What started as a highly questionable, albeit interesting, rumor — Apple building some sort of car-related product, maybe even a car of its own — is slowly getting more and more traction. Separate reports from The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal both say that Apple is eyeing the car business and the Journal has learned a lot more details about Apple’s plans to build a car of its own. The bottom line: The project might be a lot more exciting than it may initially sound.
According to the publication, Tim Cook approved the car project almost a year ago, putting in charge Vice President Steve Zadesky, a former Ford engineer who helped lead the teams that created the iPod and iPhone.
Zadesky apparently can hire up to 1,000 people to work on the car team and he can poach personnel from various parts of the company. This Apple project is apparently so hot that it convinced many to continue their employment at Apple instead of throwing in the towel because of “the pressure of churning new products every year.” So far, the team has hundreds of people working on the project.
Even though the first car Apple is working on may not be a sexy sportscar — the Journal says Apple’s first car might be an electric minivan, codenamed Titan — developing a car of its own might help Apple develop and use a variety of new technologies in some its current projects.
The publication says that Apple might decide not to build a car of its own after all, as not all the projects it’s developing turn into commercial products. But technologies such as advanced batteries — a problem smartphone makers have yet to truly solve — and in-car electronics could be used for future generations of devices, including iPhones and iPads.
Also interesting is the fact that the current car team is researching “different type of robotics, metals and materials, consistent with automobile manufacturing.”
Finally, even if an Apple car project might be years away, Apple certainly has the resources to make it happen. Not to mention that the perspective of having to compete against Apple on top of the many other “traditional” carmakers developing smarter, more efficient cars might put additional pressure on others, including Google, Uber and Tesla.