It is time to quit talking around Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s feelings about a possible forthcoming Apple car. The core of what’s really going on is simply this — Elon Musk is scared silly of Apple releasing a car.
Make no mistake, the end of good looking car design is over — at least if designers of electric vehicles have anything to say about it. It seems the era of “ugly is cool” has arrived. Automotive history has had its share of clunkers, but the tidal wave of ugly-by-electric shows no signs of slowing down, leaving it up to luxury and many mainstream brands to save the planet from absolutely hideous sheet metal design.
Apple’s all-new iPad Pro has been breaking some land-speed records. Testing has revealed the iPad Pro’s processor runs laps around Intel’s Core-M chipset (found within Apple’s MacBook), while coming perilously close to Intel’s flagship Core-i5 series of chips.
The simplified history is Apple’s ARM-based designs have been moving north faster than Intel can move south into the mobile space. The question one must ask is, how long will it be until Apple equips their Mac notebooks with their own A-series processors? There are a number of factors that go into such a massive foundational decision, but the positives — assuming the A–series chips continue their northerly trajectory — should quickly outweigh the negatives.
On September 9, during Apple's San Francisco special event, Apple’s Sr. Vice President, worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, took to the stage and introduced the iPad Pro. The latest and largest tablet of its kind from Apple delivers an incredible 12.9", 5.6 million pixel display, and weighs only 1.5 lbs. Accompanying the iPad Pro is a versatile accessory called Apple Pencil along with an optional Smart Keyboard. While the iPad Pro left the audience quite pleased, Schiller made one comment that was likely to have left Intel speechless.
Tomorrow is September 9th, the day of the big event and we know virtually nothing. Yes, there are lots of rumors about and people who proclaim to know things, some having shown iPhone parts, but these things mean nothing until Tim Cook takes the stage. Showing off random components, and making educated guesses, claiming that as true knowledge??? Don’t be fooled.
Yesterday Apple released its September 9, special event invitation to select media with the message “Hey Siri, give us a hint.” Thousands of people instantly grabbed their iOS devices asking Siri to “give them a hint” to see if anything particular regarding the event came up. At times, Siri does say “Well, I hear there is something big happening on September 9,” but beyond the cute response, Apple's keeping Siri quiet. At times Apple has hidden hints within their invitations as to what may be coming. This invitation may also hold some clues.
Apple car rumors may be on a slow burn as of late, but that has not stopped Apple from hiring Tesla, Fiat Chrysler, or any number of automotive company employees. And Apple’s supposed off-campus car headquarters is as locked down as ever. All indications are Apple is quietly, secretly, developing their own car at warp speed.
An all-new Apple TV has been highly anticipated since it was a no show at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference this past June. Rumors suggest the revised Apple TV will be thinner and slightly wider, with iOS 9 acting as the software core of the device. A state-of-the-art A9 processor, Siri integration, an app store, Home Kit and possible Force Touch remote control are all said to be apart of Apple's new black box. But new high tech goodies come at a price.
During an Apple Watch special event in March, CEO Tim Cook announced Apple TV would begin selling at a price of $69. For years Apple TV had been selling at $99. The lower price not only saw an increase in Apple TV sales, but also paved the way for an all-new Apple TV to enter the market at a higher price point. The lower price for the current Apple TV also gives Apple the flexibility to continue selling it as an entry level option, competing with Roku and others in the sub-$100 market.
Apple has been rumored to be making the TV network rounds once again, in order to build an affordable and disruptive streaming service. Sounds great, but there is one mammoth hitch. If pricing is not aggressive enough it will not be well received.
Consumers dislike their communications companies as much as they disliked their mobile phones before iPhone. Comcast, Time Warner and DirecTV bundle packages are overpriced and deliver far too many programming options people do not care about. If Apple can bring to market a set of desired network options at affordable rates, Apple TV and its service would force cable entities to offer more choices, or lose subscribers.
Getting well beyond the rumors of an Apple designed car, and thoughts of its possible mileage breakthroughs or handling, I began to wonder what the experience of an Apple created car would be like. Cars are an extension of our personality, or perhaps more importantly, an expression of how we wants to be seen by others. Cars are personal and emotional. We spend years of our lives within a car, and thus they tend to be a big deal.
Steve Jobs always groused about how there were concept cars which looked amazing, and how he would buy one today — if it were available. But when that car finally went on sale it looked like everything else out there. Apple has always never valued the auto laden world of focus groups and has instead relied on their own internal abilities to ferret out good designs from the poor. An Apple vehicle would likely follow this same philosophy.