If you’ve been patiently waiting for Apple to shock the world and introduce its own branded electric car, you’ll likely have to keep on waiting. Despite reports that Apple Car production was on track to begin in 2024, a recent tweet from noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests otherwise. If anything, the likelihood of an Apple Car release sometime in the next few years seems to be shrinking with each passing month.
Apple Car team needs an overhaul
To call Apple’s automotive plans chaotic would be an understatement. Over the past few years, Apple’s automotive initiative — also known as Project Titan — has seen several key engineers leave. In some instances, new hires from Tesla and Ford leave after just over a year. Moreover, there have been many conflicting reports regarding Apple’s overall ambition in the automotive space.
Is Apple trying to manufacture its own car, with a sleek new design? Or, perhaps, is Apple primarily focusing on self-driving software? Or maybe, might Apple be interested in developing a brand new car from the ground up, a la Tesla?
The answers to these questions are unclear. And truth be told, even Apple itself may be unsure of what it wants.
So let’s dive into Kuo’s recent tweet which was published yesterday. Kuo, who has a stellar record with respect to Apple rumors, drops a bombshell of sorts and notes that Project Titan hasn’t been an ongoing concern for months now.
Kuo also writes that there needs to be a reorganization of the project very soon if mass production has any chance of getting off the ground in 2025.
Speaking to Kuo’s point about reorganization, Apple’s former Project Titan chief Doug Field jumped ship for Ford just a few months ago.
Realistically, Apple, in some form or another, has been working on its Apple Car initiative for about eight years now. And still, an Apple Car release date seems about as likely now as it did four years ago, which is to say it doesn’t seem like we’ll see an Apple-branded EV anytime soon.
The challenges of releasing an EV
Oftentimes, it seems that the intrigue and excitement surrounding the Apple Car make people forget about the immense challenges involved, both logistically and technically.
Further, Apple tends to enter new markets when it can bring something new or better to the table. We saw this play out with the iPod and the iPhone. Both products completely re-imagined what the MP3 player and smartphone respectively were.
The automotive industry, however, is different. There is no shortage of sophisticated players in the market. From Audi and BMW to Tesla and Porsche, there’s not exactly a scarcity of innovation in the automotive industry. In light of that, one has to wonder what an Apple Car would bring to the table.
As Apple executive Greg Joswiak said a few years ago: “If you can’t enter the market and try and be the best in it, don’t enter it. You need that differentiation. At Apple, if we can’t be the best then we are not interested in it.”
On top of all that, you have a myriad of other issues. Where will Apple sell the Apple Car? Where’s the team to develop it? Where’s the infrastructure to mass-produce it? Will Apple ink a deal with a manufacturing partner?
A few years ago, I wrote the following:
Personally, I don’t think Apple has concrete plans to release a car to production by 2020 or any specific date in the future. Rather, I think Apple has put together a team to explore the possibility of developing a car. More to the point, I think Apple is assembling a group of extremely smart individuals in order to assess the viability of further research. I think Apple’s car ambitions, at this point, represent nothing more than a typical R&D project, albeit on a grander scale.
Five years later, nothing has happened that would lead me to change my mind. I hope I’m wrong, but I believe that the odds of us seeing an Apple Car hit the road anytime in the next few years are slim to none.