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Based on a few rumors, reputable news publishers are claiming, with certainty, that Apple is working on an electric car. Despite the hype, Apple is not developing an automobile.
Let’s face it, the Internet is full of misinformation. It used to be true that one could trust the online presence of a major publication. This is no longer true. Formerly trustworthy news agencies now seem to eschew fact checking and honesty. After a few reputable news publishers have gone in the direction of wild speculation, others have been forced to down to the lowest common denominator in order to compete.
Recently, the Internet has been flood with news stories about an Apple car that will debut in 2020. This is highly unlikely. Let’s take a look at the “facts” as well as the motivations for creating a mythical product.
What We Know About the Apple Car
The Apple car has been completely fabricated out of a few flimsy rumors. These are not even facts, but supposed leaks from sources. Since journalists often do not reveal their sources, we have no clue as to the validity of these facts.
One supposed fact is that Apple has a few hundred employees working on an automotive product with the code name “Titan”. The company has also hired several employees from the automotive industry. From these vague facts, major news publications and agencies, such as the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and Bloomberg, have created a myth that Apple is working on an electric car. They even have a date when the car will go into production — 2020.
Another claim is that Apple engineers are working on new battery technologies. There is some speculation that these new batteries are intended for automobiles. This may be true, but it doesn’t mean that they will power an electric car. If Apple’s goal is to add their devices to your car, these technologies will need power. A car equipped with Apple products may very well need a dedicated battery to operate these gadgets.
If you own a car with a lot of built-in electronics, you probably know that it is rough on the battery. Many of the devices operate even when your car is turned off. Indeed, many new cars need to be driven at least once a week or they will not start. The electronics deplete the car battery, even when the car is parked and turned off.
There have been sightings of Apple minivans loaded with electronic gear. Many writers have come to the conclusion that this means Apple is working on a minivan. One might as well conclude they are developing a jalopy! These minivans are clearly working to improve Apple Maps. The notion that they are developing a minivan is ludicrous. This ridiculous speculation is all the more reason to doubt an upcoming Apple Car. This is simply digital pseudo-news garbage. It’s click bait.
Why There Won’t Be An Apple Car
It takes well-established car manufacturers about 5-7 years to design and manufacture a car. This takes into account that they have been doing this for decades and often base a new car on an existing model. Auto manufacturers also have a well-established supply chain and manufacturing facilities. They have a network of dealerships. Next to jets, spacecraft, missiles and ships, cars are some of the most complicated products to create.
Apple has absolutely no expertise when it comes to developing cars. In fact, they don’t even excel in many areas of computing. For example, Apple has no enterprise products. They do not make an enterprise database, like Oracle, IBM and Microsoft. They don’t make application servers either. Even when it comes to computing, Apple has a limited niche. They make devices, operating systems and applications for consumers and audio/visual professionals. Apple doesn’t even make video games. It is a quantum leap for Apple to get into car manufacturing, when they have been so careful to stick with what they are good at.
Steve Jobs, although deceased, still defines Apple’s corporate culture and operating values. One of his main criticisms of rival tech companies is that they lack focus. Apple has been successful because they don’t take on products that are beyond their expertise. They don’t have an Internet search engine, social network or enterprise products, unlike their competitors.
Apple focuses on creating personal computing devices, such as the iPod, iPhone, iPad and Macintosh. I think it is more likely that Apple will move away from the Mac Pro and other professional products, folding them into their personal products. After all, as computing power increases, devices like an iPad or low-end Macintosh are now more suitable for professional media production.
Most automobile manufacturers make very slim profit margins. It is common for automotive companies to make 1-2% in profit per vehicle. It is unlikely that Apple would get involved in any business with such slim profit margins. Each iPhone yields a whopping 69% in profit. Not even Porsche can achieve this kind of profitability. Apple would never get into an industry with such paltry profit margins. (continue…)