or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Future Apple Hardware › "iCar" unlikely to materialize for several years - report
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

"iCar" unlikely to materialize for several years - report

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
A rumored partnership between Apple and Volkswagen to develop an "iCar" with iPod connectivity could benefit both companies enormously but is unlikely to yield an actual automobile for three or four years, according to market intelligence firm iSuppli Corp.

Speculation about the iCar was spurred by a recent meeting between Apple boss Steve Jobs and Martin Winterkorn, chief executive of German automaker Volkswagen. However, it's unknown whether the two actually discussed an iCar, or if it was merely a meeting regarding cross-functional leverage opportunities for each company.

Assuming the conversation did concern an iCar, each company could potentially benefit enormously from the pact, iSuppli claims. For Apple, it would present an opportunity to extend its iPod ecosystem into the automotive realm, and for Volkswagen, it would deliver an assured hot seller.

Already, rumors of an iCar have generated significant caché for Volkswagen -- a Google search of the phrase "VW + iCar" yields more than 2 million entries, iSuppli said, which begs the question of how much interest the concept would spur if it translated into an actual product introduction.

One of the major challenges to the success of a potential Apple/Volkswagen iCar collaboration would be the vastly different cultures of the two corporations.

"Although the old cliché says ‘opposites attract,' the cultural divide between Apple and Volkswagen may be too wide to bridge," said Richard Robinson, principal analyst, automotive electronics, for iSuppli. "Apple is a highly innovative and dynamic consumer electronics company that generates significant profits from living off its wits and supplying niche markets with the next big thing in music players, mobile phones and personal computers. VW, on the other hand, is from an entirely different tradition: the more conservative world of automotive, with its solid four-to five-year development cycles, tight margins and production-standard compliance requirements that would bring even the most enthusiastic designer from Cupertino to his knees."

Still, iSuppli notes in its report that Volkswagen is not unusual in its conservatism, as automakers have a generally cautious approach to design and development -- a philosophy forged in the fire of a thousand product recalls. With rising electronics, silicon and software content in vehicles, all of which can fail at any time, automakers probably are justified in maintaining their cautious stance regarding new technology offerings, according to the firm.

"[V]ehicle manufacturers are not interested in the next big thing and instead are focused on producing solid, tried and tested products that will be reliable for years," Robinson said. "While consumer-electronics warranty returns might eat into a company's profits, automotive recalls are the stuff of nightmares in a car industry that operates at the very margins of profitability."

"If your iPod fails, it's your problem, and you must shell out a meager $120 to buy a new one -- which is okay because you probably wanted to get the latest model anyway," he continued. "However, if your two-year-old car's built-in infotainment system fails while driving in 20-below temperatures on an Alaskan highway, it's not your problem -- it's a problem for the company that sold you the car and it must bankroll the repairs."

Unlike consumer electronics makers such as Apple, automakers must bear the responsibility of product failures throughout a car's entire warranty period, which typically lasts three to five years. Therefore, iSuppli believes that, while it's in the consumers' interest that popular devices such as the iPod and iPhone get integrated into their cars' automotive infotainment systems, the cultural shock of a consumer-electronics company being forced to support products for up to 10 years after start of manufacturing will probably be the undoing of the idea.

"While Volkswagen would expect a car manufactured in 2007 to be perfectly serviceable 10 year later, does anyone seriously think the current iPod and iPhone ranges will be anything more than museum relics a decade from now?," Robinson added.

And if indeed Apple and Volkswagen do team on an iCar, consumers shouldn't expect to see it this year -- or even next year, according to Robinson. Based on standard automotive industry practice, even if Apple and VW press the 'Go' button today, it is highly unlikely that the first iCars would roll off the assembly line until at least 2010 or 2011, he said.

Still, there's big money to be made if and when an iCar finally materializes. Even with total automotive "infotainment segment" set to break through the $50 billion mark in 2012, the car remains a very large-- and largely untapped -- captive market. Car production is rising at a steady 3 percent rate, according to iSuppli, but the automotive infotainment market will expand much more quickly, rising at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 8 percent from 2006 to 2013.
post #2 of 24
I wouldn't say that car manufacturers aren't interested in producing design cars for novelty's sake.
However, where did AI take this godawful plastic iCar image?
It could (should) look more like this... http://www.peugeot-concours-design.com/en/01_vainqueur/
post #3 of 24

…market intelligence firm iSuppli Corp

Aren't they the same people who claimed that Apple sold over 700,000 iPhones in the first 3 days? and aren't they the ones who also claimed that Apple would sell 8 million by the end of the year?
post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by suhail View Post

market intelligence firm iSuppli Corp

Aren't they the same people who claimed that Apple sold over 700,000 iPhones in the first 3 days? and aren't they the ones who also claimed that Apple would sell 8 million by the end of the year?

