Dubious supply chain report claims 'Apple Car' will arrive in September 2021

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in Future Apple Hardware
The often-rumored 'Apple Car' could arrive earlier than expected, a dubious report claims, with Apple apparently planning to introduce the self-designed vehicle in September 2021.




The "Apple Car" is a product that has supposedly been in the works for years, regularly surfacing in rumors, patent filings, and analyst speculation.

While it has been thought the vehicle may be years away from being introduced, a new report suggests that Apple may show off its in-development vehicle in the next year.

An element of the Apple supply chain in Taiwan alleges that Apple is making plans to release the Apple Car in September 2021, at least two years earlier than its original intended schedule. Apple is alleged to be rushing shipments through its supply chain, including from Taiwanese car part factories such as Heda, Heqin, Tomita, and BizLink-KY.

The report from the Economic Daily News, first spotted by MacRumors, also claims that other domestic auto part factories are accelerating production, which apparently signifies the "Apple Car" orders are anticipated to happen soon. Mass production by Heqin is expected to expand, with a completion of one relocation task by the end of 2020 and the opening of a fifth workshop for one plant anticipated to finish by the second quarter of 2021.

While the Economic Daily News has a decent track record in regards to what is going on within Apple's supply chain, it is quite poor at predicting release timing. It is entirely plausible that Apple is prodding its supply chain for car part production, but it seems extremely unlikely that it would be for a vehicle that will supposedly launch in 10 months time.

For a start, there is a considerable lead time required to produce vehicles, possibly on a par with iPhone development and production. The sheer number and size of parts for car production would necessitate major production facilities for assembly, which have yet to really appear in supply chain rumors so far.

Other car manufacturers have high levels of secrecy yet leaks for unreleased vehicles surface months ahead of their launch. A similar cycle would be expected for Apple's car if it were in the end-phases of shipping a vehicle.

It is more plausible that Apple's supply chain orders are an initial preparation stage to test the waters before heading into production, or for the creation of a small number of vehicles for testing purposes.

This all leads to it being highly unlikely that Apple would be ready for a September 2021 release of its vehicle. This doesn't discount the possibility of Apple offering a tease for the vehicle at that time, but a release is almost certainly going to be further away than the report claims.

By contrast, the usually more accurate analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has previously suggested that the "Apple Car" will be realised as a shipping consumer product by 2023 at the earliest.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    Very unlikely. Many regulatory hurdles - crash test certifications, etc - must be met before the cars could be licensed for road use. Apple’s attempts to pass these would have certainly leaked by now. Not to mention test cars spotted on roads. 
    lkruppmuthuk_vanalingamelijahgcornchipchiachemengin1
  • Reply 2 of 25
    September 2021? Of course, Apple is going to suck all the oxygen out of the news media and completely overshadow the release of iPhone 13. 

    Makes perfect sense. 

    I still think it is less likely they will be in the low-margin business of building cars, but will create a better brain  for safety and automation features. This will be something which can be licensed to different car manufacturers, as with CarPlay. Maybe their secret sauce is folding in an enhanced version of CarPlay with telematics and safety automations, some angle which makes Apple system better than the stock Mazda/Kia/VW in-house design. 

    This could even be rolled out as the iPhone was, when it had an exclusive with AT&T for several years before it opened up to all carriers. Hyundai and Kia could pay to have the exclusive access to this tech, which provides a wave of publicity, and keeps Apple from having to focus on too many variables while the product is in its infancy. 

    But none of this in September 20021...
    elijahg
  • Reply 3 of 25
    Apple Car still continues to boggle my mind as to why Apple would even, as a strategic business proposition, want to add such a product to its portfolio.

