Apple has never admitted they are now designing a car. But Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk says Apple’s entrance into the automotive industry is an “open secret”. It’s widely accepted that Apple will be making cars based on some easily read data.
First, Apple has hired a slew of auto industry experts, poaching talent from Tesla and others. The companies that previously employed the engineers all speculate that that is what the secret Apple project Titan is. Secondly, Apple has registered domains for Apple.car and Apple.auto, indicating that they intend to have car related product sites.
These maneuvers have fueled speculation that Apple is not only entering the car industry, but we suspect their intention is to evolve our daily commute like they evolved the way we use a telephone. What their concept is is still unknown, but their attempt to buy Tesla and various data assembled through simple predictive analytics suggest that their cars will be electric, most likely self-driving like the Google cars, particularly because millennials don’t want to drive cars. It is also predicted that the cars will largely be part of a subscriber network, like the iPhone’s data plan. What this means is that instead of owning a car, you can subscribe to a car service, and have a self-driving car pick you up based on a request from your phone app.
Even though it’s an open secret, it’s still supposed to be a secret. Apple probably loves the publicity around their clandestine operation. And because they have such a strong brand and no actual product to criticize, the fantasy of an Apple car can reach the boundaries of our consciousness. Before the iPod there was music, but the iPod took it to a new level. Before the iPhone there were phones, even Blackberry phones, but the iPhone took it to a new level. Now the question is what can Apple do to the car industry that Tesla and others haven’t already? I guess we’ll know in a few years.
Watch: Is An Apple Car On The Way?
Here are other reasons why Silicon Valley insiders are positive an Apple Car is in the works:
- John Martellaro from the Mac Observer notes Apple’s development of the SWIFT programming language, which experts say is well-suited for autonomous cars.
- CNN Money reported that Apple has leased unmarked vans, equipped them with sensor cameras, and that people have seen them driving around Brooklyn, NY and a “suburb of San Francisco.” Self-driving car experts say there’s more to it than just gathering data for their map application.
- CNN Money adds that investors like the idea, too. With iPhone sales slowing, this could be the next big thing.
- Elon Musk also mocked Apple back in October, claiming they hire all the engineers Tesla’s fired.
But the rumors have also brought out some skeptics. For those who can’t wait for the Apple Car to come out, Adario Strange from Mashable says hold your horses. As it turns out, Facebook registered .auto and .car domains, too. Does that mean Facebook has a car in the works, too? He doubts it, and sees the domain registrations as a routine move to protect their brands.
It turns out that the sunrise period for .car, .cars and .autos domains began on Dec. 9, 2015. So instead of connecting the dots and assuming that not only is Apple working on a car, but it might even be working on a car with Facebook (hey, anything is possible), it’s more likely that the legal departments of both companies simply followed the scheduled opportunity to protect their respective brands.