Fast, luxurious & sensible: What the personal vehicles of Apple execs could mean for an Apple Car

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2015
With rumors of an Apple Car comes speculation about its potential design, and AppleInsider took a look at the personal vehicles drive by some of Apple's top executives to see how that might influence the company's thinking.


Clockwise from top left: Bentley Mulsanne, Aston Martin Vanquish, Porsche Boxster, Toyota Camry, Land Rover LR3, Ferrari La Ferrari, Aston Martin DB9, BMW 5 Series.


Sir Jonathan Ive

Apple's English design chief is known to favor vehicles from his home country. Aside from a brief flirtation with an orange Fiat 500 during his college years, Ive has been a loyal supporter of the British motoring industry, snapping up cars from Aston Martin, Bentley, and Land Rover.

Ive's first known luxury purchase was an Aston Martin DB9, a two-door coupe that mates Aston's traditional luxurious interior with a monstrous 12-cylinder engine that lays down more than 400 horsepower. Interior trim is fairly traditional, comprised of leather and walnut, while the exterior pays homage to Astons past with its distinctive grille.

Ive eventually totaled that car while driving on the highway in California, and subsequently purchased a second DB9. The replacement failed spectacularly, a situation which Aston remedied by offering Ive a discount on a new Vanquish, a bigger, faster 12-cylinder, 2-door tourer.

Bentley entered the picture later, first with a white Brooklands that Ive apparently loved so much that he bought a second in black. The most recent incarnation of the Brooklands is yet another 2-door coupe, sporting an adequate 530-horsepower 8-cylinder powerplant.


Inside a Bentley Mulsanne


Following the twin Bentleys was a Land Rover LR3, a run-around-town version of that marque's famous offroaders. This marked a turning point in Ive's vehicular pursuits, from 2-door performance coupes to more sensible 4-door vehicles, evidenced by his subsequent purchase of a new Bentley Mulsanne.

The latest Mulsanne is a four-door sedan with a 500-horsepower, twin turbocharged 8-cylinder engine. Ive uses this ride to commute from his San Francisco home to Apple's offices in Cupertino, though for the last year he has done so in the back seat --?a full-time driver sits up front.

Ive is also known to own an Aston Martin DB4, the predecessor of the DB5 made famous by Sean Connery in the James Bond flick Goldfinger.

Tim Cook

In contrast to Ive's somewhat flamboyant garage, Apple's chief executive keeps it low key with a BMW 5 Series. The 5 Series is a 4-door sedan that has long been the car of choice for stock brokers, lawyers, and middle managers who want to have some fun but occasionally need to shuttle the kids to soccer practice.

Cook is also rumored to own a Porsche Boxster, though he has never been seen in its company.

Eddy Cue & Phil Schiller


McLaren F1

Cue and Schiller, in charge (respectively) of Apple's growing software and services division and its marketing wing, are known to favor high-end sports cars. Though details of their collections are scarce, Ferrari is almost certain to factor into the mix --?Cue sits on the Italian automaker's board of directors.

Cue's collection in particular is said to be impressive. During a meeting with app developers, Cue took time to show off his garage.

"I tried to calculate how much he must have spent on cars but I stopped counting when I got to 'obscene," one attendee said.

Schiller is a Porsche fan, though his list of favorites is eclectic: McLaren's F1, Aston Martin's DB4 GT, Porsche's 550A, Ferrari's P4, Ford's GT/40, Jaguar's D-Type, and Lamborghini's Miura are some of the vehicles that he covets.

What does this mean for the Apple Car?

A single common thread winds its way through the garages of Apple's top executives: sleek European luxury. Aston Martin, Bentley, Land Rover, BMW, Porsche --?these are all legendary names renowned for their attention to detail and (mostly) precision engineering.

Even the least impressive vehicle among Apple's inner circle --?a Toyota Camry driven by operations wiz Jeff Williams --?comes with a reputation for quality.

For Apple, entering the automotive arena would not be unlike moving into the watch business. Both are century-old industries with deeply entrenched practices and ideologies, where it's important to respect the past while dragging it into the future.

With the Watch, Apple showed just how much of their personal sphere of experience that they apply to the development of their products.


Tesla's Model S, left, and Google's self-driving car, right.


Cook is a health enthusiast; the Watch boasts numerous features to help users improve their personal fitness. Ive loves traditional timepieces; the Watch pays homage to wristwatches of old with its digital crown, face complications, and bands like the Milanese loop.

Translated to the automotive world, this could mean that Apple's eventual entry will more closely mirror Tesla's than Google's. Where Google chose a friendly but ultimately odd design for their self-driving car, Tesla went down a more traditional route and has been widely praised for its looks while remaining appealing to buyers choosing between a Model S and a BMW.