Yep. But also remember that DigiTimes got nearly all of its Apple reports wrong 2 years ago, while this year it's got nearly 70 percent right -- including some big stories.

So we're giving iSuppli another chance to rant

Best,

K
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
Reply
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
Reply
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck View Post

I wouldn't say that car manufacturers aren't interested in producing design cars for novelty's sake.
However, where did AI take this godawful plastic iCar image?
It could (should) look more like this... http://www.peugeot-concours-design.com/en/01_vainqueur/

ewwww.... That car reminds me of the iPuck.... <*shudders*>

-Clive
My Mod: G4 Cube + Atom 330 CPU + Wiimote = Ultimate HTPC!
(Might I recommend the Libertarian Party as a good compromise between the equally terrible "DnR"?)
Reply
My Mod: G4 Cube + Atom 330 CPU + Wiimote = Ultimate HTPC!
(Might I recommend the Libertarian Party as a good compromise between the equally terrible "DnR"?)
Reply
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck View Post

I wouldn't say that car manufacturers aren't interested in producing design cars for novelty's sake.
However, where did AI take this godawful plastic iCar image?
It could (should) look more like this... http://www.peugeot-concours-design.com/en/01_vainqueur/

Those look like hi-tech wheelchairs.

I'd hope that Apple's involvement with VW only goes so far as the entertainment and navigation systems. Maybe the climate control and diagnostic systems too but nothing to do with the actual driving of the automobile or its exterior looks.
post #7 of 24
A google search of "VW + iCar + quinney" yields 39 results.
How should I interpret that?
post #8 of 24
I've always felt Apple's & VW's marketing was very similar in look and feel. Over the last few years both seem to target similar demos (at least in US). In those regards, I think it could be a good match if it really happened.

But many VW models are notorious for poor build quality, making them a poor match.

That's all I got.
post #9 of 24
Didn't one of the two Steves get rid of a VW to start Apple?
Why bring it back?

Now, the only way Apple might be involved in a car is regarding the dashboard and/or controls.
But fly-by-wire is scary considering what happens to Airbus planes.
I wouldn't want to see it running down highways.
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A rumored partnership between Apple and Volkswagen to develop an "iCar" with iPod connectivity could benefit both companies enormously but is unlikely to yield an actual automobile for three or four years, according to market intelligence firm iSuppli Corp.

Ok, I've heard that when Jobs demo'd the Rocker phone, he was visibly irritated with it and look what happened next: Apple builds the iPhone. So can I assume that if Jobs gets irritated with the iCar, Apple will release their own car in the near future? If so, then that means microsoft will...
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Rizzo View Post

But many VW models are notorious for poor build quality, making them a poor match.

What! Which models?
post #12 of 24
That mock image of the iCar looked more like the resurrection of the new 2008 AMC Pacer! If VW can resurrect the Beetle, then AMC can resurrect the Pacer! And it is translucent too...so all your friends can see you driving the new geek-mobile!

Car manufacturers already have iPod integration. Mine works great in my 2003 Accord with the integration kit from DICE Electronics.
post #13 of 24
1) With OS X growing into new areas, I'd like to see Apple create a basic OS with features that can be turned on/off and tweaked to accommodate for various manufacturers. This may require an in intermediary device to make sure the controls all function normally but I think it can be done.

2) I'd love to have an Apple single or double-DIN until running OS X with a HDD, 802.11a/b/g/n for syncing with my home's Mac's library. Music that displays album art of the in the interface, even from HD radio feeds. Even a record of songs/artists playsed that can be easily looked up in iTunes Store later.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimDreamworx View Post

Didn't one of the two Steves get rid of a VW to start Apple?
Why bring it back?

Now, the only way Apple might be involved in a car is regarding the dashboard and/or controls.
But fly-by-wire is scary considering what happens to Airbus planes.
I wouldn't want to see it running down highways.

Nice piece of FUD.
post #15 of 24
Will the icar have Windows or will they call it something else?


