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.