- Bold predictions for self-driving car technology claimed that vehicles would be available for sale by 2020.
- 2023 is here, and no major car manufacturer or technology company offers autonomous vehicles.
- A few car manufacturers offer cars that are “almost” self-driving.
- Autonomous trucks, with human supervision, have been transporting goods along the I10 corridor between Los Angeles and Phoenix.
- Tech companies often present an optimistic future outlook to boost stock performance.
2023 is Here, and We Still Don’t Have Self-Driving Cars
Around 2015, the media buzzed with excitement over self-driving cars. The world was still pulling out of the Great Recession, with the tech-heavy NASDAQ receding after five years of gradual improvement.
Virtually every media outlet claimed self-driving cars were in development by Apple, Google, Tesla, Ford, GM, and myriad other manufacturers. The tech media went so far as to say Apple was working on “Project Titan” — a self-driving car set to debut in 2020.
Appledystopia took a different view. The media hyped self-driving cars, and I called this correctly. The notion that Apple would have a self-driving car for sale by 2020 was ludicrous. The company can’t even create a product to replace the iPhone, which is rapidly losing demand.
Apart from a few human-supervised autonomous trucks, self-driving cars are not yet a reality. The technology will arrive; however, such complex systems take years to develop and perhaps longer to prove safety and efficacy. The greater question is: did tech journalists misinform the public for the sake of clickbait or to boost tech stocks?
Self-Driving Car Articles As Clickbait
Around the early spring of 2015, tech publishers put out a trove of articles celebrating self-driving cars. The articles, written by “journalists” who have never worked in tech, offered optimistic visions of the future. Self-driving cars would be on the road by 2020. Apple was even working on their own vehicle that would ship in 2020. It’s now mid-March 2023, I live in Silicon Valley, and I still have yet to see a self-driving car on the road.
Tech publications are known for exaggerating reality for the sake of readership. The more outrageous the claims, the more eyeballs they receive. As more tech companies wrote about self-driving cars, public interest increased. Addressing trending news, publishers created more content about autonomous vehicles. The feedback loop continued until people became bored, eventually fizzling out.
Both social media and search engines give people more of what they want. Be it a political movement, social media trend, or new, emerging technology, if people are interested, the media gives them more and more until they reach fatigue.
While it’s easy to see how the self-driving car craze of 2015 emerged on its own, there’s a more nefarious reality. It’s possible that tech companies wrote about self-driving cars to boost stock.
Mark Gurman is a Big, Fat Liar: How Apple Car Rumors Shed Light on Our Dishonest and Trashy Tech Media
No one has gone out on a limb over the Apple Car more than Mark Gurman. In today’s tech journalism, you’re considered a genius if you have a morally bankrupt friend at Apple who leaks information in exchange for a few bucks (because Apple employees receive below-average compensation and are often hired based on cronyism instead of merit). Also, similar to other fields of journalism, it’s more about assembling a narrative that people want to read (even if it’s false) than reporting facts with priority. There are more critical tech news stories than Knight Rider fan fiction.
There is no Apple Car. There will never be an Apple Car. It’s clickbait so Mark can earn revenues for Bloomberg and others. It may also be a quid-pro-quo situation, where Mark helps boost Apple stock in exchange for more leaks from Apple employees. Federal authorities and Apple should look into this.
For the past decade, Mark Gurman touted the arrival of the Apple Car, moving the goalpost up every few years. First, it was coming in 2020. Then it was 2022. Well, both years elapsed without an Apple Car. Now Gurman insists it’s coming in 2026. Many of his past predictions have been deleted, but I remember them well and have been able to find the last few traces of repeated deception.
Paperwork would already need to be filed with the DOT and other federal regulators for Apple to launch a car in 2026. You’d see drone footage of early Apple Cars at the purported test facility. After all, the Apple Car is less than three years away, so they’d already have prototypes on the road, or at least on the proving grounds. There’s nothing other than some lies from Mark Gurman and others.
Where are the contracts for automotive parts? Beyond CarPlay, an in-dash extension of its ecosystem, Apple has nothing automotive in the works. The most reliable Apple analyst, who actually has merit, Ming Chi-Kuo, says Apple disbanded the team along with plans for a 2025 launch. Ming Chi-Kuo looks at the supply chain for leaks. Nothing indicates an Apple Car. It’s a big lie.
