Automotive executives being recruited for 'top-secret' project at Apple [u]

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  • Reply 21 of 64

    A car would be a gigantic leap into a strange new industry, but the iPod and iPhone were steps of that kind. The product category of personal computers that Apple was founded on is now a minority of its revenue. Apple is much bigger now and can take bigger steps. Becoming a car company would be very hard, but Apple has more cash than it took for the U.S. to put men on the moon. Is there a question whether Apple could be more successful than, say, John DeLorean? DeLorean's startup cost in adjusted dollars would be almost $900 million. DeLorean had car knowledge, but financially Apple can do things DeLorean couldn't have dreamed of. CarPlay may be what the Motorola iTunes phone was.

  • Reply 22 of 64
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,681member
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post





    Let's not jump to conclusions yet.



    1. Building a car is incredibly complicated.

    2. The car market is hugely competitive with decades of maturity and experience under its belt.

    3. Apple would likely go electric given how much they care about the earth; building a battery car is even more difficult.

    4. The likes of Tesla have a huge head start over Apple in this race and by the time Apple released their car Tesla would be 6 to 12 years further along.

    5. Apple wouldn't touch this market unless they thought they could blow the competition away and I don't see that happening.

    6. How much of a distraction would an Apple Car be for Apple given the array of products they're now producing?

    7. Where and how would Apple sell and service this vehicle?



    Apple has so much money they could buy Tesla with petty cash - all your points are moot when a company can buy companies and hire people who have expertise in the field and market. And it wouldn't take as long as you think, since a lot of main issues have been wrinkled out over years of development. Electric cars were popular before combustion engine cars - this is not new technology. The biggest issue these companies usually have is centered around software, battery tech, and money.

  • Reply 23 of 64
    Automotive design (with a few limited exceptions) is bloody horrific. The marriage of tech and mechanics is poor, originality has gone, design styling is bland, the list go's on. Its primed for disruption, much as the mobile phone industry was pre-2007. The UK has a great pedigree in car design thanks to Coventry Poly, now a Uni. and every designer of Jony's era (including myself) loved to dream and sketch the perfect dream car. I wouldn't be surprised if some Coventry veterans are now in tucked away in Apple's secretive Cambridge office.
  • Reply 24 of 64
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,681member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

     

    Just because Apple is hiring automotive engineers with the expertise in designing and manufacturing cars doesn't mean Apple is going to make cars. All the top automotive suppliers (Valeo, Bosch, Siemens, Delphi, Hitachi, QNX, Continental, Dunlop....) who make all the components, sub-systems and modules in your car ALSO have automotive engineers on staff who would be the type of people you're looking for if you wanted to start manufacturing your own car.

     

    Understanding EVERYTHING about automotive manufacturing is also key to a company who wants to supply systems to the companies who are ACTUALLY making cars. I think this is simply Apple trying to get a handle on the entire automotive manufacturing process, something they'd need to do if they wanted to develop a deeply integrated information/multimedia system.

     

     

    And keep in mind what Apple does best - they look at how something is currently being done and look for ways to make it better for users. Apple isn't going to make sports cars handle better, luxury cars ride nicer or trucks haul better. But the information systems in these vehicles is an area that desperately needs improvement. And that's right up Apples alley.




    I agree this is the most likely case. I think Apple is researching ways to increase CarPlay's role in the car. Including adding "assisted" driving capabilities, convenience features...

     

    Asking Siri to turn the A/C on.

    Using TouchID to unlock and start the car.

    A camera on the dash recognizes you and adjusts everything to your preferences.

    Warns you of objects in the road, or helps keep your car a safe distance from other cars.

    When you're using GPS to guide you, automatically turn the appropriate signal on when a turn is coming up.

     

    Etc...

  • Reply 25 of 64
    wigbywigby Posts: 692member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

    The thing is Apple does not to brunt the cost of manufactering.  They could simply make an alliance with someone like BMW or MercBenz to make a car.  BWM will take care of engine, susupetion, ect.  Apple would take care of the UI and joint effort on design.  It would be amazing.  And I'm pretty sure companies would be lining up to make the iCAR.

     

    Just remember that Apple does not build a single iPHONE.  They simply design it. Foxconn builds the phones.   I can see the same deal with iCAR.  Apple designs the car and BMW builds it.




