The iPhone maker has remained completely tight-lipped on everything related to the Apple Car so far, and while Apple watcher might not find this surprising, considering the FBI-like strategy the company typically uses, the reason is different.
Reliable tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the Apple Car project "seems to have lost all visibility" at the moment, so its launch in the coming years is uncertain.
Here's what this means, what Apple's options currently are, and why the company seems to direct more resources to other products.
Apple wants to control everything, so not letting other companies handle parts of the Apple Car production was critical for the strategy.
It didn't work, and at one point, Apple even planned to work with a traditional carmaker to make the Apple Car production. Finding a partner proved very difficult, especially because auto manufacturers didn’t want to work with Apple for a simple reason: with an Apple Car, the firm would become a direct competitor, so nobody wanted to be in charge of building a rival to their own models.
Apple eventually discussed the collaboration with Hyundai, but the talks abruptly ended after the carmaker spilled the beans on the project.
The analyst says the development of the vehicle "seems to have lost all visibility." In plain English, Apple focuses less on the Apple Car than it used to a couple of years ago when the project was considered a high-priority product in the company's long-term strategy.
Apple seems to direct more resources to other products, including the iPhone and the Apple Watch.
2024 is expected to witness big announcements for the two products, especially as the 2023 refresh was modest. The new Apple Watch models barely introduced new capabilities, but Apple is believed to be working on a dramatic overhaul for the next generation.
2024 will mark the tenth anniversary of the Apple Watch. Tentatively called Apple Watch X, the next smartwatch will receive the biggest upgrade since its debut, with Apple focusing heavily on health and activity tracking.
iPhone 16 will also get major upgrades, including a slimmer body, a new capacitive capture button, and other internal improvements for increased performance. Apple is also working on a foldable iPhone, though it's unclear if it will be unveiled next year.
The latest rumors on the Apple Car front suggested that Apple even dropped some planned capabilities to bring the vehicle to the market faster. The company initially planned the Apple Car to sport full self-driving capabilities, but the first iteration could eventually launch with limited capabilities in this regard.
The vehicle would feature a more conventional approach, with a steering wheel and pedals – at one point, Apple wanted the Apple Car to launch as a living room on wheels, completely changing the interior concept; the vehicle was supposed to lack a steering wheel and pedals, betting all-in on autonomous driving.
Most of Apple's ideas face significant challenges, and Kuo's suggestion that acquisitions could save the project makes perfect sense. Apple did not suspend the work on the Apple Car, but bringing it to the market at the right time could eventually become more expensive than the company initially expected.
Apple's best option, though also the costliest, is the takeover of a traditional carmaker. You can use the box after the jump to tell us who would make for a perfect Apple acquisition to make the Apple Car happen.