When it comes to Apple, there always seems to be a mythical and rumored product looming overhead. In the years preceding the iPhone unveiling, we were blasted with reports that Apple was planning to get into the phone business. More recently, the tech world was wrapped up in Apple Watch hysteria. And now that Apple’s wearable is finally out on the market, the next big rumor centers on Apple’s alleged plan to release its own electric-powered car.
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A seemingly wild idea at first glance, we’ve seen no shortage of reports indicating that Apple is dead serious about entering the car business. Bolstering these reports are a number of interesting hires Apple has made over the past 12 months, including bringing on board a number of folks from Tesla and other automotive companies.
Adding more fuel to the fire, The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that Apple is taking steps to accelerate its car initiative. If things go according to plan, the report notes that Apple is planning to begin shipping an Apple branded electric car in 2019.
Underscoring the seriousness with which Apple views its car initiative, the report notes that Apple’s upper management recently gave the go-ahead to increase the headcount on its automotive team from 600 to 1800 people.
Apple Inc. is accelerating efforts to build an electric car, designating it internally as a “committed project” and setting a target ship date for 2019, according to people familiar with the matter.
The go-ahead came after the company spent more than a year investigating the feasibility of an Apple-branded car, including meetings with two groups of government officials in California. Leaders of the project, code-named Titan , have been given permission to triple the 600-person team, the people familiar with the matter said.
While reports of an Apple branded care are undoubtedly intriguing, the Journal relays that a number of questions remain unanswered. For instance, who is going to manufacture it? Obviously, this isn’t a job for Foxconn. Also, where is Apple going to sell these cars? Will it open up its own line of dealerships a’la Tesla or will they partner up with existing dealerships?
Furthermore, car development, even for seasoned automotive companies, can often take years to bear any fruit. That being the case, it’s arguably far-fetched to assume that Apple will be able to get a car designed, developed, manufactured and out on the road by 2019. At the same time, the idea that Apple would enter the phone business perhaps seemed just as crazy in early 2006.