According to a report in The Guardian, Apple has furthered its plans to begin developing an Apple Car in the foreseeable future. The prospect of Apple producing an electric vehicle will certainly be an attractive one for fans of the corporation all over the world. And although this perhaps seemed like an unlikely rumor initially, it seems increasingly possible that Apple does indeed have an Apple Car in the pipeline.
Apple documents suggest Apple Car plans
The Guardian has reported this week that Apple executives have discussed their plans for a so-called autonomous vehicle with officials at California’s Department of Motor Vehicles. This would be the strongest indication yet that Apple is indeed planning to release an electric vehicle in the foreseeable future.
Reports have not merely been based on hearsay, actual documents have been obtained by the British newspaper, indicating that plans for the Apple Car are certainly well underway. The documents obtained by The Guardian indicate that Mike Maletic, a senior legal counsel at Apple, held a meeting with self-driving car experts Bernard Soriano, DMV deputy director, and Stephanie Dougherty, chief of strategic planning. These two individuals are co-sponsors of California’s autonomous vehicle regulation project. And a third attendee was Brian Soublet; the department’s deputy director and chief counsel.
These sort of names being present at the meeting with Apple clearly indicates that the consumer electronics giant is taking the idea of producing an Apple Car very seriously indeed. Analysts have been considering the concept of an Apple Car for a while, and there have been differences of opinion regarding the likelihood of such an electric vehicle emerging. Certainly there will be technical and logistical challenges for Apple to deal with in order to produce an Apple Car, but at the same time the incentives for the corporation to do so are clear and numerous.
Apple investigates new revenue sources
Apple is seeking a new streams of revenue in order to convince the city that it has the potential to continue to grow revenue in the longer-term. Although Apple remains the largest corporation on the planet in terms of market capitalization, its share price has declined recently as investors remain sceptical about the potential of the corporation to grow its income in the future.
An Apple Car could clearly play a major role in diversifying Apple’s interests, being a massive departure from the consumer electronics products that the California-based company usually produces. On the other hand, manufacturing an Apple Car would certainly come with its fair share of challenges as well.
Although Apple already has a formidable supply chain in place, manufacturing something on the scale of an electric vehicle would be a massive departure for the corporation. While Apple unquestionably has huge experience of producing consumer electronics on a mass scale, an Apple Car would require production of a completely different magnitude.
And producing roadworthy vehicles certainly isn’t a straightforward undertaking. The Apple Car would need to impress the notoriously fastidious motoring press in order to attract an audience, and could be considered as much of a risk as an opportunity for the corporation. Apple has been extremely careful in the past about developing products that could conceivably damage its almost unequalled branding image. Certainly an Apple Car would be the biggest risk that the company has taken in recent years, and possibly in its entire history.
Google and Uber plans influence Apple
Discussions on an Apple Car can be seen in the context of Google and Uber both developing their plans to manufacture self-driving cars. Google, an obvious rival to Apple, already possesses a fleet of robot car on the streets of California, and the mega-corporation has already revealed its intention to build several hundred further vehicles in the near future.
Although this latest news is the strongest indication yet that an Apple Car could be on the way, it is not the first time that leaks related to the electric vehicle have emanated. Previously, it was reported that Apple had investigated the possibility of booking a secure car testing site in California to road-test its vehicle, codenamed Project Titan. This has been reported about media all over the world, and was the first indication that the hotly rumored Apple Car could indeed come to fruition.
Neither Apple nor the department has been willing to confirm rumors related to the Apple Car, with both parties declining to comment on the subject. But it is extremely difficult to imagine what Apple would be discussing with the department other than the possibility of developing an Apple Car.
Apple Car leaks could be inevitable
One interesting aspect related to the Apple Car is that as Apple looks to develop this vehicle, it may have to abandon its trademark secrecy. Apple typically refuses to reveal any details about its products until it deems this to be absolutely necessary, and this has led to devices such as the Apple Watch being revealed years before they actually emerge on the market.
But this would change with the Apple Car, owing to regulations related to electric vehicles. If Apple is to seek a testing permit for the Apple Car, surely an absolutely essential process in the manufacturing of such a vehicle, it will be necessary for the consumer electronics giant to detail numerous explicit aspects of the vehicle. Apple would be forced to share details of autonomous features and capabilities of the Apple Car, identify test drivers by name, and detail the make, model and vehicle identification number (VIN) of cars that it wishes to test.
However, as Apple continues to make plans to develop the Apple Car, it also seems likely that the consumer electronics giant has considered the possibility of purchasing its own testing facilities where the development of the Apple Car could take place in almost total privacy. This would certainly be consistent with the general ethos of the company.
Nonetheless, those consumers that are enthusiastic about the concept of an Apple Car can certainly look forward to one appearing in the foreseeable future.