Even Ming Chi-Kuo knows there will not be an Apple Car, but I’m surprised he even went there. Typically, he has more integrity. He likely had to stoop to such a low level because it’s the common denominator of today’s tech journalism. He could either roll around in the lie or be irrelevant on the issue. It’s mostly a collection of big, fat liars pushing bits of trash into your browser. Most people don’t enjoy reading lies disguised as news. The average reader believes this is solid journalism.
The outlandish nature of the lie may be the crux of the Apple Car phenomenon. Some people will believe it and read the article. Others will doubt it, read the article, and post a comment. Whether you believe in an Apple Car or not, it’s an engaging subject, just like an orange-tinted authoritarian leader. The problem is that it’s a lie, and journalists shouldn’t report falsehoods. Even worse, the “journalist” concocted the lie, in this case, and many others. If Gurman and his employer, Bloomberg, properly framed this content, it would be “fictional technology speculation” and not journalism.
Apple can’t even make a decent smartwatch. My Apple Watch can no longer conduct Apple Pay transactions or connect to any iCloud apps after upgrading to Watch OS 9. Signing in to iCloud doesn’t resolve the issue because I’m already signed in. I know how to fix it — reset my watch back to factory defaults. But there are better uses of my time than fiddling with such a poor product. It’s not even suitable for running.
I now understand why people buy an Apple Watch and wear it for a few months before it lives out its remaining life on a nightstand. It’s useless and doesn’t live up to its promises. Do you think this company can make a car? In three years? With the same leadership that produced the Apple Watch? THAT’S ABSURD!
I don’t think anyone at Apple has gone for an outdoor run using an Apple Watch and its lame Workout app. You have to fiddle with the PoS at every intersection if you want a precise time. Apple still needs to figure out how to accurately track an urban street run, which millions of smartwatch owners require. The iPhone maker doesn’t even have FDA approval for any of its health sensors, let alone DOT approval for a car that’s supposed to come out in three years.
How can Apple make a car when they can’t even make a decent smartwatch? Have you noticed that almost no one wears an Apple Watch anymore? The iPhone was developed and launched under Steve Jobs’ much better leadership. Tim Cook can’t innovate or even maintain the quality of what Apple already has. The notion of Tim Cook’s Apple launching an autonomous or semi-autonomous motor vehicle is hilarious.
Before 2020, tech “journalists” used evidence of Apple Watch development as false proof of the Apple Car. Apple had a facility where they were testing the Apple Watch; however, a few bad actors in the tech media claimed it was for Apple Car development. They even have a test track! But where are the Apple Cars driving on the proving ground? Nowhere, because they DO NOT EXIST AND WILL NEVER EXIST!
One of the most humorous claims is that Apple Watch lead Kevin Lynch is critical to the Apple Car’s future. In my opinion, Lynch did an abysmal job with the Apple Watch. It’s a shabby product. The Apple Car lies continue with this claim that one of Apple’s weakest executives is heading up a bigger project than the iPhone.
I wonder why Mark Gurman has a job in journalism or how he got hired in the first place. He seems better suited for sales. Typically, the Internet pushes liars and myth-makers to the nether regions. For some reason, with tech news and rumors, ridiculous lies spouted by self-described tech messiahs are the mainstay of trashy journalism. It’s garbage. I wouldn’t even eat fish and chips off it, but thankfully, it’s only digital. No one would print such trash. It’s a waste of ink and paper.
As someone who has worked in tech for decades, playing fantasy football with technology is entirely unnecessary. That’s all it is — a bunch of lies so someone can seem “with it” at the water cooler. I bet some hardcore Apple fans are squirreling money away to buy the first Apple Car that comes off the line.
People want to read and regurgitate the lies, because it makes them feel superior. “I know something you don’t.” But they don’t know anything because the grand prediction will never happen.
All of Gurman’s Apple contacts have either been terminated or silenced because he hasn’t been able to predict anything other than the blatantly obvious. Appletrack.com maintains a list of his predictive accomplishments, which they manipulate to remove his failures and claim simple observations as successes. Mark correctly predicted that there would be more watch faces in watchOS 9! Wowee! How does he do it? GENIUS! Come on. They’re remarkably obvious predictions that anyone would formulate.
I never went to journalism school, but I know plenty of people who did. Instead, I worked in Silicon Valley at important companies that Mark can only write about (falsely and incorrectly). I also know that most people who write copy for print, online, and TV news never went to journalism school. Many don’t even have bachelor’s degrees. It’s more of a specific ethnic background that’s preferred, rather than merit or competence, because media jobs are so easy.
