While there’s still no absolute proof that Apple will make a car, and it seems that the plan is changing on a regular basis, the Apple Car entering the transportation sector around 2020, makes more sense than many may realize.
Keep in mind, the rumors about the timeline changing, the project changing, the direction changing – they are not any different than the rumors of the entire project itself – or the initial rumors concerning direction and timeline. No matter how you look at it, it all adds up, and Apple isn’t the rookie company that would be expected to make bad choices and plan things poorly.
Five years or so from today, we will be looking at the pinnacle of long-range, all-electric, connected vehicles, with much greater market saturation. Also, autonomous technology will have had years to get its feet wet, and deal with all of the government and insurance company regulations.
Why would Apple quickly enter a market that is not yet successful? Why make a car that few are ready to buy? Electric vehicles are far from mainstream.
Technology and data systems are improving by leaps and bounds, but have a long way to go. When the technology becomes more widespread, and thus cheaper, it will make more sense. Battery technology is also progressing quickly. But, we are just getting to the point that a small few electric vehicles can attain ranges somewhat closer to ICE cars.
If Apple is smart, and we have no doubt about that, the company will let others deal with the implications of self-driving systems. Apple will watch as electric car battery technology grows and gets to where it needs to be, and cost plummets. When Apple enters the market, the hope is that everyday consumers are regularly purchasing affordable electric vehicles. Once it is all commonplace, Apple can move headfirst into the market and trump the competition.
The recent Paris Motor Show demonstrated that electric and autonomous vehicles are the way of the future. Never have we seen such a display of what companies are doing or planning to do in the segment. Yingchao Yu, founder and CEO for battery component start-up Lionano, believes that five years from now is the turning point for electric vehicles to become the main option for consumers. He explained:
“The past 10 years have seen an unprecedented growth of investment in clean energy technology.Many people immediately think of energy sources such as wind and solar, or final uses such as electric vehicles, but this also means that energy storage is booming.”
Cybersecurity and cloud-based systems are seeing roadblocks, and strides are being taken to move toward what is necessary in those industries. Again, it will be a few years or more before we see marked improvements in such systems, that make connected cars safe and hardware and software systems highly capable.
Apple is not known for being groundbreaking. Instead, the company brings products to the forefront (like the iPhone and the iPad), that are aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly. The technology was already there when Apple moved into such markets. Apple just did it better. Levy Raiz, a partner at venture capital firm Flint Capital, hits it on the nose:
“Apple has a lot to give on the consumer interface side. They know how to make products stupid simple for users. That’s exactly the direction of the industry in the next 10 to 15 years. Why is it natural? Because currently cars are perceived as the industry due for innovation and disruption. And Apple is perceived as a player that knows how to bring innovation and disruption into consumer electronics. Someday cars will just be one one more device, not a big thing like owning a house like it was 30 or 40 years ago.”