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Apple’s ambitious goal of entering the automotive market is no secret up in Silicon Valley. As far back as 2014, reports began circulating that Apple was planning to design, develop and build its own self-branded autonomous vehicle from scratch, under the guise of a (not-so-secret) in-house initiative dubbed Project Titan..
In the years since, Apple’s Project Titan team has weathered a number of transitions, including complete shifts in direction, and even a high-profile reorganization at the managerial level.
Back in 2016, Apple reportedly shifted the project’s goal of developing a self-branded Apple Car, to (unsuccessfully) pursuing strategic partnerships with various auto-makers in a bid to equip their vehicles with “Apple Car” software and services.
Ultimately, last year, the company shifted its focus entirely, from developing a car and pursuing partnerships, to honing in on the autonomous self-driving software platform that powers them.
While Apple’s Project Titan team is currently believed to be working on a new autonomous employee shuttle system for the company’s personal use, a more interesting revelation, as of just last week, is that former Apple engineering executive Doug Field recently joined the company again after serving a years-long employment at Tesla — ostensibly fueling a whole new round of speculation that an actual Apple Car might still be in the works after all.
Adding to that speculation is a new research note from by ever-reliable Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo, who now works as an analyst for the Taiwan-based TF International Securities, prophesied this week that the full-scope of Apple’s Project Titan will take the form of a consumer product, shipping sometime between 2023 and 2025.
In the note, a copy of which was obtained by Apple Insider, Kuo goes on to provide fresh insight into Apple’s recent trillion-dollar valuation milestone, while speculating that between the release of its mysterious self-driving car product, a booming and ever-expanding services business, and new AR projects including Apple Glass, the tech-giant’s valuation is poised to double to $2 trillion or more by that time.
“Apple’s leading technology advantages (e.g. AR) would redefine cars and differentiate Apple Car from peers’ products,” Kuo wrote, adding that “Apple’s service will grow significantly by entering the huge car finance market via Apple Car, and […] Apple can do a better integration of hardware, software, and service than current competitors in the consumer electronics sector and potential competitors in the auto sector.”
How Kuo arrived at this estimation is not entirely clear, and he provides no new or additional details about the Apple Car project, itself — above and beyond his speculation that whatever the company is working on will be available to buy in as little as five years..
He does note how Apple can leverage a “potentially huge” and burgeoning demand for innovative new technologies for automotive applications, and goes on to compare the current state of the car market to the state of the smartphone market prior to Apple launching its iPhone 11-years-ago.
It’s still unclear what Apple is actually developing for its foray into the automotive market — be it a physical car, the underlying software mechanisms, or perhaps a package of inter-connected technologies designed for vehicle-wide enhancement — but the company’s recent hiring moves, and Kuo’s nearly indisputable track record in foretelling of its products, leave plenty of room for wishful speculation.