Speculation continues to swirl about a potential Apple Car, and now it appears that Steve Jobs considered the idea before his death.
According to reports from former Apple senior vice president Tony Fadell, there were high-level discussions about an Apple car in 2008. The paid had worked together on the iPod and the iPhone, and swapped ideas about a car on several occasions, writes Adam Satariano for Bloomberg.
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Jobs passed on Apple Car in favor of iPhone
Jobs then decided that the time wasn’t right for an Apple Car and concentrated his energies on establishing the iPhone instead. The U.S. auto industry was seriously struggling at the time. “The Detroit auto industry was almost dead,” Fadell said in the interview. “It was fun to kick those ideas around.”
Jobs sadly passed away in 2011, and since that time Detroit has recovered. Now a host of technology companies are considering building vehicles, and rumors are swirling about an Apple Car, while Uber and Google are developing autonomous vehicles.
Fadell claims that phones and cars are not too 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. “But the hard stuff is really on the connectivity and how cars could be self-driving.”
iPhone was primary focus for Jobs in last few years of life
According to Fadell, Jobs put the brakes on a lot of projects, including cameras and televisions, in order to work on the iPhone. “At the end of the day, what was the biggest one that had the biggest dramatic impact on the world?” Fadell said. “We said, ‘OK, we’re going to focus our energy on that. Forget all this other stuff.'”
Years after that initial decision there is still a huge opportunity for technological advances in the auto industry. Fadell claims that cars will undergo a huge evolution, including mass adoption of electric vehicles.
“I think you’re going to see some dramatic changes in the way we think about these cars and the accessibility in terms of the price points,” Fadell said. “But we’re still seven to 10 years away from a mass switch-over.”
Given the fact that the iPhone was first released 8 years ago, it’s clear that many changes can occur in that time.