Apple Car Project Breaks Up with BMW & Daimler to Go It Alone. No Pressure

The mountain of evidence to support the thesis that Apple is working on a car, no doubt an electric car, is now overwhelming. Here's one more supporting story that's had to ignore. "Apple appears to be prototyping car parts at its ‘product realization lab’ w/ new hires from Tesla & Andretti Autosport."

Apple car concept winner: Image credlt: Freelancer

At this point some might be tempted to suggest that Apple's CEO Tim Cook just go ahead and admit what the company is up to. But I disagree. There's no upside to showing Apple's hand at this point and many advantages to avoiding a public discussion of Apple's plans. Especially when it comes to working with other companies who also want to keep their specific relationship to Apple generally under wraps for now. Here's just one example: "BMW And Daimler Reportedly End Apple Car Talks Over User Data Control Issue."

My theory on this is that Apple's potential partners are concerned that their expertise would be tapped by Apple without adequate compensation. So when the issue of genuine partnership and sharing of information comes up, Apple historical reluctance to do that surfaces. Plus, Apple likes to be in control.

And so, it's looking more and more like Apple will have to work with experienced individuals whom they acquire from other companies. In addition, Apple might work with small component manufacturters who have a lot to gain financially, but don't feel like their entire automotive product line and brand is at risk from a smart, technical newbie. That is, if they can keep Apple's secrets.

The Scariest Thing Apple Has Ever Done

This is a scary, risky adventure for Apple with a high payoff. However, it remains to be seen if Apple's organizational structure and management style can extend to the introduction of its first electric car. Namely, a powerful CEO (Cook) with no specific car experience is directing executives who are brought in, but don't have the ultimate authority to make decisons and commit resources. Can that work? Plus, not only does Apple have to solve a host of manufacturing, supply, and quality control issues, but the company has to meet government regulations everywhere it goes to market and be able to service what it sells.

Another challenge that's barely been discussed is the design decisions Apple makes about body styling. I delved into that recently. "The Apple Car Will Be Beautiful & Desirable, Not an Econobox." Unlike other established car companies that have a broad range of models to suit different customer tastes and needs, Apple will only have one shot to get it right. That is, unless Apple comes out with several cars: sports car, SUV, family car. Then the challenge triples.

Somewhere in Apple's past, the executive team got together and came to the conclusion that their expertise in manufacturing, supply chain management, technology, software and hardware integration can pull this off. However, the falling out with BMW and Daimler also suggests that Apple is also looking shore up its inexperience.

That's why, a few years ago, many observers suggested that Apple just up and acquire Tesla, eventually imprinting its own vision on Tesla. But that idea had died as it's become clear that Apple thinks it can do much better on its own. As the BMW/Daimler story linked above suggests.

It's going to be amazing to see how that works out.

Next page: The Tech News Debris for the Week of April 18th. Get Ready for Faster Change. 

Page 2 - The Tech News Debris for the Week of April 18th. Get Ready for Faster Change


One of the things futurists foresaw was the partnership of computers and humans in leveraging technology and each other. That is, when humans can use computers to do design and engineering, product advances can come as fast as computer technology advances.

Brains building brains. Image credit: Shutterstock

One of the byproducts is not just better, higher quality products, but the rate of technical change accelerates. One example of this is home theater. The NTSC standard for black & white was developed in 1941. In 1953, it was revised to include color. That lasted 50 years, until 2007-2010, when the ATSC standard started to dominate (HDTV, 720p and 1080i ... now 1080p).

Today, a mere six years later, 4KTV is in full swing and it's just a matter of when one wants to jump in. Experimentation continues with higher frame rates, deep color and wider dynamic brightness range (HDR). And then there's the emerging technology of virtual reality. For example, "Here's why HBO invested in a $300 million startup that Jon Stewart calls ‘mind blowing’."

There are now so many OTA services and display technologies that it's impossible to keep up. Where will it go next? Will Apple jump in with VR muscle? Will 8K+HDR be pushed as a consumer product before most consumers have their head around HDTV or 4KTV? How will cable/satellite deal with all those legacy "inertia channels"? Will commercial-free original content eventually wipe out commercial-based TV as we know it? 

What I'm thinking about is Microsoft's HoloLens and related technologies.  Someday, we might just sit (and move about!) in our living room, as if it were a Star Trek holodeck and merge with the action.  Flat TVs on the wall will look so ... old school. It's literally a matter of Walt Disney's famous quote: "If you can dream it, you can do it." And it's happening exponentially.

Watch this space.

One article from last week that impressed me greatly was this awesome, all encompassing explanation of how Apple handles product security. It's from Mashable's amazing Christina Warren. This is Particle Debris Saturday-morning-with-a-cup-of-tea must reading: "Apple opens up on how it approaches security following FBI battle."

There will be a test.

Have you felt, as I have, that iOS 9 hasn't kept up with the iPad Pro hardware? Buckle up for this amazing concept video and supporting discussion. "iOS 10: Wishes and Concept Video" by Federico Viticci. Once you see it, you won't ever be able to unsee it. In a good way.


Here's a public service announcement for all you Mac Pro fans. "The chip the new Mac Pro may have been waiting for is out and ready!" This is a fascinating discussion and offers hope that at Apple's WWDC (June 13-17), we'll see, after three years, a Mac Pro refresh. It's a superb article.

I don't even want to think about what will happen if Apple gives up on the Mac Pro for technical professionals.

Question: Can Apple's competitors with an alternative, competing vision to the Apple iPhone deliver commercial alternatives faster than Apple can absorb those technologies into the iPhone's technical offspring? The race is on. "Google's CEO is looking to the next big thing beyond smartphones." While Google doesn't have a track record commercializing advanced hardware, I would take this article very seriously.

The smartphone and its apps will eventually be supplanted.


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro's observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn't make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.