You are coming to a sad realization, cancel or allow?
Reply
You are coming to a sad realization, cancel or allow?
Reply
post #16 of 24

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #17 of 24
iCar? Is it already April Fools' Day?
post #18 of 24
If Apple goes into the arms business, it'll likely be years before iBombs come to market. And if Apple goes into pharmaceuticals, it'll be a while before we can buy iDrugs.

Look ma! I'm a market intelligence firm!
post #19 of 24
Like previous Apple hardware, the iCar will lack a user replaceable battery. Apple is offering a battery replacement program for $790 plus $69.50 for shipping. The user will have to ship the iCar to an Apple facility and turn around is expected to be about 3 business days. A loaner iCar can be obtained for $290. Consumers should remove all contents from the iCar before shipping to Apple as they will be "deleted" during battery replacement.

Class action lawsuit expected to follow shortly...
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimDreamworx View Post

Now, the only way Apple might be involved in a car is regarding the dashboard and/or controls.
But fly-by-wire is scary considering what happens to Airbus planes.
I wouldn't want to see it running down highways.

Almost all modern cars and all modern planes now use electronics to control them instead of cables and levers directly pushing the brakes or throttle. Have done for years already so your FUD is unfounded.

IMHO if Apple were involved in an iCar it'd be a design and branding exercise like the relationship between Swatch and Mercedes on the Smart car. Apple have huge positive brand awareness. They'd *have* to do something different rather than just the ICE.

I'm not sure they'd want to be involved in creating a whole car though. It's up there with Apple branded cigarettes as sending the wrong image about a company.
post #21 of 24
Well perhaps Audi/VW is simply trying to avoid the BMW Series 7 iDrive disaster by involving Apple from the get go rather than simply stealing the "i"...and using OSX vs Windows CE.

Boy did Immersion blow that one. iDrive sucked ass.

Seriously, the military has has spent millions into UI design for cockpits. How hard could it have been for BMW to hire some folks that have done that before to do a usability study for them and figure out that trying to manipulate multi-layer UI with a hockey puck at 70 miles an hour to change your AC is a dumb idea? Shocking!

3 years is probably about right to develop a car UI that doesn't suck and get it to market. BMW started iDrive in 1998 and launched it in 2001. And it sucked. Bad. Really bad.

Have I said iDrive sucked yet? Yeah.

And its not like any of this is new so I have no clue what iSuppli is pontificating about. Its not like cars don't have nav systems that are supposed to last the life of the car. And car stereos go bad/old and get replaced from time to time. Stick a mini in the trunk somewhere you can swap for a 2015 mini and OSX <ran out of cat names here>.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I'd rather this became the iCar.

That is impressive. I especially liked the conversion from 4-to-2 wheel capabilities for maneuvering in tight spots or overcoming obstacles.

But where is the scroll wheel?
"Too much of a good thing is great." Mae West
Reply
"Too much of a good thing is great." Mae West
Reply
post #23 of 24
I LOVE Apple. But this is just silly rumor talk. And good pr.

An icar?

Puh-leaze. :-)

I think it'd be cool if Steve Jobs being the environmentalist that he is....wanted to create an electric car and beat the big auto makers who are dragging their feet when it comes to trying to create a functional and aesthetic electric car at their own game. If ANYONE could do that, it'd be Apple. I'd LOVE to see that. But realistically...if it was going to just be a regular car...whats the point? None really.
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by regan View Post

I LOVE Apple. But this is just silly rumor talk. And good pr.

An icar?

Puh-leaze. :-)

I think it'd be cool if Steve Jobs being the environmentalist that he is....wanted to create an electric car and beat the big auto makers who are dragging their feet when it comes to trying to create a functional and aesthetic electric car at their own game. If ANYONE could do that, it'd be Apple. I'd LOVE to see that.

I really don't think that's a problem of any auto industry "dragging their feet". The energy storage is still the biggest problem, not only is it expensive, if you're using batteries, you'd have to replace them all every five years. It's very tough to beat the economics of a power source where you only have to carry 5% of your fuel.

Quote:
But realistically...if it was going to just be a regular car...whats the point? None really.

A lot of people thought there wasn't a point to an Apple phone.

There are a lot of in-car electronics that could be made nicer.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Future Apple Hardware
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Future Apple Hardware › "iCar" unlikely to materialize for several years - report