George_Jetson_Car_GreenBusinessesSince Valentine’s Day online news has been exploding around the rumor of an Apple iCar in the works.  The first breaking of the story came from the Wall Street Journal with the inspiring headline “Apple Gears Up to Challenge Tesla in Electric Cars”.   The article goes on to cite several interesting tidbits surrounding a secret R&D project called “Titan” lead by respected Apple VP Steve Zadesky, such as:

  • Steve has recently traveled to Austria to meet with car manufacturers
  • Steve has been given permission by Apple CEO, Tim Cook, to build a 1000 person team to work on his car project.
  • Sources say that he has been recruiting people internally from different departments within Apple as well as poaching talent from the likes of Tesla that have automotive expertise.
  • An unsolicited email sent from an “Apple Employee” to Business Insider about Vehicle Development stated “”Apple’s latest project is too exciting to pass up,” …..”I think it will change the landscape and give Tesla a run for its money.”

Other online reports are more skeptical about the reality of an actual iCar appearing on the market in the near future.   Tim Bajarin, a business analyst with Creative Strategies asserts that Apple wants to own the dashboard of every vehicle – not build its own car.

“If Apple was going to make a car, it would be 10 times easier to just buy Tesla,” Bajarin says. “But Apple doesn’t want a single-branded experience. It wants Apple in many, many cars.”

This makes more sense given Apple’s track record of success with sleek, branded, and accessible consumer electronic products.  Carplay is emerging as the most likely new Apple gadget contender with regards to cars.  Announced in early 2014, Carplay is already out in new Ferraris and expected to be launched on several new automobiles from various car companies in the near future.  Carplay is an entertainment console for your car that integrates voice control, navigation, music, and mobile phone features in a removable dock on your dashboard.

There is no doubt that an Apple system would be a compelling add-on feature for car dealers.

Richard Doherty, an analyst with the Envisioneering Group says “An Apple cockpit in an Audi or Toyota would become a value differentiator.”

As we all know – it takes years for an idea to travel from concept to commercial release in the automobile industry, but let’s have fun imagining the iCar anyways!   Apple definitely has the resources and the creative talent to make something really cool that could disrupt the automobile market and would make George Jetson proud!

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