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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Apple Automotive Historical past – The place Did Growth Go Flawed?

After spending a decade growing an autonomous automotive, Apple this week determined it was time to drag an AirPower and shut down the challenge. The Apple Automotive isn’t any extra, and Apple is not planning to launch an Apple-branded electrical car.

Apple car wheel icon feature purple
The a whole lot of engineers and automotive consultants who have been engaged on the car will likely be laid off or distributed to different groups inside Apple, together with the AI workforce. The ‌Apple Automotive‌ is among the longest operating rumors that we have been reporting on with no product materializing, so we thought we would have a look again at a number of the key moments within the ‌Apple Automotive‌’s historical past to supply some perception into what went improper.

2015 – Early Growth

In early 2015, a van leased to Apple surfaced on the streets of Harmony, California with LiDAR gear on its roof. Apple had been utilizing vans like this for mapping functions, however the {hardware} appeared much like {hardware} being utilized by firms testing self-driving software program. This one car sighting ended up sparking a slew of rumors.

That very same month, an unnamed Apple worker informed Enterprise Insider that Apple would “give Tesla a run for its cash,” and Monetary Occasions claimed that Apple was recruiting automotive expertise and car design consultants to work in a “top-secret analysis lab.” The Wall Avenue Journal then broke a narrative with in-depth particulars on the a whole lot of workers engaged on an Apple-branded minivan-like electrical car.

There have been a lot of different key headlines and particulars shared in 2015.

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook dinner reportedly accredited the self-driving automotive challenge in 2014.
  • On the time, the challenge was led by Steve Zadesky, Apple VP of Product Design and a former Ford engineer. It was overseen by Dan Riccio, Apple’s SVP of {hardware} engineering.
  • In 2015, Bloomberg stated that Apple was hoping to supply the automotive by 2020. Later, the WSJ stated it could possibly be prepared as quickly as 2019.
  • Apple was stated to be assembly with Magna Steyr, BMW, and automotive firms because it sought a associate.
  • The Guardian revealed a report that Apple wasn’t simply engaged on an electrical car, it was engaged on an autonomous car. The report additionally stated that Apple had prototypes prepared for testing, which wasn’t correct.
  • Former Basic Motors CEO Dan Akerson stated that Apple was underestimating the problem of working within the automotive enterprise. “They do not know what they’re entering into,” he stated.
  • Apple employed a ton of auto consultants from automotive firms and from firms with experience in autonomous autos.
  • Apple’s “secret” automotive headquarters have been positioned in Sunnyvale, California, near the Infinite Loop campus.

2016 and 2017 – First Indicators of Strife Result in Main Upheaval

The primary hints of bother with the ‌Apple Automotive‌ challenge surfaced in January 2016, with ‌Apple Automotive‌ lead Steve Zadesky departing the corporate. Round this time, Apple registered a number of domains, together with apple.automotive and apple.auto.

Former Apple SVP of applied sciences Bob Mansfield got here out of retirement to go up the challenge, and underneath his path, rumors recommended that Apple was specializing in an autonomous driving system with the purpose of partnering with a automotive producer sooner or later. Apple saved aggressively hiring, and at the moment, break up improvement into the {hardware} for the automotive and the software program that may run on it.

Apple Car front side
With the transition to Mansfield’s management, a whole lot of workers have been fired or reassigned, and in late 2016, there was a significant upheaval. Apple “deserted” plans to construct its personal car and gave Mansfield’s workforce a 2017 deadline to show the feasibility of a self-driving system.

In early 2017, white Lexus RX450h SUVs outfitted with LiDAR gear and piloted by Apple workers have been noticed within the Bay Space, and Apple has used these autos to check its autonomous driving methods up till now. Apple was additionally rumored to be testing its self-driving expertise at a facility in Arizona.

Apple at the moment was additionally engaged on constructing an autonomous shuttle in partnership with Volkswagen to ferry workers to the Infinite Loop campus, however that was nixed.

‌Tim Cook dinner‌ made the weird determination to substantiate that Apple was engaged on autonomous driving. “We’re specializing in autonomous methods,” Cook dinner stated. “It is a core expertise that we view as essential.” He went on to say that it was the “mom of all AI tasks,” describing it as “one of the vital troublesome AI tasks truly to work on.”

2018 and 2019 – Full Automotive Shelved, Quiet Work on Autonomous Driving Techniques

In 2018, Apple continued to develop the variety of SUVs it was utilizing to check autonomous driving software program. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated that the ‌Apple Automotive‌ can be Apple’s subsequent “star product” and that it will launch in 2023 to 2025. Kuo claimed it will revolutionize the auto market, likening it to the launch of the iPhone.

