Decade-old Apple Car project may be completely dead

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited February 28

A report on Tuesday claims that Apple's long-running car project also known as "Project Titan" has been killed.

Front view of a car in silhouette with a glowing Apple logo on the grille against a dark background.
Apple Car may be cancelled



Details are scant at the moment, but in a report on Tuesday, Bloomberg Mark Gurman says that the Apple Car program is finally completely gone.

Apple is said to have announced the death of the project on Tuesday, surprising the 2000 workers said to be working on the project. Apple Chief Operating officer Jeff Williams and Vice President Kevin Lynch made the announcement.



Some of the employees are said to be moving to Apple's artificial intelligence development and research houses under the leadership of John Giannandrea. It's not clear where the rest will go, or if there are any relevant offices for them to move to.

The decision is said to have been made by senior Apple leadership within the last few weeks. AppleInsider has reached out for comment -- but we aren't expecting to hear back.

Apple Car -- a long and winding road



The earliest mentions of Apple's automotive project were in fall 2014, when AppleInsider was informed that Apple was in the process of recruiting engineers. Those engineers were said to have been hired for a project called "Titan," the rumors were not able to be verified, so they were not published at the time.

Months later, the details of the rumors were corroborated by other sources and outlets, indicating there was some truth to what was claimed, as well as the "Project Titan" name.

By March 2015, it was believed Apple was working on an electric car in offices in Sunnyvale, California. Said to be the home of a market research firm called "SixtyEight," the building was apparently known internally as "SG5," and was among other Apple-run offices. AppleInsider broke the story by visiting the location and examining the buildings, and related filings.

The building was a few minutes away from Apple's then-HQ at 1 Infinite Loop, and sources claimed Apple was actively receiving shipments related to the work there. Overall, Apple's offices consisted of seven buildings, making up almost 300,000 square feet, though many were used for other tasks.

Offices in Sunnyvale reportedly occupied by Apple
Offices in Sunnyvale reportedly occupied by Apple



One at street number "175" seemingly didn't have a listed tenant, despite not being on the market for months at that time, and included a 4,239-square-foot "repair garage" among building permits for tenant improvements. An in-person visit revealed it to be the home of "SixtyEight Research."

The secrecy of the project at the offices apparently extended to Apple employees being told to turn their badges around when entering the building. Guests visiting the location were given badges that were identical to those used at Apple's HQ, but without an Apple logo.

The use of frosted glass and visible security cameras suggests a level of secrecy beyond a typical research firm. A piece of paper taped to the front door informed drivers the company's lobby was moved to a different address, a building leased by Apple.

"SixtyEight LLC" was registered in Delaware in March 2014, then licensed as a foreign corporation in California in November 2014. Given Apple's historical use of shell corporations to hide secret projects, it is plausible that this was also the case.

The company also paid to import a 1957 Fiat Multipla 600 from the U.K. to the U.S. Apple Design chief Jony Ive was said to have a soft spot for the Fiat 500, which could be another connection to Apple.

In a wide-ranging report from Bloomberg in December 2022, the Apple Car is thought to be taking longer to produce, due to Apple making changes to the project.

Rather than a full-blown self-driving system, Apple was instead planning on a design of car that is more conventional, complete with steering wheel and pedals. Fully-autonomous driving would still be available, but only on highways, the sources claimed.

A launch was also pencilled in for 2026.

As well as a change in timescale, Apple was also apparently altering its pricing plans too. Initially expecting to sell the Apple Car for more than $120,000, Apple was thought to be planning for it to cost consumers less than $100,000.

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said in June 2023 that Apple Car is on the way, with a 2026 launch prediction.

He previously, in February 2021, said there was an 85% chance of Apple formally announcing a strategic car partnership within the following three to six months, which evidently didn't happen.

In a September 2023 forecast, Ming-Chi Kuo claims he has lost visibility on the Apple Car, and doesn't have clarity on when it will enter production.

"If Apple doesn't adopt an acquisition strategy to enter the automotive market, I doubt that the Apple Car can go into mass production within the next years," Kuo tweeted.

Rumor Score: Likely

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 74
    i think this was just too big of a challenge for apple

    maybe those staff can have another go on the AirPower 
    retrogustograndact73nubusappleinsideruserzeus423williamlondonlongpath
  • Reply 2 of 74
    red oakred oak Posts: 1,088member
    Focus is about saying “No” 

    https://youtu.be/0GD57UQg4X4?feature=shared
    mrbowfingerjas99loquitursocalreyzeus423entropysAlex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 74
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 2,075member
    Cooks Apple either doesn't have guts for Risk or vision .
    grandact73elijahgmwstudiowilliamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 74
    All employees are shifted to Generative AI.
    It shows how urgent it is to develop Generative AI. 
    It shows how the pressure is to bring out some functions related to Generative AI. 

    Apple is far behind at Generative AI. 

    Apple Car has never made sense. 
    elijahgstarof80dewmestevenozjeffharriszeus423williamlondonentropysjony0
  • Reply 5 of 74
    1348513485 Posts: 347member
    I don't think it was too big of a challenge for Apple, as other newer companies have entered the field with far less in terms of manpower and money. The bigger issue is that there was no champion for the project, and the constantly shifting management was a significant problem and troubling indicator.

    As much as I wanted to see this brought to market, it should have been put to death long ago--again, nobody home when reality knocked, including Tim.

