23 February 2015

BBC Top Gear: “Why Apple won’t build the iCar”

Apple might well do a lot of research and early engineering on a car, but that doesn’t mean it won’t drop the idea before it hits the market. It’s done that with other new ventures before. I suspect this one will drop too.

Why? Because the car business is difficult, complex, sprawling and littered with legislation, lobbies and entrenched rivals. And its profit margins are tiny. BMW has done its i cars because it sees new mobility as the only way it can survive. Tesla launched itself because its founders have an evangelical mission: to end the grip of petroleum. Google posits its self-driving car as another project for the common good: to reduce the vast casualty toll especially in countries where mass motorisation is new.

But Apple isn’t an evangelist company any more. It looks that way, but what it really loves is profit. Why would it bother?

Paul Horrell

Tech writers have a habit of blowing every little rumor out of proportion, but it must have been a particularly slow news week for the Apple Car to become such a phenomenon. As the article above, others have expressed similar doubts about the viability of such projects.


Of course, a lot can happen in a decade, and few people would have predicted beforehand that Apple would enter the phone business or that it would prove so successful. It’s not that far fetched to imagine a similar transformation of the car: a more powerful computer inside, Internet connection and diversified software, and above all a new way of interacting with the car. Probably the most important factor of the iPhone’s success was the touchscreen; if Apple can find a better human interface to cars, that would be a significant breakthrough.

Post a Comment