Here's everything we know about the next-gen Apple Car
Tech giant Apple, the first company to reach a worth of $3 trillion, has had its eyes set on the electric vehicle market for a while now.
Apple's car efforts started back in 2014, but after just two years the company decided to table the project in favor of an autonomous driving platform.
In the early stages of development, Apple allegedly planned to develop the car on its own, without input from companies in the automotive industry. However, as it encountered a series of problems and limitations, the firm decided to collaborate with an automaker.
After a few years of the project being on hold, it looks like Apple may be joining the automotive industry after all. This can only be assumed after Apple representatives recently met with many producers for various electric vehicle parts, such as battery makers and car manufacturers.
The tech giant’s representatives traveled to Asia last September to meet officials of Toyota and discussed a potential partnership.
Meanwhile, other reports suggested that Apple representatives met with South Korea's SK Group and LG Electronics last August. The likeliest focus for those talks would have been battery tech. Other companies were contacted by Apple last year, including Nissan, Magna, Hyundai, and others, though with little to no success.
This pushed the rumored Apple car mass production date to 2025.
However, even though several Tesla executives moved to Apple over the last few years, there's still no sign of any car or a related platform.
Another indication of Apple's future foray into the car world can be seen through its hiring of Ulrich Kranz last year to lead its electric car project. Kranz is a former BMW executive with ties to the German automobile maker’s electric vehicle models, i3 and i8.
Yet another rumor emerged as recently as September, 2021, which stated that Apple had once again decided to continue developing a high-tech electric vehicle with autonomous functions on its own.
The new Apple Car is said to be equipped with a custom-made carOS — a centrally integrated operating system — similar to the one used by Tesla. The prediction is that Apple is developing a software platform that can control every aspect of a car's function.
This operating system will work to enhance the navigation features, entertainment, informative features, as well as the sensors that help with data processing. The company currently offers CarPlay software to various vehicles, but it is limited to navigation and media playing capabilities.
Imagined designs of the Apple Car
British vehicle leasing company Vanarama took inspiration from existing Apple products and patents in different areas and designed a very angular Apple Car based on those Apple patents, as seen below:
It looks similar to Inspector Gadget’s car, a mashup between a hatchback, a crossover, and a van.
Interestingly, Apple’s Siri is integrated into the steering wheel, which has a rotating screen. The cabin looks very spacious and comfortable thanks to the large glass surfaces.
Borah notes that the design choices have as much to do with function as they do with form and added, "I wanted to do something very radical yet offer very simple transportation solution to the ever-rising traffic." He continues, "My main purpose while designing this vehicle was to create an Apple experience that a user never has with other types of cars, simple hassle-free, and fun to drive. But it solves many problems of modern-day transportation."
The biggest difference between the vehicle and the classically designed cars seems to be the two-seater pod that's capable of 360-degree rotation. It may seem strange at first glance, but in certain scenarios, this design has the potential of providing convenience, Borah says.
Still a long wait
Apple is working aggressively on its fully autonomous electric car, however, the tech giant still seems to be years away from launching its product. However, according to market experts, Apple could sell about 1.5 million units by 2030, once it goes on sale.
While we keep hearing rumors about its design, technological specs, and possible production partners, the tech company has never confirmed the rumors itself about Apple’s electric vehicle.