A lot of things have been said about the not-so-secretive Apple car project. Recently, there were rumors that Apple was in talks to acquire or invest in British sports car maker McLaren. But a McLaren spokesman has shot down those rumors. Before that, there were reports that Apple was laying off dozens of employees working on the Project Titan. Will there ever be an Apple car?
Apple unlikely to build its own cars
Apple has always wanted to control the entire user experience. It makes sense for the Cupertino company to design and build its own cars, probably in collaboration with an established automaker. But the automobile business has much lower profit margins than Apple would expect. Earlier this year, Apple appointed Bob Mansfield the head of Project Titan.
Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin believes that the recent layoffs were the result of Bob Mansfield’s effort to tighten the focus. Mansfield has reportedly shifted the company’s focus from building a full-fledged car to developing an autonomous driving system. Bajarin said that Apple is not going to build its own cars. Instead, it will focus on developing technologies that it could add to other companies’ vehicles.
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Apple car: The real opportunity lies in making existing vehicles smart
According to Tim Bajarin, Project Titan will beef up the CarPlay, taking it beyond just an infotainment system. Apple could introduce a special “self-driving package” that can easily be deployed on a CarPlay-compatible vehicle by a mechanic or at a dealer. Google’s self-driving test car is just a regular car customized with after-market technology. But sensor arrays on the Google car look ugly, he said. Apple could make something elegant and sleek.
Bajarin drew parallels between Apple car and how the tech giant approached the TV market. Apple first studied the possibility of making a TV set, and later decided that it made more sense to sell a set-top box to provide the Apple experience to television sets already in use. Bajarin says CarPlay, along with the special self-driving package, could eventually become the brains of a smart, autonomous vehicle.