There is a 50% to 60% probability for the Apple Car to become a reality, according to Gene Munster, a senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray in a note to investors on Wednesday.
It was widely speculated that Apple is secretly developing an electric car under “Project Titan.” Munster suggested if the tech giant is really developing the Apple Car; it would take “closer to ten years than five years” before it would become available on the market.
Apple Car expected to compete in the automobile luxury market
According to Munster, “the auto industry represents a significant opportunity for Apple,” and the company would be “deliberate as always in its product development and testing.” He expected the Apple Car to compete in the automobile luxury market based on the fact that the tech giant is focused on the “elegance of design” and it does not want to sacrifice experience for a price.
Furthermore, Munster suggested Apple is also focused on connectivity with its other products and autonomous features for the Apple Car. Other technology analysts and observers suggested that the tech giant is probably developing a self-driving car after The Guardian reported that the company signed a non-disclosure agreement with the management of GoMomentum Station, a trial driving park with high-level security. Companies often use the station to test autonomous and connected vehicle applications.
It had been reported that the tech giant has a team of more than 200 automobile engineers working on the Apple Car. In fact, Apple is poaching talents from Tesla Motors. Most recently, the tech giant hired Jamie Carlson, an engineer who previously worked on Tesla’s auto-pilot self-driving car program. Carlson is now working with Apple’s special projects group.
Previous reports suggested that Steve Zadesky, a veteran at Ford Motor Company is leading the Project Titan and has been looking a manufacturing partner in Austria. An Apple employee previously told Business Insider the company is working on a project that would “give Tesla a run for its money.”
There had been speculations that Apple would probably acquire Tesla Motors, which was viewed by some people as a logical move. However, during a shareholder meeting in March, Apple CEO Tim Cook brushed off that suggestion. When a shareholder told Mr. Cook, “I’d like to see you guys buy Tesla.” He replied, “We don’t really have a relationship with Tesla. I’d love Tesla to pick up CarPlay. Was that a good way to avoid the question?”
Other comments/reports about Apple Car
In April, Bernstein analysts commented that the idea of an Apple Car is “not totally outlandish.” They emphasized that Apple needs to overcome many technical barriers and align a series of revolutionary developments simultaneously such as electric power trains and autonomous driving to become competitive in the auto industry.
The analysts also noted that Apple aims for domination when entering a business category and it is evaluating the auto industry. At the time, they believed that the tech giant was already at the concept design stage of building an Apple Car, which is likely an all-electric, autonomous and offers a unique and compelling consumer experience. The tech giant is expected to sell the Apple Car at a premium price, which means it will be a luxury vehicle.
In May, activist investor Carl Icahn suggested an Apple Car release by 2020 in an open letter to Tim Cook. A previous report from Bloomberg also indicated that the company is pushing its team to start production of an electric vehicle by 2020.
Last month, Global Equities Securities suggested that Apple is designing a large touch screen windshield for the Apple Car. According to the firm, the touch screen measures 50 inches, and it can be controlled by gestures.