Despite all of the rumors and media about Apple’s Project Titan, alleged self-driving electric car project, analysts at Piper Jaffray have a new idea. This came about the other day when multiple reports published that Apple invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, the “Uber” of China.
Piper Jaffray wrote:
When consumers use an Uber-like service, we believe that brand of the vehicle is of little concern … We believe that being the taxi service platform is likely to be the most lucrative part of the business vs the hardware (car) side of the business. While it is difficult to determine the full intention of Apple’s investment, if the company were to integrate the software elements of an autonomous taxi service with stylishly designed and easy to use hardware in cars, perhaps Apple could replicate the integrated hardware/software model that helped make the iPhone so successful.
If it is true that car hailing customers don’t really care much about the type of car, the analysts could be on to something. Apple could focus on its car apps and the technology and mobility side of the auto industry and make money without focusing on the actual car itself. This is not to say that Apple won’t continue to work toward a vehicle, but it would be less of a necessity to the entire equation.
The system could be set up such that pressing a button on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch would hail a “driverless” iCar or Apple Car. Siri could talk to the rider and get directions, set climate control, tune the radio in etc. The huge investment in China’s largest car hailing service would be the perfect way for Apple to collect user data and begin to get this plan in motion.
Uber and Google have both hired car experts, and more specifically, those with experience in self-driving technologies. Apple has the money and clout to hire practically anyone, and for any reason. Neither Uber nor Google seem to have any plans to build their own vehicles. All of these companies are hardware, software, internet, and app based.
Today, it’s becoming much less about the car and more about the services. As the news continues to flow, it should become increasingly clear what Apple’s true intentions are for Project Titan.
Source (Business Insider)