Where is Apple Car? There is no doubt Apple has been working on Car for a few years. Meanwhile, most of the best manufacturers have been working on their own electric, mostly-autonomous vehicles for years. Google’s Waymo car division already has a deal with Fiat Chrysler (one of those without much of an electric car division, and less of an autonomous car operation).
Tesla’s Model S seems to have been a success and adapting it to mostly autonomous driving shouldn’t be too much trouble. Meanwhile, Google’s software continues to improve and it’s unlikely the search engine giant– or, rather, it’s Waymo division– will actually build a car by itself, hence all the partnerships. After all, Google is about software.
Apple is about hardware so it seems natural that our favorite Cupertino, CA company would build a car. So far, nothing. In fact, there seems to have been a few periods of turmoil in the car operation at Apple and it doesn’t seem as if any other major car maker is in a hurry to partner with Apple. But that’s what Apple needs. A partner.
Historically, Apple as a company has been led by more than a few executives with a lock on hubris. Co-founder Steve Jobs comes to mind. Current CEO-for-now Tim Cook must be pleased with all the money Apple has under his control, but it should be obvious– with stock buybacks that haven’t helped the stock, and exorbitant dividends to shareholders who already have made a fortune on AAPL– that the company’s executives don’t know what to do with all those riches.
If Apple bought Tesla it would be public proof that the company cannot go it alone, and that has been Apple’s public posture forever and a day. Yet, Apple has a history with vendors who could also be considered partners. Samsung comes to mind as do other screen and CPU makers, plus Intel which is Inside a Mac these days.
Apple Car is going nowhere fast, Tesla’s stock is at a premium these days relative to earnings, but growth continues so that company would be a tougher pill to swallow these days despite it being the most Apple-like of car companies. Honda is in talks with Waymo, Google’s car company, which says something about the Japanese car maker’s own plans to get into the autonomous electric car segment.
Who would make a good Apple electric, mostly autonomous vehicle partner?
Sure, most major manufacturers have something going already, but Toyota lags behind, yet recently decided to do a turnaround and invest in autonomous vehicles. The company is on the way to passing Volkswagen as the largest vehicle manufacturer in the world, so pooling their resources makes sense– depending upon how far along Apple’s own self driving car project is to date.
What we know so far is, well, not much– other than a number of big changes in organizational structure, but still no Apple Car, no details about an Apple Car, and not even an obvious commitment by Apple to a car. What we also do not know about cars in the 21st century is how they’re going to change society. There is all kinds of talk about self-driving vehicles, and the potential to avoid purchasing a car in the future and simply summon a ride to wherever you want to go in a vehicle by using an app on your smartphone.
Think Uber but without a driver.
If that’s the future then it’s likely the world will need fewer automobiles, more software technology, and a foot in the door to autonomous driving and manufacturing. Apple has neither. Apple needs a partner and fast.
Get out the company checkbook, Tim. You’re losing daylight. Build your own, buy Tesla, or partner with Toyota.