Apple Reportedly Plans Electric Car for 2019, But Not Driverless

| Analysis

Apple has reportedly accelerated its plans for an electric car, pushing a target date up to 2019. Citing unnamed sources, The Wall Street Journal said that Apple has given its car project a "committed" designation internally, but that it isn't planning to have a self-driving car at launch.

Other tidbits from the report include managers for the car project, code-named Titan, have been cleared to triple the number of employees from 600 to more than 1,800. This differs from earlier reports from The Journal that claimed Apple already had as many as 1,000 people on the project.

The Wall Street Journal also put a name on a top manager for the project, one DJ Novotney. He was reportedly one of the first employees on the team, has a record for shipping projects, and is Vice President of Program Management.

While the "ship date" has reportedly been set for 2019, the newspaper's sources said that many on the team have doubts about whether they can hit it. That's roughly four years from now (depending on the specific date within 2019), which is next to nothing for developing a product as complex as an automobile, especially considering the number of state and federal regulatory hurdles it will face once it's "done."

Apple Car Artist Rendition

Apple Car Artist Rendition

Apple's car is the least kept secret project the company has had for years. While most of Apple's physical products leak in the months before they ship—and some leak long before they go to manufacturing—Apple Car has been known about for months even though it was merely being investigated internally. TMO confirmed the existence of the project in February.

Late last week The Guardian reported that Apple met with officials at the California Department of Motor Vehicles in September to discuss regulatory issues for driverless cars. In August, that same newspaper reported that Apple met with officials at GoMentum Station, a private testing facility for autonomous vehicles.

The Journal's report on Monday said that driverless cars were still in the long-term game plan for Apple Car, but that Apple didn't intend to enter the market with such a device. Instead it would focus on a driver-centric vehicle while it continues to develop the technology needed for self-driving cars.

If this report is accurate, shifting Titan to a "committed" designation is a sign that Apple is intent on bringing this product to market. Apple's track record is of saying "No" to most products, but once they reach a certain stage of development, those products almost always come to market. I would have thought there was a lot of time to go before Apple crossed that line with Titan, but a "committed" status says to me Apple's leadership truly wants to enter the car market.

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Lee Dronick

Codenamed Titan which will not be the model name as there is already a Nissan Titan. Seeing as Titan was the son of Gaia I am going with that as the model name, that or the Cupertino.

Lee Dronick

The codename is Titan, but that won’t be the model name because there is already a Nissan Titan. Seeing as Titan was the son of Gaia and Apple is all about the Earth and environment I am going with that name. That or the Cupertino. Well Titan was also the son if Uranus, but Apple probably wouldn’t use that name.

Lee Dronick

Hmmm, my comments were not showing up after hitting Submit. The first one was last night, the second this morning.


12:49 AM, Lee? Isn’t that late for an old guy like you?!?!?


Hmm, names for the alleged Apple Car. Of course, it could simply be the Apple Car, then Apple Car 2.0, 3.0, etc. Of course, I still like the iCar-type designation. Or, it could be the Apple Go. The Apple Drive (in line with iCloud Drive). Has it been long enough that Apple could reuse the Apple Nova? LOL, wait, Nova means No Go, so no they wouldn’t use that!! I suspect it will be simply Apple Car. Or Apple Auto.

Lee Dronick

12:49 AM, Lee? Isn’t that late for an old guy like you?

Well it was only 9:49 P.M. in San Diego smile

Hmmm, Apple names the current car model the same as OSX


Ha, I’m EDT, so it is showing as that. Sorry, we are on opposite ends of the US from a time zone perspective. Before 10 PM is OK!!

The code name of a secret (or not-so-secret) project may be different than the official release name. I doubt they called it the Apple Watch when they were developing it, although I don’t recall hearing a code name for the Watch. I like the name Apple Auto as it will be as revolutionary to the automobile industry as the Watch is to the watch industry.

My prediction? Drastic redesign of the automobile. No steering wheel. No foot pedals. No shifter. No display cluster. iPad Pro will be the display. iPhone and iPad will control everything. Inside will basically be seats, storage, and air bags. Apple will develop a new steering/forward/reverse control mechanism. Everything else is Bluetooth and interfaces with iPhone and iPad. Will greatly simplify the automobile. Key functions like steering and propulsion and safety will be wired but everything else will not be. Hundreds of pounds and thousands of feet of wiring will be eliminated. Entire car will be body panels/frame (with airbags included), seats, doors (airbags, locks, window motors, etc. included), windows/windshield, batteries, motors, regenerative brakes, tires, and the necessary headlights, brakelights, etc. iPhone/iPad with Siri controls everything else.

Lee Dronick

Ron I don’t like the idea of steering by wire in an automobile, I want to be able get to the side of the road if there is a flameout. Also at least for the first version of the Apple Auto we will have traditional pedals.

Though a dual system would work, your choice of steering wheel and pedals or a joystick. Move the joystick forward to go forward and the farther forward the more speed, move it to the side to steer. It probably won’t happen in this old fart’s lifetime.