    There's a big difference between all car companies and a factory that builds to specifications. Why would any car company partner with Apple when Apple will get all the glory and the car company will just get tons of orders to build cars? No car company is currently structured to handle that or even want that type of business.

  • Reply 26 of 64
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post





    I just hope that theoretical car isn't made in China.



    Many foreign brands of cars are assembled here in the U.S.A.

    Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Hyundai-Kia, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen.

     

    My guess is that Apple would have two factories: one in the USA and the other in the world's largest auto market...China.

    The ones made in the USA would be sold in the Americas and the ones made in Chine would be for everyone else.

    Ford and GM already have many plants in China and Chrysler contracts a Chinese car maker to make Jeeps for sale in China.

    I believe Apple would partner with Ford, BMW or Tesla.

  • Reply 27 of 64
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post



    Yet your instrument cluster (or other dash modules) basically run on 4 wires: 12V, ground, CAN-H and CAN-L (CAN being the network). All the information you see (engine RPM, speed, fuel level, coolant temperature, oil temperature) were sent to your cluster over the CAN network from the engine computer. Or LIN or FlexRay (two other popular networks). This way sensor count is reduced. If the climate control needs the coolant temperature (so it can regulate cabin heat) it gets it from engine computer. If the climate control wants to turn on the A/C compressor to cool the cabin, it simply requests the engine computer to turn it on (the engine handles this as it will also increase idle speed slightly to compensate for engine load).

    I was merely commenting from the perspective that instrument clusters and onscreen display are quite unique to the design of each auto. Even our two BMW models have different capabilities and functions. They are similar but not the same. The physical layout of the instrumentation is something that each manufacturer designer creates to match the rest of their design language. Some use a jog wheel and others touch, etc. I don't think there is a universal solution that will satisfy all car makers. There is a lot to consider. You have safety systems such as airbags, door locks and seat belts, lots of manual switches for other controls. Apple can't do everything so even if they did do more than just CarPlay there would still need to be other electronic systems in place that would logically have interconnections with the display and the instrument cluster making each implementation unique.

  • Reply 28 of 64
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Just because Apple is hiring automotive engineers with the expertise in designing and manufacturing cars doesn't mean Apple is going to make cars. All the top automotive suppliers (Valeo, Bosch, Siemens, Delphi, Hitachi, QNX, Continental, Dunlop....) who make all the components, sub-systems and modules in your car ALSO have automotive engineers on staff who would be the type of people you're looking for if you wanted to start manufacturing your own car.

    Understanding EVERYTHING about automotive manufacturing is also key to a company who wants to supply systems to the companies who are ACTUALLY making cars. I think this is simply Apple trying to get a handle on the entire automotive manufacturing process, something they'd need to do if they wanted to develop a deeply integrated information/multimedia system.


    And keep in mind what Apple does best - they look at how something is currently being done and look for ways to make it better for users. Apple isn't going to make sports cars handle better, luxury cars ride nicer or trucks haul better. But the information systems in these vehicles is an area that desperately needs improvement. And that's right up Apples alley.

    From the FT story:
    Three months ago I would have said it was CarPlay,” said one person who has worked closely with Apple for many years, referring to Apple’s infotainment system. “Today I think it’s a car.”

    And from Bryan Chaffin at the Mac Observer:
    But what I learned is that Apple has been looking for — and acquiring — the kind of people from Tesla with expertise that is most suited to cars. So much so that I went from being a doubter to a believer almost instantly.

    From another source who travels in more rarified circles than yours truly, I also learned that a lot of people at the top in Silicon Valley consider it a given that Apple is working on a car. This is circumstantial, at best, but if you’re going to crowd-source wisdom, you could do a lot worse than polling the C-suite.

    I should add that when I asked one of my sources flat out to put a percentage chance on Apple working on an actual car — rather than some kind of car-related technology — I was told, “80 percent.”

    John Gruber actually linked to Chaffin's story, which I don't think he would have done if he thought the rumors were completely ridiculous. Of course researching something and even building a prototype doesn't mean an actual product will come out of it.

