There have been rumblings for years about a self-driving Apple Car, but no significant progress appears to have been made.
As is the case with all things Apple, the internet loves to speculate on what is or isn’t going on at Cupertino. Perhaps the most mysterious of ongoing developments is “Project Titan,” writes Matthew DeBord for Business Insider.
Rumors continue to swirl around secretive project
Every so often something will happen which kicks rumors about the Apple Car back into discussion. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently made some comments about the company’s investment in a Chinese car-sharing service which suggest that the move is designed to support the Apple Car in some way, teeing up another round of speculation.
Apple then appointed Bob Mansfield to head Project Titan. Mansfield has no experience in the automotive field, but was apparently close to sadly deceased former CEO Steve Jobs.
The latest rumors would have us believe that the Apple Car will be ready to ship by 2021. However DeBord has shot down that speculation and says that Apple will not be making a car.
Apple Car project has been running for an incredibly long time
His first point is that 2021 is five years away, and we have already been hearing about the Apple Car project for around two years. This would make a total of 7 years for Apple to create and market a car.
In contrast major automakers go through two product cycles in a comparative length of time. This year Ford won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race with a $400,000 Ford GT supercar that it designed and built in just a year and a half.
Should Apple take seven years to get a car to market, there are two possible conclusions that can be drawn. The first is that the company is working on a vehicle which uses future technologies in ways that are not viable today, and the second is that Apple just doesn’t know what it’s doing when it comes to the car project.
Could Project Titan be something entirely different?
One theory is that the Apple Car is a low-priority experiment designed to show that the company is keeping up with Google and Tesla. However DeBord argues that the Apple Car isn’t in fact a car.
According to DeBord, Project Titan is more likely a comprehensive automotive interface, a kind of CarPlay that works with your whole vehicle and the systems that it uses. As such the writer believes that a physical Apple Car will never be seen on our roads, and Project Titan will turn out to be something completely different.
Apple is currently preparing for the launch of the iPhone 7 smartphone and continues to work on a number of new products. Some analysts have expressed skepticism about the company’s ability to break into a competitive automotive market.
“Apple has no experience,” former car executive Bob Lutz told CNBC in September. “There’s no reason to assume Apple will do a better job than General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota or Hyundai. I think this is going to be a gigantic money pit.”
With other established car makers also tackling the complicated task of making self-driving vehicles, it seems like a bit of a stretch to expect Apple to do so given the company’s lack of experience in the field.