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Old 24th February 2015, 16:56   #1
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Default Project Titan - Apple's rumored new Electric Car Project

Was going through a design blog "Core77" today. Apart from the usual news of a new table design by a renowned designer to a design exhibition in some part of the world was the mention of a rumor about Apple's new electric car project being dubbed as 'Project Titan'.

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The link to that article is here and at the end of the article is a youtube video from Bloomberg TV about the whole topic:
http://www.core77.com/posts/30059/Ap...n-Electric-Car

What is giving this news a lot of authenticity is the fact that Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors reported recently on Bloomberg Businessweek on a series of employee poachings by Apple wherein the tech giant was offering massive signing bonuses and 60% salary increases to Tesla employees who joined them. Apple's employee poaching was also reported by the electric bettery divisions of Samsung, Toshiba, Panasonic, LG Chem and Johnsons Controls.

As per reports, Apple has a plan the launch the electric car by 2020. The cause of this date is that by 2017, Tesla Motors and General Motors are both expected to launch electric cars which can travel over 320 kms on a single charge and cost less than $40,000. Being one of the largest companies in the world with a market cap of close to one trillion dollars, Apple has both the money and the means to give rival Tesla a good run for their market share in my opinion.
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Old 24th February 2015, 20:26   #2
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Default Re: Project Titan - Apple's rumored new Electric Car Project

This sounds interesting. I think Apple is getting into this purely to challenge Google and its self driving car project. Core business competency of Apple is just not into cars, maybe poaching of engineers has something to with (car) batteries. After all with the advancements in mobile technology battery revolution has been left far behind.

Imagine ipad, imac or iphone lasting a year on a single charge!
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Old 24th February 2015, 23:28   #3
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I wonder what will this 'iphone of cars' be like. For sure it will be for chosen elite, and have its own army of fanboys. I already see tesla fans bashing this iCar for its jewellery-like value for money and the fanboys replying with "if you dont have an iCar, blah blah blah". Upgrades will be minimal even though apple will have technology from 10 years in future, just to keep them craving and always asking for more, something like 'the version 2.0 will be 2% faster and go 1.7% further for the same charge' and the fanboys will go bonkers, willing to sell their kidneys to upgrade.
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Old 25th February 2015, 13:14   #4
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Default Re: Project Titan - Apple's rumored new Electric Car Project

As much as Apple fanboys must be salivating at the thought of an iCar, I don't think it's a real possibility.

At best, it could be just a fun internal project. Here's why I think so:

- There's a BIG difference between engineering a car vis a vis software design & gadgets.

- Apple has ZERO experience in engineering a car with so many mechanical parts. It's one thing to design an iPhone, entirely another to develop a car with thousands of parts. When it comes to automobiles, Apple is as much of a newbie as anyone else.

- No real manufacturing base in place. You can't order 100% of the parts from China and have a simple assembly plant. Manufacturing a car requires a full-fledged factory.

- Doesn't make any business sense. When Apple can make more profits than car manufacturers by selling iPhones, iPads, Computers & Music, why would they want to enter a complex capital-intensive industry?

- Distribution: You can't sell a car via tie-ups with operators (Airtel, AT&T). You need your own distribution network.

- Scalability: The market for expensive electric cars is tiny. And you can't survive by depending a 100% on the USA market.

- Doubts over whether an electric car is 'the next big thing'. The days of the internal combustion engine might be numbered, but there could just be a disruptive technology coming up (e.g. hydrogen fuel-cell cars).

- Challenges of after-sales service, meeting innumerable rules & legislations, charging stations etc.

End of the day, we've seen no real successful innovation from Apple since the iPhone. A full-fledged automobile will be too much of a distraction from their core business.
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Old 25th February 2015, 15:23   #5
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Default Re: Project Titan - Apple's rumored new Electric Car Project

Well, the apple vans moving around California are found to be equipped with LIDARs and are most likely mapping vehicles doing something like Google Street View for Apple Maps. This has been as good as confirmed by various sources tracking these vehicles.

As far as apple car goes, I don't think that's going to happen. Had they wanted to be in the car business they could have acquired Telsa a couple of years ago. Heck, they could gobble up Telsa or GM or Ford or whoever based on the amount of cash stockpile they are sitting on! Going solo on a car is not something Apple would do.

They are perhaps looking at some sort of automation product that could be factory installed by existing manufacturers into their cars or may be they are planning to do something with car battery technology. Can say for sure, but a full fledged apple car is very unlikely.
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Old 25th February 2015, 16:38   #6
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Default Re: Project Titan - Apple's rumored new Electric Car Project

A thought experiment but these are my reasons why Apple may want to build a car:
  • Apple is so big now that small innovations will hardly make any difference to its revenue/profits. It is under pressure to invent a blockbuster product or it will become next GE/IBM/MS. Apple TV, watch, books will hardly move the needle now.

  • Cars ultimately are a consumer product and nobody understands their customers better than Apple. No matter what we, auto enthusiasts, like to believe, most cars are sold on looks, comfort and well...status quotient.

