Apple has a reputation for keeping its cards close to its chest. The electronics giant rarely releases many details surrounding its products until right before launch, but rumors still get out occasionally. One of the most intriguing and long-lasting of these rumors is the Apple car.
Major publications have circulated stories about the project since as early as 2015, but Apple has yet to announce it officially. Now, after several theorized release dates have passed and new insider information has leaked, where does the Apple car stand? Here’s everything we know so far.
Is Apple Actually Making a Car?
While Apple undoubtedly has some car-related project in the works, some people question if it’s an actual Apple-branded vehicle. Statements from CEO Tim Cook and DMV documents reveal that Apple has worked on self-driving technology, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re building a car.
The project, which early rumors refer to as “Project Titan,” could be a self-driving platform the company sells to automakers. Alternatively, it could be a ride-hailing service like Uber, not something consumers can purchase.
However, other rumors suggest Apple is working on electric vehicle (EV) technology. If that’s true, Project Titan is more likely to be a full-fledged car than just a software platform.
When Will the Apple Car Come Out?
The next big question about the Apple car is when it will release. Early rumors pointed to a 2020 or 2021 release date, but that clearly didn’t happen. It’s possible that Apple wanted to unveil it then but had to delay it in light of the COVID-19 pandemic or technology-related issues.
The latest update comes from Bloomberg and states Apple aims to release its car in 2026 after some delays. That report also says the project is an EV and that it will have some self-driving capabilities, though it won’t be fully autonomous.
How Much Will the Apple Car Cost?
Apple is no stranger to high product prices, but even an affordable car costs quite a bit more than a laptop. Considering the project is likely also an EV and may have some self-driving functions, Apple’s first vehicle will most likely come with a premium price tag.
The Bloomberg report mentioned earlier says Apple plans to sell its car for less than $100,000. That still leaves a considerable range of possible prices, and the company may sell several different models with varying functionality. Some more affordable EVs today go for around $30,000, which is a safe baseline for a lower-end Apple model.
Will the Apple Car Be Self-Driving?
The Apple car’s autonomy is another area that could vary widely. DMV registrations show that Apple has been testing self-driving technology for some time now, and autonomous vehicles rely on artificial intelligence (AI), which Apple has already ventured into with the likes of Siri. The question is what level of autonomy the car will have.
Recent updates suggest Apple is focusing less on self-driving functionality, at least at launch, but they don’t rule out driverless features entirely. Given this news and the current state of other self-driving cars, the car will likely launch with some driver-correction and maybe self-parking features, but it won’t be fully autonomous.
Other Rumors and Developments
Some of the earliest rumors also claimed the Apple car would have no steering wheel or other driving controls. However, now that it seems the car will launch before self-driving vehicles reach full autonomy, that’s probably not the case.
Given Apple’s experience with CarPlay, the entertainment system may be something of note. The console could take the form of a large touchscreen, as you’ll find in a Tesla, but it may run a version of iOS and offer easy compatibility with your phone.
As a consumer electronics company, Apple likely won’t manufacture the car alone, instead partnering with an established car company. People have theorized it may work with BMW, Hyundai, Nissan, Porsche, Toyota and General Motors, though none have emerged as a clear frontrunner. It’s hard to say whether these automakers are potential manufacturing partners or just companies Apple’s worked with for CarPlay features.
Apple Remains Secretive About Its Vehicle Tech
For now, the Apple car remains a mystery. Despite plenty of rumors circulating, there’s little confirmed information surrounding the project, so we’ll have to wait and see until Apple unveils something. Regardless of the specifics, though, there’s a good chance you’ll see an Apple-branded car in the future, and it’ll likely be an innovative piece of technology.
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