As the rumor mill about the Apple Car grinds on and on and on, we keep getting little clues about what “Project Titan” may or may not be all about.
The two latest pieces of the puzzle: Tim Cook made some obscure statements that suggest a recent investment in a Chinese car-sharing service is going to provide support, somehow, for the Apple Car, alleged to arrive in 2021 (!); and Apple put somebody with zero automotive experience in charge of the project, although he was reportedly close to Steve Jobs.
My colleague Steve Kovach has been all over both these announcements.
From my perspective, having followed the up-to-now completely inconsequential progress of the mysterious Project Titan, I’m ready to say that if you think Apple will be selling a car by 2021, you’re going to be disappointed.
Here’s why. That’s five years down the road. The Apple Car project has been underway for about two years. So we’re being asked to accept that it will take Apple seven years to create and market an automobile?
That’s about two entire product cycles for a major automaker. Heck, Ford designed, engineered, and went racing in about a year and half with the new $400,000 Ford GT supercar – and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
- Screenshot via Ford Performance
If it’s going to take Apple that long to bring a car to market, then you can only draw two conclusions: that Apple wants to develop a vehicle to use future technologies that aren’t practical or accessible today; or that Apple is completely incompetent when it comes to this car project.
It’s possible that the undertaking is just a sort of sideline experiment to keep pace with Google and Tesla. That would make sense.
But the the Apple Car isn’t a car.
And based on Cook’s comments, I don’t think it’s trending in that direction, anyway. I think it’s a comprehensive automotive interface of some sort, a CarPlay that takes over your entire vehicle and what systems are/will be outside the car.
So it’s come to this: there will never be a true Apple Car – not one with wheels and an Apple badge on the front.