Apple has reportedly been working on an autonomous electric car for almost a year. But the Cupertino company has tried to keep the Apple car a well-guarded secret. When Tim Cook appeared on CBS 60 Minutes on Sunday, TV journalist Charlie Rose asked him about the company’s plans to get into the automobile business. How did the Apple boss respond? He just laughed.
Strong indications that Apple car is in the works
Then he had this to say, “One of the great things about Apple is we probably have more secrecy here than the CIA.” Notably, Tim Cook had said in an interview with Independent.ie that the car industry would see “some significant changes” in the next few years. There are also strong indicators that the company is working on an electric car. Since last year, Apple has hired hundreds engineers specializing in autonomous driving, battery technology, and the auto industry.
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Citing people familiar with the development, the Wall Street Journal also reported that the Cupertino company would launch its first car in 2019. Jefferies & Co analysts have even said that the Apple car would have an average price tag of $55,000. However, they added, the company would bring multiple versions of its car, some with a price tag upward of $100,000.
Apple execs met with the California DMV
In September, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) told Tech Insider that the tech giant had met with the agency to discuss regulations for testing self-driving vehicles. Last week, the DMV ruled that the autonomous cars must have a licensed human driver at the helm during tests. Currently, about a dozen companies have been granted permission to test autonomous vehicles in California.
During the interview with Charlie Rose, Tim Cook was unapologetic about the fact that the company was keeping more than $100 billion of cash outside the United States. He said two-thirds of the company’s business is overseas, so it makes little sense to pay 40% of that amount in US taxes to bring it home. Cook told Rose that Apple’s new headquarters was going to cost a staggering $5 billion to build.