Apple, TSMC rumored to be working on chips for a Tesla-like 'Apple Car'

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Apple is reportedly working with supply chain partner TSMC on an autonomous vehicle chip for an "Apple Car" said to be similar to a Tesla.

A illustration of an Apple Car.
A illustration of an Apple Car.


The Cupertino tech giant's Project Titan is thought to be focused on developing technology to facilitate self-driving cars, but other reports indicate that Apple could be developing its own vehicle as well.

On Wednesday, DigiTimes reported that Apple is working with TSMC, or the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, on self-driving chip technology. It goes on to claim that both companies have established plans for a factory to produce "Apple Car" chips in the U.S., and are currently negotiating with upstream and downstream supplies in the automotive electronics supply chain.

The Taiwan-based media outlet also added that the "Apple Car model is similar to Tesla," but failed to expand on what that means.

DigiTimes has a mixed track record of accurate Apple information. Though its supply chain reporting typically holds up, it has struggled with reporting on Apple's future plans. Because of that, it's worth taking this report with a grain of salt.

Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has previously forecast that Apple would source self-driving car chips from TSMC. Kuo maintains that the "Apple Car" could debut between 2023 and 2025.

Additionally, TSMC is still mulling the construction of a chip manufacturing facility in Arizona. It's possible that DigiTimes is conflating these reports with rumors of an Apple autonomous vehicle.

Rumors about Project Titan have surfaced periodically over the years. Although the project has been beset by changes in direction and staff cuts, development on autonomous systems appears to be continuing.

On Tuesday, a report indicated that Apple had transferred its self-driving car team under the leadership of its AI and machine learning chief. That report also suggested that Apple is still deciding whether to launch its own vehicle, design self-driving systems for other car makers, or release an aftermarket kit compatibility with third-party automobiles.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    DigiTimes. Not credible.

    Nuff said.
    lkruppJWSCflyingdp
  • Reply 2 of 30
    They had better bring their blacker-than-black game... can’t have BMW being the only one with nano-black tech on cars!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 30
    Apple is still deciding whether to launch its own vehicle, design self-driving systems for other car makers, or release an aftermarket kit compatibility with third-party automobiles.”

    My bet is on own vehicle. 
    JWSCdk49watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 30
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 862member
    Now that Musk, the ego, is pulling out of California, Apple will have an EV manufacturing facility available for cheap. But, what about quality workers. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 30
    I would imagine Apple would have more interest in selling the chips to other car manufacturers than getting in the low-margin game of selling cars. This is a company which prides itself in keeping zero inventory of finished goods, which is not how cars are typically sold. The regulation as a manufacturer and as a seller would be radically different from the current business.

    unless they build a car with built-in VR and you just think you’re going somewhere...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 30
    1348513485 Posts: 194member
    It pretty much has to be an Apple car, because it's one thing to license Car Play to manufacturers that have no real expertise in touch screen and phone interfaces, it's quite another to try to get them to buy in on actual automotive components that they probably feel they have their own in-house talent to do (or have already been working on). Will GM or Mercedes care about Apple's heads-up display or door closures or other inventions? I say no.
    jdb8167JWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 30
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,642member
    I would imagine Apple would have more interest in selling the chips to other car manufacturers than getting in the low-margin game of selling cars. This is a company which prides itself in keeping zero inventory of finished goods, which is not how cars are typically sold. The regulation as a manufacturer and as a seller would be radically different from the current business.

    unless they build a car with built-in VR and you just think you’re going somewhere...

    When has Apple done this?
  • Reply 8 of 30
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,642member
    13485 said:
    It pretty much has to be an Apple car, because it's one thing to license Car Play to manufacturers that have no real expertise in touch screen and phone interfaces, it's quite another to try to get them to buy in on actual automotive components that they probably feel they have their own in-house talent to do (or have already been working on). Will GM or Mercedes care about Apple's heads-up display or door closures or other inventions? I say no.
    I think Apple has learned it's lesson on partnering with other companies.

    Look how Google stole Apple tech to make cheap knockoffs.

    Apple will release a Car or nothing at all.
    dave marshJWSCpatchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 30
    Finally, there's more rumors! I like more rumors, that means the product might be coming in a year or two
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 30
    larryjw said:
    Now that Musk, the ego, is pulling out of California, Apple will have an EV manufacturing facility available for cheap. But, what about quality workers. 
    “Musk, the ego”? Someone either forgot or has no idea who Steve Jobs was.
    plastico23flyingdppatchythepirateavon b7caladanian
  • Reply 11 of 30
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,112member
    Beats said:
    I would imagine Apple would have more interest in selling the chips to other car manufacturers than getting in the low-margin game of selling cars. This is a company which prides itself in keeping zero inventory of finished goods, which is not how cars are typically sold. The regulation as a manufacturer and as a seller would be radically different from the current business.

    unless they build a car with built-in VR and you just think you’re going somewhere...

    When has Apple done this?
    They sell (or at least they used to, not sure if it's changed) certified lightning chips to peripheral manufacturers.  And they provide Apple TV software to TV makers.
  • Reply 12 of 30
    jdb8167jdb8167 Posts: 621member
    I wonder if Apple already has a car partner lined up which is why they have sudden movement on this project which seemed nearly dead. I also doubt that Apple can market a stand alone car chip/board but with a partner lined up, the odds change. Don't doubt that plenty of companies have taken note of what is happening at Intel since they rejected Apple's offer to partner on the iPhone.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 30
    They had better bring their blacker-than-black game... can’t have BMW being the only one with nano-black tech on cars!
    The company that makes the paint says you shouldn't do this.  The DYC guys says you shouldn't do this.  Technically, you could do this.  But don't.  It would most assuredly cause an accident.  Looks cool as all get out though.

