Everyone seems to be talking about the new car Apple is developing. Even The Onion did a satire piece on it (see photo, above), giving the car epic features like suggested speed limits, based on the user’s history, and a price of $199, when a 2-year Verizon contract is signed. The best part of it is that some news outlets are picking up bits from The Onion’s parody, and publishing them as if they were fact. There’s a lot of misinformation circulating about the so-called iCar, but what we do know to be fact, really comes down to just five things.
1. Apple Won’t Admit They’re Developing a Car
As recently as an October 1 interview with NPR News, Apple CEO Tim Cook dodged questions about the car. While the discussion mostly surrounded privacy and the company’s offshore accounts, the interviewer flat-out asked Mr. Cook, “Is there going to be an Apple car?” The CEO laughed, and responded with, “Do you have another question?” The pair spent a few moments trying to talk over each other- the host asking about the car, with Mr. Cook pushing the latest releases from Apple, and the interview concludes without Cook so much as acknowledging the existence of an Apple car.
2. Business Mogul Carl Icahn Says there will be an Apple Car by 2020
Just a few months ago, CNBC reported that Carl Icahn has made over $3.4 billion by investing in Apple. At the time of their report, the mogul had 52 million shares of Apple stock, and he’s #22 on the Forbes List of Billionaires, with an estimated net worth of $21 billion. Mr. Icahn investigates thoroughly before he invests, which is why he’s so successful. In May 2015, he wrote an open letter to Tim Cook, saying that he believed they were developing a car, and offering suggestions to make the venture more successful. He also noted that the Apple car would be the “ultimate mobile device,” and that it would be released in 2020. Interestingly, Apple VP Jeff Williams echoed this sentiment in a May Interview. When responding to a question about where Apple tech is heading, he responded, “Well, the car is the ultimate mobile device, isn’t it?” However, he could have been referring to CarPlay, or have been hinting at automotive development.
3. Apple has Been on a Hiring Spree, Grabbing Numerous People from the Auto Industry
While there’s obviously going to be some tech carryover between the automotive industry and the tech industry, especially with the release of CarPlay, Apple’s hiring scheme raises some eyebrows. The Wall Street Journal says Apple has hired hundreds for the project, though recent reports say there could be as many as 600 working on “Project Titan” (the iCar) for Apple. Some of the most-notable hires are listed below:
- Doug Betts: An exec with previous experience at Fiat Chrysler, Michelin, Toyota, and Nissan.
- Johann Jungwirth: A specialist in autonomous driving and Internet-connected cars, previously the head of Mercedes-Benz’s research and development team.
- Steve Zadesky: An engineer and former product designer, previously with Ford.
4. Apple was Sued by a Car Battery Company for Poaching Employees
A123 Systems creates high-tech batteries with numerous applications. Some of their projects involve batteries for electric cars. Although the case has now been settled, A123 sued Apple for hiring away several of their senior employees and engineers, causing the company irreparable harm. While it’s entirely possible Apple wanted to improve their battery technology for their existing product lineup, it could also be a sign that the non-existent iCar is electric.
5. An Autonomous Vehicle Test Site Signed a Confidentiality Agreement with Apple
According to a report from The Guardian, Apple is looking into test sites for autonomous vehicles. Execs from the tech firm recently visited GoMentum Station, which is a former naval base about 40 miles away from Silicon Valley. Though representatives from GoMentum won’t say anything more than that they’ve met with Apple and can’t talk about it, the site hosts a known autonomous vehicle test track. Like Apple, GoMentum is also known for being incredibly secretive. Just a few months ago, armed guards stopped execs from Tesla from entering the facility because a few members were foreign-born, and one refused to give up his social security number.
Beyond this, the rest is only speculation. It certainly looks like Apple is building an electric automated vehicle, but until hard evidence leaks, or the company fesses up, there’s no way to know. Most sources say that if the company produces it, it could begin selling as soon as 2019, though other experts in the field say 2025 is probably a more accurate estimate. If it does materialize, it will indeed be “the ultimate mobile device.”
Source | Images: this content was generously supported by Jason Bekiaris and The Dilawri Group, an automotive group and one of Canada’s 50 best managed companies. Jason is also a 25-year Canadian rock star and on-air broadcast legend, otherwise known as The Greek SINsation. And host of Canada’s #1-rated The Web Show. [sic]