Apple secretly working on an electric car as it eyes automobile market

Still waiting to hear about the Apple Television launch? It’s time to move on and dream about Apple branded electric car. From being on the verge of bankruptcy in 1997 to a cash reserve of $178 billion in 2014, Apple has shown that it possesses the knack of taking existing technologies, refine it and make them mass market products. Apple did this with the personal computers, portable music players, smartphones, tablets and more recently it is ready to revolutionise the wearable market. The next big thing Apple may be working on is an electric car, shocking right?

While this news may appear to be crazy for some however, the company’s entry into smartphones may give you hint at why Apple branded electric car isn’t that crazy after all. Much before the launch of the original iPhone in 2007 Apple actually entered into the phone market by forming a partnership with Motorola to bring iTunes to Motorola ROKR E1 in the year 2005. During the iPhone launch when Steve Jobs called Jony Ive to demo iPhone’s feature, the design chief was seen using a Motorola phone at that time. After the launch of iPhone and its success, Motorola slowly seeped into the forgotten lanes. The rest is history.

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According to a new report published by WSJ, Apple may be working on an electric car. Just like the phones Apple isn’t entirely new to automobiles. The company has a long history of working with automobile manufacturers to integrate iPod and more recently they launched CarPlay and partnered with over a dozen automobile manufactures to integrate CarPlay. If the report turns out to be true then what we saw with iTunes and phones in year 2005, could very soon be repeated as CarPlay leads Apple into actually manufacturing an electric car.

The publications’ sources suggest that Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, approved the project codenamed “Titan” last year. It is worth remembering that during the trail between Samsung and Apple, Phil Schiller’s testimony in court confirmed that at the time when the company was thinking about what should be the next product Apple didn’t rule out cars as being an option.

“We were searching for what to do after iPod that would make sense. If we can make the iPod, what else can we do?” Apple employees tossed around ideas like making a camera, a car, and other “crazy stuff,” Schiller said.

Apple’s senior executives Jony Ive, Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue and are known to be car lovers. Jony Ive owns Aston Martin Vanquish, White Bentley Brooklands, and Land Rover LR3 to name a few. Eddy Cue joined Ferrari board of directors in 2012. Phill Schiller’s twitter bio mentions cars as one of his many interests.

The report goes on to mention that Apple met up with contract manufacturers for high-end cars including the Magna Steyr unit of Canadian auto supplier Magna International Inc.

Recent hires by Apple may also suggest that the company is serious about the automobile industry. Marc Newson is a friend of Jony Ive and played a role in designing the Apple Watch. Mr. Newson was also involved in creating a concept car for Ford Motor Co. Apple has also hired Johann Jungwirth, former president and chief executive of Mercedes-Benz Research and Development.

According to WSJ, product design Vice President Steve Zadesky is leading the secret project. Mr. Zadesky, former Ford engineer, played a key role in leading the team at Apple to create the iPod and iPhone.

There have been rumours about talks between Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, and Apple. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk during a press conference said that the company could be worth $700 billion in a decade. For comparison, Apple recently became the first ever U.S. company to cross $700 billion in market capitalisation.

While it is certainly possible that Apple could be simply researching on advanced battery and studying different car components to better understand how they can incorporate CarPlay and enhance it. However, given the recent hires and a good track record of WSJ in learning about Apple’s plan ahead of their announcement, an electric car from Apple could be coming very soon.


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