Having already revolutionised our laptops, phones and – potentially at least – our watches, Apple are now heavily rumoured to developing their own car.
Reports this week have suggested that the Californian company plans to put an electric vehicle on the roads by 2020, and have underlined their intent by poaching key staff from Ford and Tesia.
As is always the case with any Apple innovation, speculation about the project – code named ‘Titan’ – has arrived thick and fast this week, as tech heads and business experts speculate over whether the company is overstretching itself or could geniunely be on course to change how we think about road travel forever. Here's a summation of what we (think) we know so far.
It will most likely be driverless
With Google already having tested its own driverless cars in Nevada, it’s unlikely that Apple will miss the opportunity to produce their own version of this technology, especially given their apparent bid to begin 3D mapping in San Francisco and New York and the deployment of modified Dodge Caravans laden with sensors and cameras.
It will be electric
Tesla and General Motors Co. have set a target of 2017 to release an electric vehicle that can go more than 200 miles on a single charge, and cost less than $40,000. It is therefore unthinkable that Apple won't be aiming to match or better this. Given the success of Tesla’s electric cars, the Apple car is likely to be fully electric, and will be engineered in conjunction with Austrian car manufacturers Magna Steyr. Industrial designer Marc Newson – who formerly worked at Ford – has also just been taken on board.
It will be a people carrier
Unlike Tesla’s flashy sports cars, Apple are aiming for the family market with designs for a people carrier. No word yet on any specifics, but it’s safe to assume the car will be available in white.
They have the money
According to Bloomberg, Apple has "$178 billion in cash with few avenues to spend it", so a bid to enter the car manufacturing marketplace is well within its reach.
...And it could make them a lot more
Forbes have quoted Gene Munster, a managing director and senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, who says Apple's car project could be a "$50 billion opportunity" with even the "moderate success" of taking over 10% of America's huge car market.
It will be compatible with your existing Apple products
An obvious point, but an important one. Barclays analysts Ben Reitzes and Brian Johnson recently told potential investors that one key advantage of the Apple car will be the "ability to connect with its own devices." So expect docking stations galore and an fingerprint scan app that starts the engine. Probably.
Developing the battery will be key
As well as poaching talent from rival car manufacturers – Tesla CEO Elon Musk told Bloomberg Businessweek Apple was offering $250,000 signing bonuses and 60 percent salary increases to lure away his staff – Apple has been targetting battery experts from LG Chem Ltd., Samsung Electronics Co., Panasonic Corp., Toshiba Corp. and Johnson Controls Inc., according to a recent lawsuit. In a seperate court filing, Battery specialists A123 claimed "Apple is currently developing a large-scale battery division to compete in the very same field as A123."
Things We'll Miss When We're In Driverless Cars