For consumers worried about keeping up with the latest Apple products, the tech giant's latest venture might just leave them in the dust for good. On Feb. 13, The Wall Street Journal reported that the company had begun quietly hiring employees for an unnamed lab venture, which sources close to the project (code-named "Titan") claimed was actually an electric car. On the company's list of recent hires was former Mercedes Benz president of Research and Development, Johann Jungwirth, and Steve Zadesky, one of Apple's own iPhone and iPod developers, according to a report from The Financial Times. As speculation arises on what the vehicle will look like and just how well it will actually function, one thing has become clear in recent days: The world is absolutely ready for an Apple Car.
Already, a few people have imagined what the car might look like — Apple designer Marc Newson certainly must have a few different images in his head about what the concept car might look like, if the Ford 021C he debuted at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show is any indication. With the constant ebb and flow of today's market, the lifespan of a single device is never set in stone — and with the evolution and merging of multiple devices into one (e.g. tablets and larger smartphones/ laptops and televisions), it makes sense that Apple would want to get a new foothold in an emerging industry like the smart-car.
Internet behemoth Google has already invested thousands of hours into producing one especially adorable, fully-functional driverless smart car. At the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in January, German automotive expert Audi touted a flashy A7 version that had driven itself a full 550 miles, all the way from San Francisco. And just this Sunday, mega conglomerate Sony announced that it, too, would be investing time and resources (and a whole lot of cash) into the robot-car industry, dropping nearly a million dollars into Japanese start-up ZMP.
According to a report by Business Insider, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White has already begun initial market cheerleading, telling clients in a note that it wouldn't exactly be the worst thing ever if Apple was truly working towards creating the buzzed-about Apple Car:
In our view, as more "things" become computers, we believe Apple is very well positioned to leverage its heritage in the industry developing hardware and software innovations together across a vast digital ecosystem, creating easy to use, aesthetically pleasing products.
With a the forthcoming Apple watch and the well-established presence of Apple TV, it's no great mystery that the aesthetically gifted tech device company would begin venturing into unorthodox territory.
As global temperatures continue to rise, smart-cars might be the way to go. In a March 2013 report, the National Academy of Sciences concluded that by cutting gasoline use in half and halting emissions by 80 percent over the next 20 years, the issue of climate change could potentially be addressed in a very real way. They're daunting numbers, but with major companies dropping big bucks on driverless and electric vehicles, they could be reachable (just maybe not according to the NAS' strict timeline).
While rumors of the new Apple Car begin morphing into facts, there's no doubt that the project will have its critics. But with a mountain of incredible feats in the rearview mirror, it's safe to assume that the tech maestros might just get it right.
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