Anytime a new administration is ushered in, we are bound to see regulatory shifts and new initiatives in the technology sphere. Especially with an incoming president who has the environment on the agenda, the door may be wide open for green tech. One of the most hotly anticipated innovations is the Apple iCar.
Not to be outdone by Musk et al, Apple has been working away at its own four-wheeled invention. Since 2018, “Titan” (admittedly the coolest electrical car project codename ever) has been in play. It is estimated that over 5,000 Apple employees are tasked to the iCar project.
Let’s start with what we know.
What is the Apple iCar?
The Apple car will be a self-driving vehicle. There have been rumors about whether Apple is designing the vehicle, creating a self-driving system, or both. In early days, BMW and Apple discussed a partnership for this project but that didn’t materialize. Other reports say that Apple doesn’t intend to directly compete with Tesla, which hints at a different type of innovation.
iCar From Apple: Progress So Far
What we do know is that the original version of the iCar allowed drivers to operate the vehicle with a fingerprint and transition between partially autonomous driving to self-driving. In 2018, the state of California allowed 27 self-driving Apple cars on the road for a large-scale test. This went up to 72 by the end of that year. The test records indicate pilots and vehicles were on the road during these trials.
In April of 2019, reports came out that indicated Apple was evaluating technology from LiDAR (for sensors) and talking to component suppliers for self-driving parts. A patent given late last year showed the intent for a notch in the windshield, to accommodate extra sensors. This may be similar to FaceID for iPhones.
Two staffing events have generated a lot of buzz around the secretive iCar project:
1. In March of 2019, Apple hired former Tesla engineering VP Michael Schwekutsch.
2. At the beginning of 2019, Apple laid off nearly 200 Titan team members.
Both of these events could signal streamlining or restructuring but neither indicate that the iCar project has stalled.
A last progress piece about the iCar is that Apple acquired Drive.ai. A self-driving startup, this company had plenty of funding and specialized experts in the world of autonomous vehicles.
Apple iCar Release Date
Apple has not set a public release date for the iCar. There are predictions from a number of sources about when these vehicles will actually be manufactured and sold. Here are some of the sources and what they’re saying:
- The Economic Daily News said in Dec. 2020 that the iCar may be available as early as September of 2021. The Chinese language news outlet has insight into Taiwanese supply chains, which lend some credibility to this estimate. That said, it is significantly sooner than anyone else is projecting.
- Reuters published an article in Dec. 2020 that the iCar should be in production by the year 2024. Their cited source is “people familiar with the matter,” which is vague at best. However, one of those people could be Doug Field, who is a veteran of Apple and then Tesla. He oversaw the Titan project in 2018 and 2019.
- Bloomberg posted an article in Jan. 2021 that is calling the iCar “at least half a decade” away. Their source is said to be “Apple engineers on the project” and they believe current plans establish a 5-7 year timeline. Even here, though, no official Apple spokesperson has commented.
So, anywhere from the fall of this year to seven years in the future. Clear as mud.
How Much Will the Apple iCar Cost?
Another point of targeted speculation is how many shekels these vehicles will cost. Some of the most popular electric cars have been pretty dedicated to keeping price points low. That’s not a typical priority for Apple. Self-driving car enthusiasts have studiously tracked all speculations about the iCar, but price is one that is noticeably absent. There have been no leaks, no keyhole peeps and literally no hints about how much the iCar will cost. Most likely, it will be in the luxury self-driving vehicle category.
Electric Car Competition
2020 is being called the year the auto industry in the U.S. went electric. This is largely due to the rise of Tesla. Their market capitalization exceeded $600B and entered the S&P 500 index. Having dominated the industry for more than 100 years, it appears that combustion engines are finally losing their hold. Tesla is obviously the frontrunner of the pack, holding the three top spots on most popular electric cars. There are several other electric car manufacturers that are putting reliable vehicles on the market:
- Audi E-Tron
- BMW i3
- Hyundai Kona Electric
- Jaguar I-Pace
- Mini Cooper SE
- Porsche Taycan
- Chevrolet Bolt EV
- Nissan Leaf Plus
- Volkswagen E-Golf
- Kia Niro EV
If you have the money and inclination, any of these are a good option for an electric car. Because despite the obscurity around launch, it’s likely the iCar won’t be available for purchase anytime soon.
Apple Device Repairs
Clearly, if Apple is going to do something, it’s going to do it right. And make it look good. If you are one of the 100 million worldwide iPhone users, you also know that they don’t last forever. Whether you traded up for the latest greatest or are rocking an old model, we’ve got you covered for repairs.
Gadget Genie has a team of Apple device geniuses who can tackle any problem, even the hard ones. While we operate out of Federal Way, we also have a handy mail-in service that makes your life even easier. Check out our mail-in service form, or contact us with Qs about whether your device is eligible for repair.