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Update (Sept. 3, 2016 ):
Some would argue it was just a matter of time…
As the race towards electric, innovative, intelligent, and exciting automobile technology speeds forward at a mind-bending and surreal pace, it seems only fitting that the technology company that has reshaped the world as we know it is ready to get in on the action.
Apple, the company that changed the way that people connect to and experience the world around them is rumored to be throwing their hat into the automotive industry ring in the immediate future. As soon as 2019 according to The WallStreet Journal.
As Apple has been known to say: “This changes everything.”
What is in a rumor?
Apple enthusiasts and technology experts alike are no strangers to the ebb and flow of the Apple Rumor Mill. For as long as Apple has been creating and innovating technology, the company has remained subject to the wide and sometimes insane rumors that seem to accompany nearly every major announcement. (Remember when Apple was going to buy Nintendo? Or the time that Apple was going to have a flipout keyboard on the iPhone?) The majority of these rumors are vastly overrated, if not entirely fabricated.
There are, however, rumors that are founded more in reality. Rumors with physical evidence or very specific insider info. While Apple rumors are certainly not to be trusted until the official word is handed down from Apple itself, some are more credible than others.
Such is the case with the iCar.
Giving Tesla a “Run for its Money”
The rumors of an Apple car have been in existence for some time now, and until February of 2016 were widely considered to be nothing more than fodder for the technology blogs. However, in February of 2016, an Apple insider reported that the company was working on an “exciting” new offering that would give Tesla a “run for its money”. This was further substantiated when the Apple insider revealed that over four dozen Tesla employees had abandoned the company to join Apple on this exciting new product. To further the evidence of a possible push towards exploits of an automotive nature, Apple also recently hired the Swiss researcher responsible for the engineering of self-parking cars and a 25 year automotive industry veteran who has worked for Fiat, Toyota, Nissan, and Chrysler. In addition to patents related to car design and engineering, it seems all but certain that this rumor has teeth.
Industry Acknowledges, Aligns, Encourages, and Dismisses
It would appear that the automotive industry has all but confirmed this Apple iCar rumor to be valid. The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, acknowledged the rumor in a recent interview with the BBC, stating that the Apple car was considered an “open rumor”. Other automotive companies have come forward with support for the rumored Apple car. Automotive giant Ford applauded the entry of Apple into the industry, stating that it could be revolutionary for innovation and calls the move “exciting” for the automotive industry. Mercedes, however, was less supportive of the move. Mercedes CEO Dieter Zetsche stated that he will not lose sleep at night over Apple’s interest in joining the automotive industry, stating that “Apple has no experience.” He went on to say that “there is absolutely no reason to assume that Apple is going to be financially successful in the electric car business.”
However, no car industry insider has supported and aligned more with the Apple car than BMW. It appears that Apple has collaborated and created a potential partnership with BMW, displaying a high level of interest in the BMW i3 electric car. In addition to the carbon fiber reinforced body of the BMW i3, Apple has shown an intense and focused interest on the engine and technology that the BMW possesses. There is also an Apple rumor that BMW is potentially being acquired by Apple in the near future.
Of all the car companies in all the world, why would Apple choose to align with BMW? At the core of it, the answer comes down to the BMW i3. The company’s long standing tradition of pushing technology while emphasizing luxury is only one part of the puzzle. At the end of the day, the potential merger comes down to one thing: Similar customer base.
Much like Apple customers, BMW has a rabid and devoted client base. The dedication of Apple clients and BMW drivers is one of the moving forces behind the brands, and one of the most distinct features of the companies’ portfolios. While the safety ratings, the technology, and the luxury are all contributing factors that make this a merger made in heaven, the reason this combination would be nearly unstoppable is the strong dedication clients have to the brands.
Whether fact or fiction at this point, it is hard to deny the notion of an Apple car. The way we consume media, connect with others, or capture the world has been forever altered and improved due in large part to Apple’s contributions to the world. It would seem that ushering in the next generation of automotive exploits is just the next most logical step.
Once again, the AppleCar project has shifted hands. Steve Zadesky was originally in charge of the secretive AppleCar project, but according to people close to the company, later left Apple because of personal reasons.
Now there is a new captain at the helm, according to The WallStreet Journal, and it’s the same man who led the development of such pivotal Apple products as the MacBook Air, the iPad and the iMac. His name is Bob Mansfield. It’s a name worth noting since assigning such a highly regarded executive to the project is a strong indication of how serious Apple is about following through with it’s AppleCar.
It is also rumored, however, that Apple’s original target date for the car’s release has already been pushed back from 2019 to 2021, which isn’t an encouraging sign when Uber is already slated to put driverless cars on the road this month!