    Unless this is all a rumor, then "Nevermind"
    starof80williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 74
    k2kw said:
    Cooks Apple either doesn't have guts for Risk or vision .
    So the Apple Vision Pro was neither an example of guts for risk or vision?  I think most people would disagree.
    jas99loquiturdave marshstarof809secondkox2paisleydiscoronnAfarstarretrogustojeffharris
  • Reply 7 of 74
    jas99jas99 Posts: 150member
    This is a very good thing. I was very relieved to read this article.

    Having a great deal of experience in the auto industry over decades, I can tell you this is a field that Apple should stay away from.

    It could be the worst of all businesses, bettter only than the hospitality industry. The auto industry has incredibly low margins, is highly capital intensive, has a great deal of exposure to lawsuits, and the list of negative attributes goes on and on. 

    The ability to say, “No.” is one of Apple‘s greatest strengths. 
    loquiturJFC_PAkkqd1337MisterKitpaisleydiscodewmeronnAfarstarappleinsideruserstevenoz
  • Reply 8 of 74
    jas99jas99 Posts: 150member
    kkqd1337 said:
    i think this was just too big of a challenge for apple

    maybe those staff can have another go on the AirPower 
    No. This was an excellent decision. Apple should stay as far away from the automotive industry as possible.
    jeffharrislongpathwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 74
    Happy they tried. Happier they’re moving along to other things. 
    ronnAfarstarSpitbathapplebynaturewatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 74
    The Apple Car makes far more sense than the Vision Pro. No one has to explain to the consumer what a car does and why you 
    should consider buying one. No consumer knows or cares what to do with the Vision Pro.  Great technology but you can't get anyone
    to wear 3D Glasses without complaining. I think Apple is making a big mistake if they abandon the EV. They spent 8 years developing 
    the Vision Pro and the average consumer has no idea of why they need one. Why. Because they don't have any practical use right now.
    elijahgwilliamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 74
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 3,063member
    jas99 said:
    kkqd1337 said:
    i think this was just too big of a challenge for apple

    maybe those staff can have another go on the AirPower 
    No. This was an excellent decision. Apple should stay as far away from the automotive industry as possible.
    I agree with the sentiment for the reasons (and others) stated. But let's not paint too broadly here. CarPlay is an excellent product, and it is closely tied to "the automotive industry." There may be a similar role for technology in (other manufacturers' automobiles) Apple would be wise to explore further. Making their own branded car, not so much. 

    I see AAPL stock is up after this story was published. 
    starof80ronnstevenozjeffharrisentropyswatto_cobrajas99
  • Reply 12 of 74
    I  never did think that Apple would ever build "a car".  Rather they used the program to explore opportunities to bring the Apple ecosystem into vehicles much as they have with HomeKit in the home.   CarPlay works very well (but could work much better) in nearly all of my vehicles and I expect Apple to continue "pulling on that string" as Tim says...
    starof80hmurchisonronnjeffharrislongpathchasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 74
    M68000M68000 Posts: 725member
    jas99 said:
    kkqd1337 said:
    i think this was just too big of a challenge for apple

    maybe those staff can have another go on the AirPower 
    No. This was an excellent decision. Apple should stay as far away from the automotive industry as possible.
    Perhaps they should have made “decision” 10 years ago.  It seems pretty clear that electric car sales have stalled along with possibly interest in them from large majority of consumers.  Cold weather battery issues and heavy tire wear of EV’s are just 2 of their problems. The hybrid approach is gaining ground while current ICE cars are not going anywhere anytime soon and other fuel technologies could be available to more consumers soon?  It seemed that Apple would only have been interested in a full electric vehicle, correct?  If so, could these latest market trends have been the final straw so to speak for Apple to end whatever they have been doing?
    edited February 27 ronnwilliamlondonlongpathwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 74
    [....]
    Apple Car has never made sense. 

    Since the Tesla Model 3 debuted as a minimalist software-driven iPad on wheels, indeed, an Apple effort never made sense. (Although I don't drink Elon Musk Koolaid, I'm quite happy with my Tesla, only needing windshield washer fluid and tires over the last five years.)

    What value did they think they would add?  Apple doesn't do much in the way of batteries, etc. I'd really like to know
    from the ex- amps among the 2,000 what Apple thought their angle would be over just being a "me too" EV.
    Further, why did it take them that long to "say no" -- just bureaucracy?

    williamlondonAlex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 74
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 1,293member
    Not surprised, Apple executives spend a lot of time in China and have seen that the Chinese EV industry is advanced and over capacity.  Tesla’s profit margins have been gradually narrowing and will probably end up to the rest of the automotive industry.

    I could see the UI research and software being transformed to a service for the rest of the automotive industry as they are about to be hit by a tsunami of Chinese EV imports, especially the European brands.
    longpathwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 74
    Apple should kill the Apple Car as much as they did not Enter the TV screen manufacturing Industry. 

    Too low margin ! Too low volume for what Apple need for a success full and monetary sense product.

    Let the EV manufacturers battle to earn the same as Apple does on One product line. 

    Although - I wished to have an AppleCar when I retire !
    jeffharristmayAlex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 74
    If true, then. it's no wonder they had to push out a VR headset despite staff objections.

    Will be interesting to follow this. 

    I think. it's a worthwhile avenue to pursue - but with only Tesla seeming to make any real financial success with it (and then. only after toiling for years), it's an uphill battle. Wish the Hyundai partnership would have worked out. Hyundai/Kia is killing it these days.
  • Reply 18 of 74
    I think it was never a car, I think it was always CarPlay 2.0
    9secondkox2cornchipchasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 74
    Nooooooooooo!!! 
    9secondkox2watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 74
    If true, move the expertise to work on a flying car or consumer jetpack.   
    edited February 27 9secondkox2watto_cobra
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