    In a future where cars are autonomous, why not just maximize the number of people who use their now-hands-free attention to work/play on an iPad or iPhone? Apple really wants to get into a product cycle that, for most people, is 5+ years? If not that particular market, then they intend to compete in the autonomous taxi space?
    edited December 2020 dewme
  • Reply 4 of 25
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,541member
    May be in video game!
    cornchip
  • Reply 5 of 25
    The most important element is going to be battery technology. There are indications that breakthroughs on that front are imminent and it would be classic Apple to hold off on launching the product a couple of years in order to bring it to market sporting a better underlying technology.  In other words, launch the product when the technology allows for it to be done right. Solid state batteries with twice the energy density and quicker charge times appear to be coming and that would mean launching an Apple car at a surprisingly affordable price point yet sporting a range that would make the product viable for a larger number of consumers. 

    The delay would in turn permit Apple to do the sort of thorough engineering it favours, especially important in developing systems it has never done before. Reliability, after all, is something important in a vehicle that operates in sometimes severe conditions and being a major expense, must function well over a long period of time. If Apple did release a car with interesting tech that gave owners all manner of problems in prolonged use, the result would not be worth the effort. 

    Product availability some time in 2023, seems quite doable, if the battery tech is ready for that date. What seems highly unlikely is that we’ll see an Apple car available for purchase in 2021. Teased, maybe, but on sale, no way.
  • Reply 6 of 25
    It occurred to me later the perfect analog to this story may be the expectation of an Apple TV.

    For years, analysts (e.g., Gene Munster) were saying Apple *needed to* have its own, branded television. There were reams of client reports on Apple predicting such a TV, and much analysis after Apple events when no such TV was announced.

    What *did* come to market, though, was AppleTV. Apple lets LG, Samsung, Vizio, etc make 3-10% of their televisions, and gets 25-30% on the AppleTV boxes.

    The only difference here with “Apple Car” is the manufacturer would buy the product and build it into the car, instead of the end user adding it to the vehicle post-purchase. I envision a spec list of specific models of radar, lidar, and cameras, all connected to a proprietary brain which is analyzing the data with proprietary software. Somewhere in here is a value proposition which involves new technology or a different way of crunching the data which makes it equal or superior to systems like Tesla, but in a car from any brand other than Tesla.

    A product like this has the potential to leapfrog some car brands years forward if their internal R&D is behind the competition on automation. Apple won’t get the 25-30% of margin like with AppleTV, but they’ll still do far better than the car manufacturer on the final sale.
    boxcatcher
  • Reply 7 of 25
    The only difference here with “Apple Car” is the manufacturer would buy the product and build it into the car, instead of the end user adding it to the vehicle post-purchase. I envision a spec list of specific models of radar, lidar, and cameras, all connected to a proprietary brain which is analyzing the data with proprietary software. Somewhere in here is a value proposition which involves new technology or a different way of crunching the data which makes it equal or superior to systems like Tesla, but in a car from any brand other than Tesla.
    Yes -- this strategy would fit with Apple's modus operandi.  If Apple created a hardware platform that enable Honda / Mercedes / etc. customers to swap out parts of their vehicles' sensor/driving suites, then that's a model that Apple would pursue.  

    Apple gets to keep engineering relatively small (physically) pieces of advanced technology in yearly cycles, having Foxconn (et al) manufacture them, and Apple gets to keep selling directly to a massive Customer population [who own Hondas, Fords, etc.].

    What would be wild about this is that it's essentially the opposite of what Apple did with smartphones -- whereas with iPhone, Apple built their own, vertically-integrated experience and Google took the Android approach of just supplying the finishing layer (OS), in this case it would be Tesla building its own, vertically-integrated experience and Apple taking a "just supply the finishing layer" (autonomy) approach.
    edited December 2020
  • Reply 8 of 25
    I would agree with the skeptics/cynics here, except then I notice that investors believe Telsa is the greatest stock in the history of forever.  Clearly someone thinks there is money to be made in the smart electric car market.
  • Reply 9 of 25
    Why would Apple make a product with a gross margin of under 10%, a car?  I just don’t understand how a car fits Apple’s business. Help me understand.

    boxcatchergeorge kaplan
  • Reply 10 of 25
    Weren’t we also told for years that Apple was going to make their own TVs? 
  • Reply 11 of 25
    I’d never drive a car assembled by the same 5 y/o Foxconn slaves that assemble iPhones
    edited December 2020
  • Reply 12 of 25
    RS232 said:
    Why would Apple make a product with a gross margin of under 10%, a car?  I just don’t understand how a car fits Apple’s business. Help me understand.

