An Apple iCar? Someday, maybe

Before Steve Jobs passed away, he acknowledged that he would have liked Apple to take on Detroit with its own vehicle.

By TheStreet Staff Feb 11, 2013 2:58PM

An attendee uses an iPad to take a photo of the Honda Motor Crosstour at the New York International Auto Show in 2012 © Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy Chris Ciaccia, TheStreetthestreet logo

 

Apple (AAPL) sells hundreds of millions of iDevices. If Steve Jobs were still around, those products could include an iCar.

 

In a New York Times article this weekend, discussing Apple's possible development of a wristwatch-like gadget, writer Nick Bilton discussed the tech pioneer's penchant for pushing boundaries, even if it meant taking on the automobile industry.

 

 Before his death in October 2011, Jobs confided to Times tech reporter John Markoff that he would have liked Apple to do something with automobiles.

 

That wasn't the only time we heard of a connection between 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," Schiller said. "Then we had a big hit called the iPod -- it really changed the view inside and outside the company. People were suggesting every idea: make a camera, make a car -- crazy stuff."


Siri shows the way 

Apple has already made some headway into autos, with its voice-command technology, known as Siri, coming to some of Daimler's Mercedes Benz luxury vehicles.

 

Some notable Apple employees have a deep-rooted admiration for cars. Schiller lists cars as one of his passions on his Twitter bio. Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services, sits on Ferrari's board. And CEO Tim Cook met with Ferrari's chief executive, Luca di Montezemolo last year, fueling the speculative fire.

 

Google (GOOG) has been working on driverless cars in its quest for domination of every facet of technology. A car developed either solely by Apple or with the help of, say, General Motors (GM) or Ford Motor Co. (F), could get the attention off Google's efforts and back on Apple. The Cupertino, Calif., company sorely needs to regain its reputation for cutting-edge innovation, given the recent downturn in the value of its 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 a car.

 

Given the advances in electric vehicles, Apple might move away from the makers of traditional internal-combustion in order to collaborate with Tesla Motors (TSLA). 


In fact, there are already grounds for a relationship between Apple and Tesla. George Blankenship, Tesla's vice president of worldwide sales and ownership experience, is a former Apple guy. Tesla's retail experience is a direct result of Blankenship's time at Apple.

 

I'd be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that Apple has (or had) plans for an iCar. You can also guarantee that Siri would (or will) likely play a major role in it. 

 

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