iPhone, iPad and now… the iCar?

The automobile industry is now worth a whopping $2 trillion, so it’s no surprise that there are rumours about the tech-giant Apple releasing their own electric vehicle. Apple could pose a serious threat to Elon Musk’s Tesla, if the rumours are true.

Talk of Apple working on a car is nothing new. ‘Project Titan’, as it is known, began in 2014, but leadership issues and a whole host of other problems delayed the project moving forward. But now, under the new leadership of John Giannandrea, Apple’s AI and Machine Learning chief since 2020, Apple hope to launch a self-driving vehicle that would let a user input their destination and be driven there with little or no further engagement or action required.

This is incredibly ambitious and would mean the iCar would be even more autonomous than any of Tesla’s vehicles. Although Tesla is ahead of the game in self-driving technology, they haven’t fully achieved it yet, only going so far as to implement auto-lane change and auto-park.

But obviously, Apple are not an automobile manufacturer and they will need to form a partnership will well-known electronics’ suppliers to develop the car. As of early 2021, Apple was rumoured to be planning to partner with Hyundai – but partnership talks broke down, possibly over Hyundai’s concerns about being wholesomely absorbed into the ‘Apple-Borg’.

What features can we expect from the Apple car?

According to the YouTube channel ‘Apple Explained’, it is suggested that the car might not even have a steering wheel. The entire car will be controlled through the user’s voice with Siri and will have top-notch security features to prevent hacking.

Apple are also working on a new type of Monocell Battery design that will be able to “radically” reduce the cost of batteries and deliver a higher range than other electric vehicles, while also being less likely to overheat.

Apple’s CarPlay system has already had huge success with other automobile brands, allowing drivers to be able to access their favourite iPhone apps from the dashboard screen of their car. A dynamic seating system is also expected, adjusting the driver’s seat to a safer position when driving at high speeds, and a seatbelt tightening feature if a collision is expected. Besides its technological advantages, the iCar will surely be a very aesthetically pleasing Apple design.

When can we expect to see the iCar hitting the showrooms?

There are thousands of things Apple could improve about the general driving experience we have today, but the iCar is (sadly) not expected to be available for at least another 3 years. The latest date for the iCar to be possibly hitting the streets is 2027. But as Apple has not decided on a manufacturing partner to put their plans into action, this date may be pushed out further. Maybe by the time of launch the iCar could be our own sort of mini on- and off-road space shuttle.

If and when the iCar does become available, it is not expected to be cheap at a predicted price range of $50,000 to $60,000. A Model 3 Tesla currently retails for around $42,000 – a bargain in comparison. But Apple expects its ‘followers’ to be happy to pay a premium for being first adapters of its new, superior, vehicle. Time will tell.

And what about the competition with Tesla? At the moment, Tesla has around 18% of the market of electric vehicles, but Apple could easily top that based on its success with its other products: Apple currently has around 11.8% of the global market share of smartphones and over 40% just in the US. Could this be an indicator of its future EV success?

Once the iCar is released, Tesla and Elon Musk could be out of billions, with Apple eating away Tesla’s market-share. Musk apparently proposed to sell Tesla to Apple in mid 2017, when Tesla was struggling with the production of the Model 3 program and was just a few months away from bankruptcy. But Tim Cook, of Apple, refused to take the meeting. The rest – as they say - is history.

Apple has the money and the means to make a completely self-driving automobile a reality, and with former Tesla engineer Doug Field on their team, they’re clearly sparing no expense when it comes to hiring talent.

Who will win the crown in the EV market? A sleek Tesla or your iPhone on wheels? Or is this, in reality, just a rhetorical question, as we may already suspect or know the answer.

Recommended Links:

The Apple Car: What To Expect - YouTube

Apple Car: It's no secret, Apple's actively working on Car tech