A "Boring" Apple Car Is Coming… in 2028

Apple Car delayed by two more years 9 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Car rendering by Concept Creator
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I don't know about you, but I've heard the "Apple is working on a car" phrase so many times in the last decades that it's almost ridiculous that a company the size of Apple can't pull itself together and get this project done.
While Apple has never confirmed the work on the Apple Car, it's no longer a secret that the iPhone maker has been developing a vehicle since at least 2014.

The launch was originally supposed to take place early in the decade, but due to major roadblocks and challenges encountered during the development phase, Apple had no option but to push the unveiling back.

A new report confirms that the Apple Car project is still alive, but the iPhone maker has adjusted the launch timeline one more time.

The last time we heard about the Apple Car launch, the target was 2026 (after previously being set to 2024 or 2025). According to this new report, Apple won't be able to get the vehicle ready earlier than 2028, so the Apple Car will be here in approximately four years.

The more interesting bit concerns its capabilities.

Apple Car renderings
Photo: Emre Husmen via Behance
Like every Apple product, the Apple Car was supposed to be a revolutionary and innovative model. The iPhone maker was aiming for full self-driving capabilities, but it didn't take long for the company to realize that such an ambition was… too ambitious.

Apple originally planned to work with a traditional carmaker to develop the Apple Car, hoping to benefit from its know-how for everything unrelated to integrating software and services. The plan failed when Apple couldn't find a partner. Hyundai was the closest to becoming the Apple Car maker, but all talks failed due to Apple's requirements. Few companies agreed to become contract manufacturer for Apple, and of the ones that agreed, all eventually refused to build a vehicle that would eventually compete against their own models.

Apple embraced a different strategy similar to the one it used for the iPhone. The company wanted to rely on its existing partner network and build almost everything from scratch, reducing reliance on other companies. It's believed Foxconn, the long-time iPhone maker, has been picked as the contract manufacturer for the Apple Car.

However, it turns out that building a car from the ground up isn't as easy as it looks, even if your name is Apple. The company gradually removed features from the Apple Car, with a 2023 report indicating that the tech giant ditched several "revolutionary" capabilities from the vehicle. It wanted the Apple Car to be a living room without a steering wheel and pedals, so the "new" version dropped the idea and embraced a more conventional configuration with these parts still in place.

Apple Car renderings
Photo: Concept Creator via YouTube
This week's report indicates that Apple will eventually make the Apple Car even more boring. The struggle to build the vehicle means the company must not only spend more time in the development phase but also abandon its most ambitious ideas that would have turned the Apple Car into a pioneer.

Instead of Level 4 autonomous functionality, Apple is now aiming for Level2+. Apple wants the vehicle to offer steering support, automatic brakes, and acceleration, still keeping the driver in charge of everything else. It's a Tesla-inspired experience, something that Apple believes it can make happen in the upcoming two years.

If it doesn't, Apple is already prepared to drop the project altogether. The report adds that the iPhone maker could abandon the Apple Car if it still can't build this more conventional vehicle by 2028.

Meanwhile, everything about the Apple Car is surrounded by mystery. The last time I heard about Apple working on something notable for the Apple Car was in 2022 when several executives traveled to South Korea to discuss potential battery supply deals. Apple still wants the Apple Car to be an EV with an impressively long range, as this is the only area the company still wants to revolutionize. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Apple Car offering a range of about 1,000 km (about 621 miles) per charge in the base version.

Apple Car renderings
Photo: tedoradze.giorgi via Instagram
Everything else about the Apple Car has come down to internal management changes, departures, and new people joining the team. It's believed Kevin Lynch, previously in charge of the Apple Watch unit, now leads the Apple Car development.

Xiaomi is the only tech company that has come up with a car so far. The Chinese tech behemoth unveiled its first vehicle earlier this month after a development phase that advanced at full speed in the last few years. Xiaomi aims for a rapid international expansion that would increase its presence in the automotive space before Apple's long-awaited arrival. However, it can also remain the only tech firm with an EV built from scratch if Apple's project fails.

Apple is still tight-lipped on everything related to its automotive ambitions, so we should take all tidbits with a pinch of salt.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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