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Apple Should Stay Away From Building Cars, Stick to Apple CarPlay

Our resident iOS/Android expert here on autoevolution is the wonderful Bogdan Popa. So when one of his articles covering Apple's repeated attempts at building an electric car comes across my desk, I can't help but give them a read.
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Now, I myself am neither in team iOS nor team Android. But after seeing all the wacky shenanigans Bogdan and several others on the team have reported lately regarding the Apple Car, some of us are starting to think Apple needs to stay the heck away from the auto industry. Sure, Apple CarPlay is a real necessity in 2022. But as for vehicle hardware, we can't say the same.

Even a cursory glance at the multitude of bits and pieces of info regarding a prospective Apple motor vehicle division over the last eight years reveals a habit of extreme secrecy and oftentimes even downright exaggeration of the truth. In 2022, it's to the point where some are starting to doubt that the project is even real.

It's believed to have been greenlit by Apple's CEO Tim Cook back in 2014, with rumors of Apple's old boss Steve Jobs expressing interest in the idea as far back as 2008. Contemporary reports from the period seemed to indicate that former Mercedes-Benz North America's chief executive of R&D Johann Jungwirth was contacted to help get the project rolling.

All alongside a contingent of thousands of new employees specializing in automotive workflows. By 2016, even Tesla CEO Elon Musk was convinced that Apple was keen on bringing an all-electric car to market to compete with his own by the time the decade was out. "It's pretty hard to hide something if you hire over a thousand engineers to do it," Musk was quoted as saying at the time.

By this time, the media had applied a name to Apple's initiative, Project Titan. But even as Apple registered 27 vehicles with varying levels of autonomous driving capability in 2018, by 2019 it was reported that the company had laid off as many as 200 staff members working on Titan.

Leaving hopes of a hip and trendy Apple car by the year 2020 up in smoke, even before the global health crisis made it all but a guaranteed must. Even with Bob Mansfield, one of Apple's premier hardware engineers, purported to be the project lead, we'd be hard-pressed to find more information regarding Apple's EV project for quite some time.

But come 2021, it appeared Apple was ready to loosen its perpetually tight lips regarding project Titan. Only for us all to wish they'd kept their mouths shut. Information seems to point to a new direction for the Apple Car, one of a fully autonomous electric car, without a driver's seat and possibly even Virtual/Augmented Reality displays instead of a windscreen.

Couple that with a few less-than-flattering renderings done by independent graphic artists of what the Apple car may look like, and suddenly people are a lot less excited for what's to come. Heck, even technology commentators with no stake in the auto industry, like, off the top of my head, Mutahar Anas of SomeOrdinaryGamers, have gotten in on the fun.

If not for a report at the beginning of this year by the Korea Economic Daily that Apple was in contact with Hyundai to develop and manufacture the Apple Car, there's a good chance we'd be as in the dark about proceedings as we were before the turn of the decade. Korean analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims such a collaboration, either with Hyundai or a Japanese brand like Toyota or Nissan, won't see results until at least 2025, or perhaps far longer. Meanwhile, project lead Christopher “CJ” Moore anounced in May of this year he'd be leaving the team for another tech company.

It seems Apple's blanket refusal to be completely forthcoming with the auto industry has only sewed distrust and possibly even some animosity between itself and global automakers. But even with all this history as context, the real reason so many people soured on the idea of an Apple car has less to do with the auto industry, and more to do with their ever-shady practices when it comes to first-party repairs.

As we've seen with Tesla, trendy EV companies have proven to be downright authoritarian when it comes to who can and can't service their vehicles, with real consequences for those who go against their guidelines. It's a practice that, in many regards, began with Apple and their Genius Bar over in the smartphone industry. It's safe to say, a second EV company engaging in unscrupulous business practices at dealer service centers is something the auto industry doesn't need at this moment.

There are plenty of legitimate and ethically passable startup EV companies out there far more deserving of our hard-earned money.

 
 
 
 
 

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