Coverage of Apple’s nascent automobile interests has tended to focus on these vehicles' purported autonomy. However, for most technologies, the game changer is more likely to be the slow burning development and normalisation of electric cars that such a move would represent – and this future is mixed.
What it means
The implications of Apple’s entry to the mobility space would be seismic, not only for its potential to reset the car market (and the category branding conventions), but also to reshape it around bringing together best-in class tech under the hood, rather than making it all in-house.
It’s well known that certain concerns persist among consumers, not least high costs and more recently range anxiety, though fast-charging may be about to change this. As could the weight of the Apple brand.
As the FT notes, any entry by Apple into the car industry is 'certain' to affect the auto sector’s competitive landscape, but it will also catapult the many firms that go into the manufacture and assembly of batteries and, further down the line, sensor systems.
An iPhone on wheels
Analysts expect any Apple Car to adopt a similar manufacturing model to the iPhone, in which the collection of technologies from several manufacturers would be brought together. This represents a revolution in the vertically integrated car world.
- Apple would focus on designing and refining the 'mass' of technologies that would make up the vehicle.
- The company would also deploy its significant, and linked, expertise in branding and distribution.
- At an industry level, it’s possible that it could lead to a significant reshaping, should traditional car manufacturers become contractors as well as, or instead of, standalone brands.
- A similar pattern is visible in China, where a partnership between state-owned FAW Group and the German marque Audi was struck precisely to make electric vehicles.
Envy will continue to define the auto category and creating it will likely become even more important at the high end.
Sourced from the Financial Times, WARC, The Guardian, SCMP