4 years from now to release a new car??  Nope, that’s insane. As it states, there is still no proof this is a car as opposed to a system.
If it isn’t autonomous as they also imply, it gets even weirder, but then they were messing around with the GoMentum people for SOME reason.
When an Apple Buggy has an accident - does it “crash”?
What if it is a bomb like the Apple Watch? Can the Stock price survive if they go into the red for a few years before things work out? Is Apple as thick skinned (i.e. rich) as GM, FCA and VW all of whom are paying billions in fines today for human mistakes ??? 
Car name: Apple π ???

Lee Dronick

GM, FCA and VW all of whom are paying billions in fines today for human mistakes

VW didn’t make a mistake, that was deliberate.


Lee, I know it is a drastic departure, but is needed to truly take cost out of a vehicle. We are basically talking several key ‘by wire’ controls: throttle by wire (pretty much standard on most cars, replacing linkages that used to go to carbs), brake by wire, steer by wire, shift by wire, and park by wire (lock vehicle into park). I know Nissan had plans years ago to implement a steer by wire system, but not sure if it actually went into production. Of course there are backups needed, but in the end no system can be 100% foolproof. You want to be able to get to the side of the road if there is a flameout, true, but how about when the steering column breaks on your old car? Or the steering wheel comes off in your hands? Sure, not that common, but it could happen. What happens? You crash. Same with brakes going out due to a leak in the line. Or the mechanism that keeps you from going from Drive to Reverse at high speeds goes out and you accidentally hit it up into Reverse. Mechanical failures occur too. I’d rather see steer by wire and in case of a failure sensors kick on and safely guide you to the side of the road automatically. But don’t give me a huge steering wheel/steering column just in case I need to use it. Same with pedals. They just make no sense anymore. your accelerator is no longer a linkage that is controlling air into the carb. So get rid of it and do the joystick thing. Or whatever Apple comes up with. It just makes sense.


True. Ask the bean counter today if it was a mistake though (to cheat) .
GM’s ignition cover-up was deliberate, too.
Re: Takata - I kind of feel bad for them as for decades they’ve made THE best harness belts for racers and tuners - very high quality stuff. I suspect they didn’t make the component that messed up the air-bag deployment either but still…...


Lee, some would say that GM didn’t make a mistake either, and that it was deliberate. If/when Apple enters the automobile industry, there will be bankruptcies of existing manufacturers. Let’s just hope that the government lets these lying dinosaurs STAY in bankruptcy. I know that means a lot of people out of work, but that is life.


Agree with RonMacGuy. Airbus’ jets are fly by wire. Plus, the more redundant FBW systems you have, the more “autonomy” - the less liability drivers will have to face in case of accidents. Your car will make the correct decision way before your brain will think of what to do.
Side note: I always wondered why big rigs aren’t fly-by-wire and MUCH more autonomous than they are now - seems to me big open roads are ripe for FBW smart trucks. I know Volvo (Mack) are working on the smart truck that will platoon with others “as one”

Lee Dronick

Side note: I always wondered why big rigs aren’t fly-by-wire and MUCH more autonomous than they are now

I would think that it is to help keep the driver awake and “in touch” with the vehicle.

Yes, the GM ignition scandal, they could have done the right thing and recalled them early on. Drivers too could have never started using their car key ring as a dumbbell.

A plus to a joystick control is that it could be driven from the left and right seat.


Lee, drivers would not have used their key rings as dumbbells if they were aware of the danger.  I left the automotive industry 2 years ago because I saw the potential of these things happening.  Many current car makers are dinosaurs and need to go extinct before they kill more people.  The future of cars is Tesla, Apple, and I hate to admit it, Google. Technology companies are better positioned for future cars. They are not held back by legacy. They will use technology to create safer and more reliable transportation and will make very good profit margins at that.


Hey, speaking of saving lives, the Apple Watch saved a teenager’s life recently. Nice.

Paul Goodwin

If Apple goes into the car business, it’d be the biggest surprise in the 30 years I’ve been buying their products. It’s a very different business than what they’re in now. It takes a decade to mature a car product into the most desirable of a car segment. Sounds like a black hole for cash. I find it hard to believe that they’d go into that business further than control, driver support, and entertainment systems. I’m wrong at least twice a year though, but Apple selling cars sounds pretty far-fetched.

Lee Dronick

Lee, drivers would not have used their key rings as dumbbells if they were aware of the danger.

Even on an ignition switch that wasn’t problematic the weight of numerous keys, little flashlights, fobs and such would probably put a stress on the lock mechanism. Our new car is has keyless ignition and they are more expensive to cut a spare when you need one.



Lee ~  Two things:
1. I often don’t see my comments after submission, but a refresh of the tab makes them show up.
2. I think the car should be the Apple ‘Mouse.’

Lee Dronick

I think the car should be the Apple ‘Mouse.’

Only the two seater smile



“it isn’t planning to have a self-driving car”...yet!

...but stay tuned

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