Who gets paid $500k a year to read off a teleprompter for a few hours daily has more to do with ethnicity than merit. At least 30% of the American public have the skills to work in the news industry, yet a small ethnic minority continually dominates the field, with a complete absence of merit.
In either event, I’m pretty sure a journalist’s job isn’t to predict things. That’s what fortune tellers do. They’re supposed to report the facts, not make up lies about Apple Cars and continue to kick the can of lies down the road for the better part of a decade.
Enough of the Apple Car lies! I’m so sick and tired of these fake journalists who’ve turned technology into something resembling a fantasy sports delusion. We even have a quarterback to lead the Apple Car team, which disbanded in 2021 if it ever existed. It was likely a small team spitballing about possibilities that would never materialize. Even more likely, the Apple Car team never existed, and it’s 100% false. I remember Craig Federighi laughing about it at a keynote almost ten years ago, because it is funny.
It took a few years for Apple to get Reminders to function correctly. Remember that? You couldn’t even sort the lists for a few years. What kind of developers do they hire in Cupertino? Former Bloomberg “journalists”? It seems likely, given the quality of some first-party Apple apps. They had to ship off Apple Maps to Hyderabad, India, to get something worth using. Perhaps Apple is working on an autorickshaw there too? It’s just as likely as an Apple Car.
The public deserves better news. No one cares if Mark Gurman or Gark Murman writes about Apple. They just need something to read on the toilet. Bloomberg had the opportunity to do the right thing and hire an honest, competent journalist. Instead, they hired, promoted, and groomed another clickbait monkey with geek-level celebrity status (in other words, 99.99% of people don’t know who he is). Ultimately, it undermines Bloomberg’s credibility, which is about as low as Forbes these days. (Here’s the new iOS flaw that will totally destroy your iPhone unless you read our lame article…)
Autonomous Vehicle News Boosts Stock Prices
While there are many fundamentals involved in stock valuation, a corporation’s perceived future value is paramount these days. Corporations like Amazon don’t turn a profit, yet their stock soars on future optimism. Public relations and marketing efforts aim to convince the public that breakthrough technology will yield higher stock prices in the future.
After years of recovering from the Great Recession, early 2015 saw a retreat in the tech-heavy NASDAQ. A public relations push from tech corporations could have led to a rise in autonomous vehicle articles. The effort may have helped boost the stock of some corporations.
There Are Semi-Autonomous Vehicles
As with most emerging technologies, new features make their way into products. Over time, there’s a great leap forward, and a whole new category of products is born.
Smartphones are a perfect example of this evolution. Before the iPhone, LG’s Prada served as an advanced feature phone. Although it paled in comparison to the first iPhone, it provided inspiration and direction essential for creating the first true smartphones.
Similarly, autonomous vehicles are getting their start as features in human-driven automobiles. Instead of “self-driving”, the term “autopilot” describes the vehicles’ semi-autonomous nature. Think of it more like cruise control on steroids than autonomous driving.
Automotive experts rank levels of autonomous driving from zero to five. The lowest level of automation indicates a vehicle that doesn’t even have cruise control. Level 1 features cruise control, which is relatively old technology. For 2020 and 2021, most automakers are focusing on level 2, which allows for control over steering, braking, and velocity.
The second level of automated driving enables some impressive technologies. Automatic lane centering can steer a drifting driver back on course. Some autonomous systems even allow for complete control, but only on select routes. We’ve come a long way; however, we’re not at the point where we can take a nap and let the car drive for us.
When Will We Have Truly Autonomous Cars?
While it’s not clear when consumers can purchase self-driving cars, this reality is not far off. Right now, autonomous trucks are delivering goods along the I10 corridor, albeit with human supervision. Level 2 automation in modern cars helps prevent accidents and makes it easier to drive.
My educated guess is that the first autonomous cars will be available to consumers within the next 5 to 10 years. Lawmakers must draft new regulations for autonomous vehicles. When corporations are involved, change usually happens rapidly. The technology must also be proven safe.
Make no mistake, self-driving cars will become a reality. I’m trying to keep my current vehicle in good condition, hoping my next automobile will be autonomous. When autonomous cars arrive, we can look forward to being more productive while moving along on roads and highways made safer by technology.