Either way, it probably won't be a minivan.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 106
    payecopayeco Posts: 158member
    The "adequate" power rating is a Rolls Royce thing, not Bentley.
  • Reply 2 of 106
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    They mean nothing other than Apple execs like nice cars and can afford to buy them.
  • Reply 3 of 106
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,891member
    It should be noted that Volkswagen AG owns Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Ducati, Lamborghini and Porsche, among others.
  • Reply 4 of 106
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I'm not sure what the personal phones of Apple execs told us about the iPhone....
  • Reply 5 of 106
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    .... BMW 5 Series. The 5 Series is a 4-door sedan that has long been the car of choice for stock brokers, lawyers, and middle managers who want to have some fun but occasionally need to shuttle the kids to soccer practice.

     

    WTF?

     

    That hurts....

  • Reply 6 of 106
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,891member
    WTF?

    That hurts....

    Yeah, the extra bit of editorializing was wholly unnecessary. The late-1990's 5 Series used to be a great car.
  • Reply 7 of 106
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,329member
    I think Apple has got to be careful - people tend to think that wherever they are represents "normalcy" and Apple's execs are certainly not "normal" -- they're quite rich beyond the dreams of 99% (or more) of consumers. So if they produce products for themselves, those might be products that the majority of consumers either don't relate to or can't afford (unless Apple's objective is to create the equivalent of their highest-end Watch in a car - something only for the elite.)

    Furthermore, how credible can one be when you claim to want to do things to support the environment when you drive a 12-cylinder, 400-horsepower car? What does it get - 5 mpg?

    Having said that, I do think that most car design today is quite awful and most Japanese and European cars really look no different and don't have any better finishes than American cars. And the Japanese have certainly lost their former reputation for high quality cars with all the recent recalls, etc. While I'll admit to not being a big car person, there isn't one non-esoteric car out there that I look at and say to myself, "I have to have that".

    That's where Apple might excel if they are indeed getting into the car business (which I still don't happen to believe) - they could produce an incredibly elegant car at a theoretically affordable price because great body design doesn't necessarily mean a higher manufacturing cost.
  • Reply 8 of 106
    well there you have it, if you want to be able to change the battery you'll buy an Android one, but if you really feel you can't live without a unicorn mascot on your bonnet (beaten gold) go with Apple.
  • Reply 9 of 106
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    Yeah, the extra bit of editorializing was wholly unnecessary. The late-1990's 5 Series used to be a great car.

     

    The 5 Series is still a great car, but you have to admit that it has a fairly specific audience -- too young for a 7, too many responsibilities for a 3. 

  • Reply 10 of 106
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,548member
    nagromme wrote: »
    I'm not sure what the personal phones of Apple execs told us about the iPhone....

    Well considering they all hated their cell phones prior to the iPhone...
  • Reply 11 of 106
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,098member

    Ah, the operations guy drives a Camry. Just so... reasonable. 

  • Reply 12 of 106
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,343member

    This is meaningless. These are the kind of cars that executives from high-tech companies generally like, not just Apple execs.

     

    You'd see the same cars in the employee parking lots at Oracle, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Adobe, Broadcom, whatever.

  • Reply 13 of 106
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,343member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cornchip View Post

     

    Ah, the operations guy drives a Camry. Just so... reasonable. 




    It's probably one of the LNG models so he can get cheaper fuel, a tax credit and the Clean Air Vehicle sticker to drive in the HOV lane.

     

    :D 

  • Reply 14 of 106
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,041member
    gerry g wrote: »
    well there you have it, if you want to be able to change the battery you'll buy an Android one, but if you really feel you can't live without a unicorn mascot on your bonnet (beaten gold) go with Apple.
    Get the **** out you god damned fucking idiot troll!
  • Reply 15 of 106
    chelinchelin Posts: 52member
    Funny British cars are just a tad bit more crappy than american cars. They are more appealing to the eye though, but engineering-wise they suffer from the same incapability of building vehicles that seems to be due to the English language.
  • Reply 16 of 106
    Pointless article.
  • Reply 17 of 106
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    Is Cook ever not sensible?
  • Reply 18 of 106
    irelandireland Posts: 17,421member
    It won't be a minivan. Only a moron would make that conclusion.

    [IMG]http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/56787/width/200/height/400[/IMG]
  • Reply 19 of 106
    krreagankrreagan Posts: 218member
    "Either way, it probably won't be a minivan."

    I disagree! at least in part...

    If you make the assumption that it will be self-driving which is a no-brainer in my book. The the "sport" aspect will not impact it's design or at best only on a specific sport model but not on most.
    Apples entry will be in > 5 years, most likely closer to 10 years off, so their self-driving vehicles will not be the at the head of the pack. Apple has a way of obsoleting items it perceives as unnecessary or redundant (floppy, cd-rom...). In this case I suspect Apple will consider the human driver an unnecessary, redundancy and only include human controls if required by law.

    In this case, I would suspect that a "mini-van" configuration would be best as the human occupants would be consuming media of all types and doing work, ie. not paying attention to the road. Think mobile living room. This would put a premium on space and not "sports".

    While I love, love, love to drive! Even in the mountains and snow of Colorado, as a parent of three kids either driving or getting their permits, I can't wait until self-driving cars are the norm, I loose too much sleep at night with my kids out and about in a car... Go Apple!
  • Reply 20 of 106
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DarenDino View Post



    Pointless article.

    I found it rather interesting. :)

     

    Best.

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