Will we see cars in Apple Stores soon?
Apple is reportedly hitting the gas on its rumored electric car venture, dubbed “Project Titan“, targeting a 2019 “ship date” according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
The tech giant has drastically increased the number of people working on the project, which it hopes will compete with leading electric car manufacturer, Tesla Motors. It was earlier reported there are over a thousand people committed to the endeavor and if the figures are correct, this shows Apple’s resolve in making Titan a commercial success.
It is still unknown if Apple is trying to create a self-driving car, however, as heavily rumored in the past.
The report also brushed on Apple’s meetings with the California Department of Motor Vehicles and GoMentum Station, a testing ground for autonomous and self-driving cars, which could also signify Apple’s foray into the self-driving car business soon.
So far, there is no official press release or details straight from Apple. The company is known for its secretive stance in developing projects and historically, it has barely hinted or teased customers regarding its product releases. Details of Project Titan have been divulged since February in a Bloomberg report, which cited the company is has hired robotic experts and battery engineers.
In an interview with the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Tim Cook evaded the talk show host’s question about reports of Apple developing a driverless car, implying the company is looking into it but is selective in pooling its resources.
Car manufacturers are continuously adding new technology, including LCD displays, gadgets, and other features into their vehicles. With the impending entry of Apple into the scene, cars are projected to be smarter, more efficient, and will basically become computers on wheels in the long run.
Apple will likely introduce revolutionary improvements into car dashboards. Imagine being able to have Siri to talk to during your long commute – finally you’ll have a friend to talk to in that daily traffic.
Though Apple’s entry into the electronic car market will give an all-new dimension into motor vehicles, questions have been raised about its capability to become a car manufacturer. Apple doesn’t have its own factories, even for its own products as it hires other companies – like Foxconn – to do its manufacturing and assembly work. So, if Apple doesn’t even assemble its own phones, who will make its cars? Note than most car manufacturers have their own factories and production lines.
However, Apple does have the capital to chase this ambitious endeavor since it has a whopping $200 billion in cash reserves.
In the past few months, Apple has hired a slew of automotive industry experts, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The most notable name is Doug Betts, who used to work for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles until last year. His exact role is unknown – he could be working on the Titan project or on one of Apple’s existing line of products. Another name which sprung up is Paul Furgale, an autonomous vehicles researcher.
The person leading Project Titan is Steve Zadesky, a former product designer and engineer for Ford Motor. Apple CEO Tim Cook has given Zadesky a free hand in creating a thousand-person team and to recruit manpower from other departments in Apple.
The automotive industry sells over millions of cars in the United States. Companies which have a fair share in the market have the potential to earn billions of dollars annually. The prospect of earning this piece of this market share in an industry that is ripe for disruption must be tempting for Apple.
Apple has a history of disrupting industries. It wasn’t the first smart phone manufacturer – but the iPhone became the industry standard for mobile phone technology, effectively displacing former top phone makers, Nokia and Motorola.
Nor was it the company which created the portable music player, though it changed the industry with the introduction of the iPod. So let’s not forget Apple’s pedigree for innovation even in industries that we feel couldn’t be improved on much – I actually see the electric car as a very, very obvious opportunity for Apple to capitalize on.
In this case, is it likely to upend existing electronic car manufacturers like Tesla Motors and General Electronics? Given Apple’s history, it’s safe to assume it will make the whole playing field a more competitive one.
In typical Apple fashion, the company might study the competition and present an improved, simple, yet well-made product which could appeal to the masses, just like its previous products in the past decade.