Apple has long set its sights on the motoring industry. As far back as 2008, rumours circulated that an Apple car was in the works, but progress has stalled on a number of occasions.
So, is Apple making a car, and if so, when will it hit the market?
What is known about the Apple car?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the road to the Apple car has been full of twists, turns and abandoned negotiations. In 2014, ‘Project Titan’ began – the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was hiring a range of automobile experts and engineers with the aim of launching a fully autonomous electric vehicle. In May 2018, the tech giant was reported to be in communication with Volkswagen – a partnership that literally crashed and burned as a result of test crashes and employee leaks.
In 2016, rumours suggested that ‘Project Titan’ had been shelved, but by 2020, the Apple car project was back on track. However, 2021 brought reports that negotiations between Apple and Hyundai, and its subsidiary company Kia, had broken down. By April of the same year, Apple CEO Tim Cook equivocated around Apple’s work on developing a car, but hinted that it was a project the company was invested in moving forward.
Is Apple making a car?
Currently, the Apple car is green lit – but it won’t be a fully autonomous vehicle, as the company had initially hoped. The Apple car will be partially autonomous, with a traditional driving seat, steering wheel and pedals (all of which had been removed for the initial autonomous prototype).
At the close of 2022, Bloomberg reported that Apple planned to launch a consumer model of the car by 2026, with a price point of $100,000. As such, the Apple car will be competition for the likes of the Tesla Model S and the top-end BMW i7. Further reports by Bloomberg suggest that the Apple car’s stats and features will be finalised by the end of 2024, with testing commencing in 2025 and production from 2026.
There is significant speculation about the Apple car’s design and technology, with the exact details remaining broadly unknown. Full iOS integration is expected, and a number of pending patents have been noted for vehicular features. These include patents for ‘movable sensors’, ‘smart headlights’ and ‘adjustable tinted windows’, amongst others.
Apple’s AI lead John Giannandrea is reported to be overseeing the Apple car project, with input from Kevin Lynch, a software developer who worked on the Apple Watch. As Apple itself has no experience in the automobile industry, they will need partners – at the time of writing, these are unconfirmed. Whether Apple achieves the goal of manufacturing a car after all these years remains to be seen.
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