Apple iCar: Not So Crazy?
In a New York Times article talking about a potential Apple iWatch, Nick Bilton touches on Apple's penchant for pushing the boundaries, even taking on the automobile industry. Before Jobs passed away, Apple reportedly wanted to make its own car. Prior to his death in October 2011, Jobs had a meeting with John Markoff of The New York Times , telling Markoff that he would've liked Apple to do something with autos.
This isn't the first time we've heard about Apple and autos. Back in August, Apple's Senior Vice President of Marketing, Phil Schiller, touched on this subject during the company's patent trial with Samsung. "First, Apple had been known for years for the Mac. Then we had a big hit called the iPod -- it really changed the view inside and outside the company," Schiller said. "People were suggesting every idea: make a camera, make a car -- crazy stuff."
Going a step further, some notable Apple employees have deep rooted passion for cars. Schiller lists cars as one of his passions on his Twitter bio. Eddy Cue, senior vice president of internet software and services, sits on Ferrari's board. Tim Cook actually met with Ferrari's CEO Luca di Montezemolo last year, further fueling the fire.
Google's (GOOG) working on driverless cars in its quest for domination of every facet of technology. A car either developed solely by Apple, or with the help of, say, General Motors (GM) or Ford (F) , could get the attention off Google's driverless car and back on Apple. The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm sorely needs to regain its reputation for cutting-edge innovation, given the recent downturn in the stock .
As far back as I can remember, there's always been speculation that Apple would move into automobiles, perhaps designing its own car. Several years ago, for example, there were rumors that Apple would work with Volkswagen to build the reported iCar.
Perhaps with the recent success of electric vehicles, Apple would move away from traditional automakers, and maybe work with Tesla Motors (TSLA) , where there are already grounds for a relationship.
George Blankenship, Tesla's vice president of worldwide sales and ownership experience (who I interviewed in June ), is a former Apple guy. In fact, Tesla's retail experience is a direct result of Blankenship's time at Apple.
I'd be willing to bet dollars to donuts that Apple has (or had) plans for an iCar somewhere in the drawers in Cupertino. You can also guarantee that Siri would (or will) likely play a major role in it too.