The so-called Apple Car has been running through the rumor mill for a while now, with many expecting that Apple will release its own car by the end of the decade.
What some people might not know is the fact that former Apple CEO, the late Steve Jobs, actually considered working towards an Apple Car back in 2008, but instead chose to concentrate on the iPhone.
The news comes from a then senior vice president at Apple, Tony Fadell, who says that he distinctly remembers discussing larger products with Steve Jobs, most notable the potential for an iCar.
Jobs and Fadell had collaborated so far on the iPod and the iPhone, and even went as far as to swap ideas for a car design on a number of occasions. According to Fadell, the discussions involved answering questions like “what would a dashboard be?” and “what would seats be?”
As you can probably tell, in the end Jobs decided not to pursue the iCar. At the time, the American auto industry looked like it was about to collapse, and Apple itself was too busy trying to push the iPhone into the mainstream. Since that time, however, the Detroit auto industry has rebounded, making it a great time to get into making cars.
In fact, a number of high profile tech companies are entering the auto industry, with the most notable companies being the likes of Google and Uber. Google has said that it is looking to design a car that could go into production by 2020. While Apple certainly hasn’t been as public speculation suggests that the company is also hoping to enter the industry at around that time. With over $200 billion in cash, it certainly has the resources to be able to do so.
In fact, according to Fadell, cars and phones aren’t really that different.
“A car has batteries; it has a computer; it has a motor; and it has mechanical structure. If you look at an iPhone, it has all the same things. It even has a motor in it,” said Fadell, who has since become the chief executive officer at Alphabet’s Nest home appliance company. “But the hard stuff is really on the connectivity and how cars could be self-driving.”
In fact, Apple’s interest in cars reportedly goes even before the 2008 discussions. Apple senior vice president said in a 2012 court testimony that the company was discussing the possibility of a car before it even released the iPhone.
Of course, as anyone interested in Steve Jobs will know, the CEO said “no” to a lot of projects. Plenty of projects were proposed to Jobs at the time, including things like cameras and televisions, however in the end Jobs reportedly wanted to change the world with the iPhone.
That doesn’t mean, however, that we’ll never see a car from Apple. Apple is a different company now under Tim Cook, and the auto industry in great shape, and it is certainly ready for a revolution when it comes to electric cars.
Not only that, but with Google working on a self-driving car of its own, Apple will surely want to compete.
So what would an Apple Car look like? Well, it will have a very heavy focus on design, as any Apple product would. If Apple were to release a car around 2020, the car would need to be self-driving and include smart car features like Internet connectivity and a high-tech security system. Not only that, but it will need to seamlessly interact with products like the user’s iPhone and Mac.
The evidence suggesting that Apple is readying itself for a new car is piling. The company has been hiring a number of new employees over the past few months, with these employees reportedly having been poached from companies like Tesla and other major auto companies to work on the new product. Apple has even reportedly been scoping out a location to test its new car in secrecy.
It will certainly be interesting to see what Apple comes up with when it does finally release the Apple Car, however under this much scrutiny the company will need to be careful to not let any seriously revealing leaks out, which could be difficult.