Rumours abound that Apple, not content with trying to reinvent the watch, are considering launching an Apple car. The rumours seem to have started around the time that it was suspected that Apple were looking to hire a selection of top automotive engineers.
The Financial Times reported that many employees from the company’s iPhone quarter were looking at ‘automotive products’, whatever that may mean.
Of course, if you read between the lines, then it might simply be that Apple are indeed looking at automotive concepts – but simply to integrate their own technology with the advancement of the modern car; the launch of CarPlay – Apple’s in-car connectivity move (‘the best iPhone experience on four wheels’ according to Apple) – being a rather big hint at this.
But intriguing rumours like this are the very food upon which motor journalists feed and the rumours continue to gather speed despite very little solid evidence, so let’s have a look at why this just might happen.
The Wall Street Journal has suggested that the company is working on an electric vehicle in the form of a kind of minivan. This of course, would be the ideal platform to showcase all that new in-car tech that we know for sure that Apple are working on – and if it’s good enough for Google, then it might be a case of keeping up with the Joneses. After all, Apple wouldn’t want to be left behind in the electric, driverless car wars – or indeed the burgeoning new car market in China.
Apparently, Apple has set up a top-secret laboratory for this project in Silicon Valley, which is where the newly hired specialists are being employed.
Although it all sounds a bit Area 51, the prospect of an Apple car (iCar?) would be of some concern to many of the established car makers, whether they would admit it or not. Apple has a reputation for great design after all, with arguably less breakdowns than it’s rivals. It also has enough money to fund an extensive project of some note. Something Tesla has managed so far without the budget of Apple.
And so we come to the electric, zero emission concept, the iMove, which as been designed by automotive designer, Liviu Tudoran. There are even suggestions that such a vehicle could make an appearance by 2020. While it might sound odd to design a car based on the profile of the iMac mouse, visually it works. Though this is nothing like a minivan of course.
It all reminds me a bit of the time when an esteemed owner of a large computer company (allegedly – and not Apple) compared the computer industry with the automotive world, stating that if the car industry “…had kept up with technology like the computer companies, we would all have 25 dollar cars that could achieve 1,000 miles on one gallon of fuel”.
In response, a rather large car manufacturer (allegedly) issued a press conference stating that if they had developed technology like the computer industry, your car would ask you ‘are you sure?’ before deploying the airbag, would crash at least twice a day and… well you get the picture.
Of course to balance things, one might suspect that, if the iMac from 2010 onwards is anything to go by, access to an Apple car’s engine might well be via the floorpan.
For more articles like this, receive our weekly e-newsletter, including partner deals and all things motoring, register your email below.