For those who have been dreaming of a self-driving Apple car, their long wait may seem to be closer to ending. CEO Tim Cook just made his most provocative statements yet suggesting that Apple is making its own car filled with Apple technology.
While speaking with Kara Swisher of the New York Times, Cook said autonomous technology was “core,” and that he viewed an autonomous car as a robot. This is consistent with his statements in 2017 that Apple was focused on autonomous systems. But he was “coy” — his words — about if that technology would go in a car made by Apple.
“We love to integrate hardware, software, and services, and find the intersection points of those because we think that’s where the magic occurs,” Cook said. “And so that’s what we love to do. And we love to own the primary technology that’s around that.”
Cook was careful not to reveal too much, declining to answer Swisher’s question outright if Apple is planning to produce a car itself or the tech within the car. What clues he did drop, suggests Project Titan is working on something in the middle.
iPhones on wheels?
There is a popular wag among those in the so-called micromobility industry that e-scooters are basically iPhones on wheels. However what Cook is saying may indicate that the Apple car may be exactly that. Apple is generally known for owning all of its hardware and software, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Apple engineers working closely with a manufacturer to produce an Apple car, with the potential to one day cut out the middle man and become the manufacturer.
The interview eventually turned to the subject of Elon Musk. Apple’s e-car would probably pose the greatest threat to Tesla’s dominant position in the electric auto sector. “I’ve never spoken to Elon, although I have great admiration and respect for the company he’s built,” Cook said. “I think Tesla has done an unbelievable job of not only establishing the lead, but keeping the lead for such a long period of time in the EV space.”
That lead may be set to diminish, if Apple gets its way.