Responding to a question about Apple car on CBS 60 Minutes last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook told TV journalist Charlie Rose that the Cupertino company was more secretive than the CIA. Now it has been revealed that the tech giant has registered three automobile-related domain names, fueling further speculations that Apple is indeed developing a car. In December 2015, the company registered domain names Apple.car, Apple.cars, and Apple.auto through sponsoring registrar MarkMonitor Inc., according to MacRumors.
Mounting evidence that Apple car is in the works
MacRumors discovered the domain names and the name of the registrant on domain registry site WHOIS on Friday, January 8. Note that these domain names are not active yet. The tech giant registers trademarks, domain names, and patents that may or may not be used by the company. For instance, Apple Inc. is associated with 9,464 domains while the email address email@example.com is associated with 13,533 domains.
Of course, it’s possible that these domain names are part of a larger plan for the company’s CarPlay system. But over the last year, there has been mounting evidence that an Apple car is in the works under a highly secret Project Titan. Apple has hired hundreds of engineers and automotive technology experts from Ford, A123 Systems, Tesla, Nvidia, General Motors, Samsung, Panasonic, Fiat and others.
Is Apple planning to go public with its auto plans?
Reports suggest that Apple’s electric vehicle will have autonomous driving capabilities. In September, the California DMV revealed that they had a meeting with Apple executives to review self-driving vehicle regulations in the state. The much-rumored Apple car is expected to hit the roads in 2019 or 2020. Though Apple remains tight-lipped about its products until official unveiling, the domain name registration indicates that it might be planning to go public with its automobile plans.
It would be extremely difficult for Apple to maintain secrecy around a big product like an electric car. Late last year, reports suggested that Apple had created a shell company called SixtyEightResearch at a secretive facility in Sunnyvale to help conceal its automobile design & development activities at the facility. The three newly registered domains provide another clue that the iPhone maker is gearing up to disrupt the auto industry.