Apple Recruiting Automotive Experts to Work in 'Top-Secret Research Lab'

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Apple is recruiting automotive technology and vehicle design experts to work in a new "top-secret research lab," according to Financial Times. The report adds that a number of Apple designers working under design chief Jonathan Ive have also been regularly meeting with automotive executives and creators in recent months, and even trying to hire them in some cases.

A team of Apple employees, led by experienced managers from Apple's iPhone unit, are said to be researching automotive products at a secretive location outside of the Cupertino-based company's One Infinite Loop headquarters. The new research lab was allegedly set up late last year, shortly after the unveiling of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch.

Financial Times claims that Apple may be developing an advanced software platform that builds upon the CarPlay dashboard system, although its sources claim that the background of the individuals that the iPhone maker is hiring suggests that the company may also be in the early stages of working on a car to compete with the likes of Tesla and Google.
But people familiar with the company said that the background of the people Apple is hiring -- including automotive designers and vehicle dynamics engineers -- and the seniority of the executives involved suggest a car could be in the works.

"Three months ago I would have said it was CarPlay," said one person who has worked closely with Apple for many years, referring to Apple's infotainment system. "Today I think it's a car."
Last September, Apple hired former Mercedes-Benz R&D President and CEO Johann Jungwirth. He is listed as Director of Mac Systems Engineering at Apple, although he has a history of working on connected cars, autonomous driving, testing and regulatory affairs and more at Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler, where he had worked since October 1997.
An increasing amount of speculation has surfaced in recent months about Apple working on a car after a mysterious van leased to the company was spotted in California and a subsequent report claimed that Apple is working on a project that "will give Tesla a run for its money." While the exact focus of Apple's automotive initiative remains unknown, it appears that the company is still in the early stages of research and development.

Article Link: Apple Recruiting Automotive Experts to Work in 'Top-Secret Research Lab'
 

lincolntran

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2010
843
470
Apple, please stop working on new stuff and fix [*insert your bug here*]

There we go, that should save us all some space to stay on topic instead of having to scroll through repeated rants.
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,962
4,550
Oh my... I hoped this was supposed to remain a joke

If Apple made cars:
* You’d have to pay to keep the onboard software updated
* You’d only be able to drive them on Apple-certified roads
* The cupholder would only accept a proprietary Apple cup
* There would only be one pedal
* There’d be more work put into the dashboard than the safety features
* You could have any color you want – provided it’s brushed aluminium
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,559
3,966
If Apple really is getting into this, I would expect it to be ~5 years before they say anything about it.

But I don't see it happening. This sounds too much like the era when Apple didn't have Steve Jobs the first time, when they released dozens of products just trying to see what stuck.
 

lincolntran

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2010
843
470
At first, I thought it'll be just some types of new software platform but now I'm leaning toward an actual car... Think about it. Tesla has A LOT less resource and money than Apple but they're still able to make some pretty cool cars. In addition, there're not a lot of new market that Apple can break in to and make huge profits, no the tv market is a poor market for huge profits. The car industry, on the other hand, has great potentials, especially high end cars. With battery tech, Apple doesn't have to deal with combustion engine, make a clean car and totally connected to the Apple ecosystem. I think many will buy an Apple car. I think it will look a lot better than current car designs.
 

zoetmb

macrumors regular
Oct 8, 2007
157
8
In spite of the ever-increasing evidence, I still find it very hard to believe that Apple is working on a car that they wish to sell themselves.

It's not their core competency and margins in the car industry are infinitesimal (although certainly higher on luxury cars). Tesla is way ahead and they're still losing $10,000 per car. And you can't easily pawn off manufacturing on a Chinese-based factory.

I'd sooner believe that Apple is working on software to assist in self-driving vehicles, but I'd be very surprised at even that. With all the new power plants that Apple is building, it would make more sense to me that Apple becomes a power utility (and even that is very doubtful).

I do think a future Apple is going to be a very different company. Some people have suggested a big push into medical devices. That's certainly possible although personally, I think Apple in 10 or 15 years is going to be a robotics company.

Also, it's one thing when a default in software causes your computer or an application to crash. It's quite another when a default in manufacturing or software causes a car to crash. I don't think computer companies are prepared for the quality levels that are necessary in automobile manufacturing where lives are at stake (although you would think lives were at stake when Apple software is delivered with bugs and the internet responds). Also, Apple's "you do it our way" mantra is not going to work for a car where traditional "UI", even if inferior, is necessary so that people can drive different vehicles with ease.
 

Narrator Jack

macrumors regular
May 14, 2013
107
67
Bold and rather moving if it's a car. High chance that it would be electric only? If so, I wonder if they'd counter any hesitation from potential customers about going electric by building car charging stations across the country.
 

lincolntran

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2010
843
470
In spite of the ever-increasing evidence, I still find it very hard to believe that Apple is working on a car that they wish to sell themselves.

It's not their core competency and margins in the car industry are infinitesimal (although certainly higher on luxury cars). Tesla is way ahead and they're still losing $10,000 per car. And you can't easily pawn off manufacturing on a Chinese-based factory.

I'd sooner believe that Apple is working on software to assist in self-driving vehicles, but I'd be very surprised at even that. With all the new power plants that Apple is building, it would make more sense to me that Apple becomes a power utility (and even that is very doubtful).

I do think a future Apple is going to be a very different company. Some people have suggested a big push into medical devices. That's certainly possible although personally, I think Apple in 10 or 15 years is going to be a robotics company.

Also, it's one thing when a default in software causes your computer or an application to crash. It's quite another when a default in manufacturing or software causes a car to crash. I don't think computer companies are prepared for the quality levels that are necessary in automobile manufacturing where lives are at stake (although you would think lives were at stake when Apple software is delivered with bugs and the internet responds). Also, Apple's "you do it our way" mantra is not going to work for a car where traditional "UI", even if inferior, is necessary so that people can drive different vehicles with ease.
I think you have some valid points. However, Apple was not in the phone business either and look at them now.

A driver/user experience is super strong in a car and Apple is king at the user experience. Beside, they're not learning to build a car from scratch. According to the article, they're hiring experts in the car industry. I think it'll be very interesting to see what they make... If it's a car at all
 

Quu

macrumors 68030
Apr 2, 2007
2,659
4,186
Them making a car would certainly be out of left field. Huge departure from what they do now.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
20,646
22,285
More:

Sir Jonathan Ive’s team of Apple designers has held regular meetings with automotive executives and engineers in recent months, in some cases trying to hire them. Recent recruits to Apple’s team include the head of Mercedes-Benz’s Silicon Valley R&D unit.
According to 9to5Mac the Mercedes Benz hire is a director on the Mac hardware team.
 

monaarts

macrumors 65816
Jan 16, 2010
1,161
49
Kennesaw, GA
If anything, I would expect Apple is working on an "advanced" version of CarPlay... My thought is the iPhone could be the brains that allow the car to drive itself. The car could include cameras, sensors, etc. necessary for the iPhone software to work but the iPhone would do all the necessary thinking/decisions.

This would allow for cheap entry for all car manufacturers (i.e. ford, chevy, subaru, bmws, etc) to simply follow Apple's guidelines for including certain hardware but they wouldn't have to design anything else. Plug-and-play in a sense?