    Japhey
  • Reply 14 of 30
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,052member
    larryjw said:
    Now that Musk, the ego, is pulling out of California, Apple will have an EV manufacturing facility available for cheap. But, what about quality workers. 
    You do realize that Tesla is the last major auto manufacturer in California, and that SpaceX is the last major aerospace manufacturer in California.

    It’s not ego.

    California has been doing it’s best to make manufacturing in that state economically unviable.  Most everyone else has left.
    patchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 30
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,052member
    jdb8167 said:
    I wonder if Apple already has a car partner lined up which is why they have sudden movement on this project which seemed nearly dead. I also doubt that Apple can market a stand alone car chip/board but with a partner lined up, the odds change. Don't doubt that plenty of companies have taken note of what is happening at Intel since they rejected Apple's offer to partner on the iPhone.
    Apple doesn’t do OEM.  It’s car or nuthin’.
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 30
    larryjw said:
    Now that Musk, the ego, is pulling out of California, Apple will have an EV manufacturing facility available for cheap. But, what about quality workers. 
    “Musk, the ego”? Someone either forgot or has no idea who Steve Jobs was.
    Jobs is dead. Musk lives. I'd never been much a fan of Jobs either. 
  • Reply 17 of 30

    JWSC said:
    larryjw said:
    Now that Musk, the ego, is pulling out of California, Apple will have an EV manufacturing facility available for cheap. But, what about quality workers. 
    You do realize that Tesla is the last major auto manufacturer in California, and that SpaceX is the last major aerospace manufacturer in California.

    It’s not ego.

    California has been doing it’s best to make manufacturing in that state economically unviable.  Most everyone else has left.
    Corporate citizenship should be real. Musk makes money but costs the state billions to clean up the mess left. It's not as though we don't have engineers who can build products and not damage the world in the process. It just costs money and that money should be part of the cost of goods sold, not leaving the responsibility to make the world a better place solely on government and taxes. 
    flyingdpAI_lias
  • Reply 18 of 30
    JWSC said:
    jdb8167 said:
    I wonder if Apple already has a car partner lined up which is why they have sudden movement on this project which seemed nearly dead. I also doubt that Apple can market a stand alone car chip/board but with a partner lined up, the odds change. Don't doubt that plenty of companies have taken note of what is happening at Intel since they rejected Apple's offer to partner on the iPhone.
    Apple doesn’t do OEM.  It’s car or nuthin’.
    Except you have no idea what they are working on. Why does it have to be a complete car designed by Apple? I can easily see an Apple car co-designed by Apple and existing car manufacturer. It could still be an Apple car. "Designed in California manufactured in Japan by Mitsubishi."

    Apple doesn't do what everyone expects. They are very good at surprising the markets if you haven't noticed. I still suspect it will be nothing though.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 30
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,642member
    jdb8167 said:
    JWSC said:
    jdb8167 said:
    I wonder if Apple already has a car partner lined up which is why they have sudden movement on this project which seemed nearly dead. I also doubt that Apple can market a stand alone car chip/board but with a partner lined up, the odds change. Don't doubt that plenty of companies have taken note of what is happening at Intel since they rejected Apple's offer to partner on the iPhone.
    Apple doesn’t do OEM.  It’s car or nuthin’.
    Except you have no idea what they are working on. Why does it have to be a complete car designed by Apple? I can easily see an Apple car co-designed by Apple and existing car manufacturer. It could still be an Apple car. "Designed in California manufactured in Japan by Mitsubishi."

    Apple doesn't do what everyone expects. They are very good at surprising the markets if you haven't noticed. I still suspect it will be nothing though.

    None of us know. We are going by history.

    Also that tagline is like saying "Designed by Apple in California manufactured in China by Foxconn".
    edited December 2020
  • Reply 20 of 30
    Beats said:
    jdb8167 said:
    JWSC said:
    jdb8167 said:
    I wonder if Apple already has a car partner lined up which is why they have sudden movement on this project which seemed nearly dead. I also doubt that Apple can market a stand alone car chip/board but with a partner lined up, the odds change. Don't doubt that plenty of companies have taken note of what is happening at Intel since they rejected Apple's offer to partner on the iPhone.
    Apple doesn’t do OEM.  It’s car or nuthin’.
    Except you have no idea what they are working on. Why does it have to be a complete car designed by Apple? I can easily see an Apple car co-designed by Apple and existing car manufacturer. It could still be an Apple car. "Designed in California manufactured in Japan by Mitsubishi."

    Apple doesn't do what everyone expects. They are very good at surprising the markets if you haven't noticed. I still suspect it will be nothing though.

    None of us know. We are going by history.

    Also that tagline is like saying "Designed by Apple in California manufactured in China by Foxconn".
    Partnering with someone is pretty different than hiring them as an OEM. It is actually possible that Apple would use a manufacturing strategy like they do for all their other hardware products but I'm not sure you can hire an OEM car manufacturer. History says that Apple doesn't manufacture their hardware products, they hire someone to do it. What contract car manufacturers are out there--not snark, I honestly don't know if they exist.

    Edit: hardware products
    edited December 2020
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