a major breakthrough.
Even if the car is not self-driving, it will be like no other car on the market solely based on the fact that it will be another part of Apple’s expanding ecosystem. The Apple Car will more than likely be linked to your iPhone, your iPad, your Mac and your Apple Watch.
Not only that, but it will also be connected to everything you store on those devices, like your messages, music, calendars and contacts. If they decided today to make your iPhone your car key they could do that very easily. No other company in the world could do that. We won’t see BMW launching a smartphone anytime soon or Samsung breaking into the car business.
Furthermore, I suspect their new car will combine Cupertino’s expertise in batteries, design, tactile interfaces, mapping, sensor technology, navigation and hardware-software integration.
Apple could also disrupt the car-buying experience. Try to imagine what an Apple Car dealership would look like? Young people are owning fewer cars. Some are opting out of getting a driver’s license altogether, but will you need a driver’s license to operate an autonomous car?
Apple’s advantage as an outsider
Although it’s not yet been confirmed whether the iCar will be electric or autonomous, one thing’s for sure: Apple has a big advantage entering the auto industry as an outsider.
The advantage of a new entrant comes into play when you think about meeting regulations, minimizing the risk for stakeholders, and satisfying your existing customers. You are beholden to them and that slows you down. That environment is not ripe for innovation.
This is the reason tech start-ups have been able to succeed as new entrants to big established industries. When you think of services like Airbnb and Uber, they ignore regulations right off the bat until they’re forced to comply. The car companies don’t have that luxury, for better or for worse.