    And let's not forget that, according go Apple board member Mickey Drexler, Steve wanted to build a car.

    http://www.fastcompany.com/1837636/j-crew-ceo-apple-board-member-mickey-drexler-reveals-steve-jobs-icar-dream-confirms-living-r
  • Reply 29 of 64

    Call me crazy, but I think it makes complete sense that Apple could be entering the car market by building their own cars, they definitely have the capital. Desirable electric cars are a lot closer to us now than they've ever been, and electric cars are basically computers on wheels. Tesla is definitely leading the pack in this realm, but even they could stand to benefit from the type of pressure that Apple, being a much bigger company, could put on local governments to allow them to sell cars through their own showrooms as opposed to be forced to sell through 3rd party dealerships. Either way, there's a lot of smoke right now and fire is sure to come in some regard, grabbing popcorn now. I'm excited to see whatever will come of it, but I hope Apple is going to make cars.

  • Reply 30 of 64
    If Apple has a breakthrough in battery technology I can see them heading in the direction of an electric car (possibly in partnership with an established dealer or through buying out another manufacturer as others have pointed out). Otherwise I think this is all related to maps and CarPlay.
  • Reply 31 of 64
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

     

    I don't think Apple wants to get into cars. The profit margin is low and you need a network of dealers to provide service. I don't see Apple wanting to get into that mess.


     

    I don’t think Apple wants to get into cellphones. The profit margin is low (nobody would spend more than $75 for a cellphone) and you need a network of carriers to provide service. I don’t see Apple wanting to get into that mess of a mature, cutthroat market.

     

    There, my time machine fixed it for you. 

  • Reply 32 of 64
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member

    The biggest problem with an Apple branded automobile as I see it would be the fAndroids going around scratching the paint out of spite.

  • Reply 33 of 64
    I still think it has something to do with batteries/electronics. A few years ago I remember reading something about Apple wanting to use Tesla for the battery tech when Tesla builds their new $1 billion battery factory.
  • Reply 34 of 64

    Just what I need... pop-up adverts on my windshield, and Google tracking every make-out session.

  • Reply 35 of 64
    lolliver wrote: »
    If Apple has a breakthrough in battery technology I can see them heading in the direction of an electric car (possibly in partnership with an established dealer or through buying out another manufacturer as others have pointed out).

    I agree with this. The watch maker Swatch partnered with Daimler to build the car "smart" after their likings, Apple could do the same. http://www.autoevolution.com/smart/
  • Reply 36 of 64
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    Doubt it. Now days the manufacturers design the onboard computer system to integrate the whole car. For example my auto has probably hundreds of sensors, many of which display information on the screen or heads up display and some control features do highly specialized tasks. There is no way Apple could build a universal electronics package that would meet the needs of auto manufacturers.


    "There is no way Apple could build a universal electronics package that would meet the needs of auto manufacturers."

     

    There is no way that Apple could build a universal hand-held mobile computing device that would meet the needs of all of its users. /s

  • Reply 37 of 64
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

     

    I don't think Apple wants to get into cars. The profit margin is low and you need a network of dealers to provide service. I don't see Apple wanting to get into that mess.

     

    But going up against QNX and offering a complete vehicle system for multimedia and navigation (that also properly interfaces with EXISTING vehicle systems and networks) is something I could see them doing. Automotive manufacturers have crappy infotainment systems with utterly horrible controls/UI. They could provide both primary systems used in a vehicle - infotainment and instrument cluster/dashboard.




    You are thinking small.  You need to think big revolutionary products here.

    People use to say similar statements about feature phones.

  • Reply 38 of 64
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,787member
    My suspicion is this is about something to go in to monitor or control other manufacturers' cars that choose to partner with Apple, not Apple building ?Cars as such.
  • Reply 39 of 64
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Whatever Apple is doing I'm sure they don't mind all the speculation. No one is talking about the new Galaxy phone coming in March. It's all speculating what Apple might be doing in the car space. :)
  • Reply 40 of 64
    sog35 wrote: »
    1) Tesla and Apple meet last year
    1) Tesla CEO brags that Apple is trying to poach his employees
    2) Tesla CEO says his company could easily reach Apple's size
    3) Rumors about iCar

    too much smoke for not to have a fire

    Or idle speculation fueled by analysts and clickbaiters?
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