2018 was a quiet 12 months for the ‌Apple Automotive‌ as Apple labored on self-driving methods behind the scenes, however towards the top of the 12 months there was hypothesis that the automotive challenge was again on as a result of hiring of former Ford lead engineer Doug Area.

In 2019, there have been little hints that the ‌Apple Automotive‌ was nonetheless within the works. Apple had talks with LiDAR sensor suppliers, searching for superior designs. Apple additionally bought self-driving car startup Drive.ai.

Mid-year, there was a enjoyable rumor that Jony Ive had needed to design the ‌Apple Automotive‌ with no steering wheel, an idea that may resurface later.

2020 and 2021 – One other Management Shakeup Renews Curiosity in Apple Automotive

2020 was the 12 months of the pandemic, and for 11 months, we heard nothing in regards to the ‌Apple Automotive‌. Behind the scenes although, the challenge was present process one other management change. Bob Mansfield was out, and ‌Apple Automotive‌ improvement shifted to John Giannandrea, Apple’s AI chief, with Doug Area overseeing day-to-day operations.

In December, rumors recommended an Apple-branded car was again on, and that Apple was allegedly in talks with well-known automotive electronics suppliers.

2021 introduced quite a few rumors of an Apple partnership with Hyundai for the ‌Apple Automotive‌, and Hyundai even confirmed the connection earlier than strolling it again. The deal finally dissolved, maybe due to Hyundai’s lack of discretion. Apple held talks with a number of Japanese automakers, however no partnership materialized. For a time, there have been rumors that Apple would use Hyundai’s E-GMP electrical battery platform, however that did not occur.

csm hyundai ev platform apple car
Towards the top of the 12 months, Doug Area left Apple, and there was yet one more management change, with Apple Watch chief Kevin Lynch taking up underneath John Giannandrea.

2022 and 2023 – Steering Wheel-Free Design Rumored as Challenge Loses Focus

In 2022, ‌Apple Automotive‌ rumors heated up after The Info revealed a report suggesting that Apple was engaged on a design with 4 seats that confronted inward, a curved ceiling, and huge seat-back screens that raised and lowered. There was speak of a automotive with no steering wheel or pedals.

canoo interior 1

‌Apple Automotive‌ was rumored to have a design much like the Canoo, pictured within the picture above. Canoo’s self-driving automotive has no steering wheel and a limousine-like inside.

The identical report stated that Apple’s self-driving expertise was missing, with Apple’s SUVs hitting curbs, having bother staying of their lanes, and struggling to navigate streets. One car reportedly virtually bumped into an individual.

Late in 2022, Bloomberg stated that Apple had once more deserted plans for a completely autonomous car, as an alternative aiming for a self-driving mode that labored on highways. Apple was stated to be planning an Apple Automotive launch for 2026, providing a scaled again model of the car.

Reasonably than the fantastical design with no steering wheel, the automotive was stated to have a extra conventional design and a value level round $100,000.

Rumors in regards to the ‌Apple Automotive‌ dried up in 2023 and we heard little about all of it 12 months. In September 2023, Apple analyst ‌Ming-Chi Kuo‌ stated the challenge had “misplaced all visibility,” and he warned that with out an acquisition, Apple wouldn’t have an opportunity of manufacturing a automotive inside the subsequent a number of years.

2024 – Apple Automotive in Bother

In January 2024, Bloomberg stated that Apple had scaled again the Apple Automotive design a second time, forgetting plans of extra superior autonomous performance. Apple needed the automotive to have the ability to drive by itself on highways, however that was too bold. As a substitute, Apple settled for driver-assistance options much like how Tesla autos function, with the automotive providing steering and brake/acceleration assist.

vanamara apple car concept3

Whereas Apple had been aiming for a 2026 launch, with the brand new challenge modifications, that was pushed to 2028. Bloomberg warned that if Apple determined it was unable to supply an electrical car with this extra restricted characteristic set, executives would possibly cancel the challenge.

Only a month after that report, Apple executives determined to go forward and surrender on the Apple Automotive, focusing as an alternative on AI. Some ‌Apple Automotive‌ workers will transfer to Apple’s generative AI workforce, whereas others will likely be laid off or might want to apply for brand new positions inside Apple.

As of now, the ‌Apple Automotive‌ joins two different canceled Apple tasks – the AirPower charging mat nixed in 2019 and the Apple TV set that was rumored for a number of years proper round 2014.


Trying again on the ‌Apple Automotive‌’s historical past, it is clear that the a number of management modifications and virtually yearly redirects of the challenge finally led to Apple’s determination to finish work on growing a car.

Apple executives have been by no means fairly satisfied of the viability of an ‌Apple Automotive‌ due to the large price and security danger concerned with autonomous driving capabilities, and there was nobody at Apple that was in a position to convey it to fruition.

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