The idea of an Apple car is nothing new as the rumor mill has been churning out rumors about it for quite some time. For many, the idea is a scintillating one, particularly because the company changed the telephone completely by making it into something that’s not only small enough to fit in our pockets but also smooth, sleek, and simple.
Apple eyeing the auto industry
In a post on BMWBlog, Nico DeMattia suggested that Apple does have the capability to transform the auto and driving experience via technology and design. Using the iPhone as a guide, he suggests that an Apple car would be centered around simplicity with “as little design as possible.” The exterior would probably be very sleek and streamlined, while the inside would likely be jammed with high-tech but easy-to-use features.
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He notes that Apple is all about not only making a new product but also changing the way we use that product. As a result, if the company does decide to make a car, it won’t be just another car on the road. People expect the iPhone maker to go the extra mile and transform the entire driving experience.
Of course since Apple is a technology company, the interior should be the main attraction. DeMattia suggests that it would have “very little of the interior elements we’re so used to.” He expects the Apple car to lack a center console, gear shift, cluster of gauges and a “real dashboard” but feature “some very cool stuff like an augmented reality windshield, personalized screens that read your preferences from your iPhone or Apple Watch and even laser-projected displays.”
A BMW partnership for the Apple car?
DeMattia goes another step further and suggests that BMW would be a likely partner for an Apple car, and so we discover why this post is on a BMW-focused blog. Indeed, the iPhone maker probably wouldn’t make its own cars because it doesn’t manufacture any of the products it makes. In selecting a partner for such a high-end vehicle, Apple would undoubtedly choose a luxury automaker like BMW.
He notes that BMW showed off its Internet of Things concept at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. The concept was entirely centered around the consumer and featured a car that could do pretty much everything a driver would need. For example, the car would pull itself out of the garage at the right time each morning based on the time the owner usually goes to work. Then when it was time to go home, the car would pull up to the front door of the owner’s work place, pick them up, take them home, and then park itself in the garage.
Apple and Tesla?
Although both Apple and BMW denied having met, DeMattia believes there’s a high likelihood that they did because Apple’s way of thinking about a new car may have lots in common with BMW’s Internet of Things concept. He believes Apple would design the car’s interior and provide the technology, while BMW would provide the powertrain, chassis, and car body. Indeed, Apple CEO Tim Cook has expressed interest in BMW’s i Series, so such a thought may not be off base.
One of the most interesting topics being discussed in the comments section of the article was that Tesla has already designed the car of the future. There’s no denying that the electric vehicle maker is already ahead of the game here, as it has features like Summon, which pulls the car out of a garage or parking space. The interior of Tesla’s cars is also very high-tech, and many have compared the massive touchscreen to a huge iPad, so clearly CEO Elon Musk is already heading in this direction.
But while Tesla already has some of the technology BMW has envisioned and Apple may be eyeing, it still faces the challenge of scale. The EV maker could certainly use Apple’s financial muscles in ramping up production, and while we’ve seen plenty of debates about the iPhone maker acquiring it, a partnership might be more likely. We’ve also heard rumors about Apple meeting with Tesla in years past, so it’s possible that the rumored Apple car was the topic of discussion rather than an acquisition.
So is Tesla facing off with BMW for a contract with Apple? We may never know, but one thing’s for certain. If Apple really is working on a car, it will be very different than what we have now. Of course without Steve Jobs, the level of innovation won’t be the same as it was when the iPhone was in the works.