What is the place of a car in Apple’s plans? The iPod is one possible comparison: It was an essential product that made Apple out of a computer company, and it set the stage for the iPhone. Or it could be like Apple Television, which was an obvious entry point but into an otherwise unattractive market – but it never happened.
More than technology, Apple is synonymous with concrete and profitable growth. If a car arrives, our forecast has to reconcile with that.
“It’s very clear that Apple has the ambition to build a car,” says Gene Munster, managing partner of Loup Ventures and staunch Apple observer. “It wasn’t clear six months ago.” But ambitions can take many forms. If it made a car, Apple would certainly outsource the actual manufacturing, as it does with its electronics. It can focus on part of a car as a signature, just likestood out with its full-screen user interface and operating system, while it lagged behind in copy-paste, 3G, and other features.
One avenue the company will almost certainly avoid is to contribute to another make of car. “Licensing models are a lot easier to approach,” says Munster, “but it’s just not in Apple’s DNA to do so.”
The timing of a car can be more lax. “I think it’s important to make a distinction between when Apple is working on something and when it is born,” says Munster. Added to this deliberate approach is the fact that battery prices continue to fall, which works in Apple’s favor when deciding whether the car build is compatible with its. .
One way Munster doesn’t expect to see an Apple car is partnering with Tesla, as logical as that may be on an industrial level. Both companies are stubborn and committed to undiluted visions of their products, so not necessarily good people.
Watch the embedded video to see me learn the pros and cons of the hardest thing to predict about Apple.