    It'll be a really expensive car!

    Not sure if I'm joking.
    cornchiprandominternetperson
  • Reply 13 of 25
    I would agree with the skeptics/cynics here, except then I notice that investors believe Telsa is the greatest stock in the history of forever.  Clearly someone thinks there is money to be made in the smart electric car market.
    Musk is the only reason Tesla works. He’s as much a personality and meme as Steve Jobs was to his fans. Their product is still rather sloppily built with tolerances that make car enthusiasts wince, but they dominate their market.
    razorpitrandominternetpersonchemengin1
  • Reply 14 of 25
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,856member
    LoL apple is not going to become a parts supplier.

    IF they ever decide to get into the auto industry (any more than they already are with CarPlay), it will be with the real deal. An actual car. 

    I’d be shocked if it were in the next 18-24mo though. 

    If I were them I’d do a vertical assembly setup like Czinger is doing. 
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 15 of 25
    1348513485 Posts: 190member
    Very unlikely. Many regulatory hurdles - crash test certifications, etc - must be met before the cars could be licensed for road use. Apple’s attempts to pass these would have certainly leaked by now. Not to mention test cars spotted on roads. 
    If you mean very unlikely by sometime this coming year, agreed.  [edited]

    As far as being seen on public roads, Apple owns its own very large private testing area, bought several years ago.
    edited December 2020
  • Reply 16 of 25
    There are so many fully electric high end cars hitting the street right now. Audi, Porsche, and others. If Apple really does have an actual physical car, the window of opportunity seems to be narrowing. But it's really hard to predict. Apple could also have the next generation game changing car.
  • Reply 17 of 25
    1348513485 Posts: 190member
    Apple Car still continues to boggle my mind as to why Apple would even, as a strategic business proposition, want to add such a product to its portfolio.

    In a future where cars are autonomous, why not just maximize the number of people who use their now-hands-free attention to work/play on an iPad or iPhone? Apple really wants to get into a product cycle that, for most people, is 5+ years? If not that particular market, then they intend to compete in the autonomous taxi space?
    Well, it's quite unlikely that any near future would be standard with autonomous vehicles, given the slow and problematic developments so far. And that's without the state / federal approval and the insurance industry buy-in. Ain't happening anytime soon, and I was one who thought otherwise a couple of years ago.

    As far as a business proposition, Tesla seems to be doing OK, Rivian and others seem to be making progress, and Apple doesn't even need outside funding to do it. It could be a new division entirely. 
  • Reply 18 of 25
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    RS232 said:
    Why would Apple make a product with a gross margin of under 10%, a car?  I just don’t understand how a car fits Apple’s business. Help me understand.

    What makes you think they would price it so that they only made 10% margin?
    randominternetpersoncornchip
  • Reply 19 of 25
    RS232 said:
    Why would Apple make a product with a gross margin of under 10%, a car?  I just don’t understand how a car fits Apple’s business. Help me understand.

    Cars are increasingly more about electrification and electronics, areas which Apple does well. There is a lot to be gained from attempting to develop a car. It provides Apple with solutions that can be applied to other products and, at worst, even if a car does not materialize, what will happen is that Apple may well develop solutions that could be provided to various automakers. As such, even if the car project failed to bear fruit in the form of a car, the effort can yield a lot. 

    So what we have is Apple working on a project that has a high potential to yield benefits regardless of what Apple chooses to do with it over the long haul. It has the resources to contribute to this effort without a payoff for quite a few years, something most companies simply can’t afford. 
  • Reply 20 of 25
    Tesla’s gross margin exceeds 20%.

    randominternetperson
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