  • VW's MQB has proven that cars can be modularised. Basically, you pay different money for different "configurations", same way like iPhone's memory capacity. Apple only has to design the outer surface/shell and internal ergonomics. All other mechanical parts are available off the shelf.

  • There is overcapacity in automobile market and Apple has huge war chest. It can buy a major manufacturer say, volvo or Jaguar, for mechanical parts and it can build a car pretty soon.

  • Tesla has already proved that the barrier to entry in automobile market are not as huge as people previously thought. Apple has many times more muscle than Tesla.

  • If we look at the global automobile market, when did we see a last major fundamental innovation? Whatever we see is mostly electronics and Apple has it already covered. This is an industry that is waiting for a major disruption.

Obviously, I am not an expert and all this is just outpouring of my unproductive mind
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Old 25th February 2015, 17:23   #7
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Default Re: Project Titan - Apple's rumored new Electric Car Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by bharat.joshi View Post
Being one of the largest companies in the world with a market cap of close to one trillion dollars, Apple has both the money and the means to give rival Tesla a good run for their market share in my opinion.
With $178 bn in cash, Apple can do a lot of stuff in the world. Some are predicting, why Apple Inc. May Just Buy Tesla Motors Inc

I feel Apple may be just working on how get more people hooked onto their iPhones when the self-driving, electric car is here.

Last edited by GTO : 26th February 2015 at 14:54. Reason: Typo
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Old 26th February 2015, 20:45   #8
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Default Re: Project Titan - Apple's rumored new Electric Car Project

here is TopGear's take on the Apple car project :
http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/a...car-2015-02-19
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Old 27th February 2015, 00:22   #9
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Default Re: Project Titan - Apple's rumored new Electric Car Project

This could turn out to be an effort to develop an Apple ecosystem for automobiles; just as what Microsoft has for Ford or GM's Onstar.

As GTO pointed out, an electric car is way out of Apple's core business plan.
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Old 27th February 2015, 06:03   #10
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Default Re: Project Titan - Apple's rumored new Electric Car Project

I am an apple fanboy and also a petrol head. And I really don't think it's a good idea. Making cars and making phones+S/W are not in the same league. It's good a project but in real world, It's a different ball game altogether.
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Old 27th February 2015, 10:01   #11
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Default Re: Project Titan - Apple's rumored new Electric Car Project

Apple has earned enough profits that it thinks it can enter any industry & become its leader... Automobile industry is now shifting towards east where price plays a very important role.. People might buy an expensive iphone for 60k but it won't be the same for an icar..

Last edited by CarNerd : 27th February 2015 at 10:07.
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Old 27th February 2015, 11:22   #12
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Default Re: Project Titan - Apple's rumored new Electric Car Project

The problem with most of the electric cars, are they are not usable cars per se. No one in their right minds will buy a 4 seat golf cart or its equivalent for every day use. Range is a big factor, until a electric motor has a real world usable range of 400-500 kms on a full charge, along with realistic highway speeds say about 120-150kmph, these cars or concepts will remain exotic toys that they are. Plus there is no support infrastructure in near sight, charging stations, mobile/city charging points, easy repair points etc.
I am not sure why no company has considered a diesel electric concept like a locomotive. If the existing technology is scaled down, a small diesel engine (sub 1 liter) can power 4 electric traction motors in each wheel, and will offer unheard of fantastic fuel economy. In fact if done well, we can expect upward of 50kmpl in the real world cycle on such concepts.
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Old 28th February 2015, 18:42   #13
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Default Re: Project Titan - Apple's rumored new Electric Car Project

Apple can, with their current level of intelligence at the maximum try to supply infotainment systems to luxury cars (like how Microsoft does for Ford in the name of SYNC) and only with the help of a long existing car manufacturer (with the likes of Mercedes , GM , Ford) can they release something as big as this - Well established car manufacturers will never allow software giants to enter and mess up their business architecture.

with GTO ,this isn't their core competency, but if they are trying to increase their product portfolio then its a poor move considering they are baseless to start something as big as this by their own.

And yes, this ain't phone business and will take a lot of hits and misses to perfect this ,which many car manufacturers haven't done albeit being in car business for more than a hundred years.

Though i wouldn't be surprised to see software giants with the likes of Google/Apple team up with Tesla / other electric cars to incorporate intricate technologies in cars.
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Old 28th February 2015, 18:59   #14
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Default Re: Project Titan - Apple's rumored new Electric Car Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev_That_V8 View Post
,this isn't their core competency,
Back in 2007, Apple didn't have any competency in phone design - Nokia, Motorola had. In 2001, Apple didn't have competency in music player business - Sony had. Now the companies which had the competency are literally shredded in their respective business. Who knows, Apple might have the competency in auto business in year 2025
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Old 28th February 2015, 19:34   #15
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Apple's culture is all about user experience and innovation. I am sure that spirit would prevail on this initiative. Really looking forward as this pans out.
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