Are you happy with your iPhones, iPads, iMacs, Macbooks, or Apple TVs? Here's a new "device" you can "tinker" with: an Apple car!
Yes, you read it right. Rumors are swirling that Apple is building an electric vehicle (EV), a project the Cupertino-based company was reported to have begun in 2014. Rumors died down in the succeeding years, but according to Gizmodo, they have picked up in the last six months.
When it began, "Project Titan" included around 1,000 automobile engineers and experts developing an EV at an undisclosed location--which was reportedly an area within Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California, Apple Insider reported. It fell within two categories: development of self-driving systems and designing of the cars.
Problems, however, beset the ambitious project, with leadership issues, internal discord hindering any progress. It was initially reported to develop the EV named the "Apple Car" set for release in 2019 or 2020. By the end of 2015, the project encountered "an incredible failure of leadership," according to an Apple Insider source. Managers, these sources said, tussled over the directions of the program, leading to the exit of its project leader, Steve Zadesky.
In 2016, rumors then suggested that Apple discontinued its EV plans. But current developments show that Apple has overcome these problems and is continuing the project.
Apple Car Release Date: Ready for Rollout in 2024?
Current rumors show that the Apple car is being built for a 2024 rollout. However, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks that the Apple car won't be in roads until 2025 to 2027 at the earliest, MacRumors posted. The vehicle was rumored to be a fully featured self-driving EV set for a collision course against Elon Musk's Tesla cars, detecting its driver via fingerprint and take the passengers anywhere they please.
In completing this project, Apple has sought a partnership with a leading car manufacturer to push this forward. Among the big names Apple approached were BMW, Daimier and Hyundai, MacRumors said.
Technology and design strategies had changed continuously, Apple Insider sources added. Reports added that Apple had actually held talks with BMW and Daimier for that potential alliance, but these talks were said to end after parties disagreed on who would dictate the directions of project and take ownership of the data.
Other reports suggest that Apple was in discussions with Hyundai and was at the brink of sealing the deal in March so they could start building the Apple cars in 2024, MacRumors said. Apple had denied the rumor and since sought discussions with other carmakers and car dealers, including General Motors, Magna, and Group PSA, Gizmodo further reported. The latest rumor said that Magna's e-Powertrain and LG are close to signing a contract with Apple for the EV production.
MacRumors further quoted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo as saying that the Apple car is the company's "next star product" with the "integration of hardware, software and services," which offers a competitive edge over other players in the automotive market. An Apple-designed chip to be made by TSMC based on the A12 Bionic processor will run the Apple car.
Kuo added the vehicle could push Apple valuation towards $2 trillion.
Apple Car AI Systems, Auto-Tinting Windows and Retractable Bumpers
Apple CEO Tim Cook himself confirmed the company's work on the self-driving software. In a statement shared by MacRumors, Cook said Apple is "focusing on autonomous systems," also describing the project as "very important." Cook considers the system as the "mother of all AI projects...probably the most difficult AI projects actually to work on."
Apple had been testing cars using the system on Cupertino roads since 2017, andit has since ramped up in recent years and months.
Apple has also reportedly inked deals with battery makers, LIDAR sensor suppliers, and other component manufacturers.
Based on patent filings, the exterior of the vehicle would be different from conventional design, including wide-swinging doors, auto-tinting windows, retractable bumpers, in-screen displays, AR and VR technology, distinct sunroof designs and privacy lighting among others.