Steve Jobs Passed on Building Apple Car in 2008 to Focus on iPhone

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Apr 12, 2001
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Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who passed away in October 2011 following a lengthy battle with a rare illness, contemplated building a so-called "Apple Car" as recently as 2008, according to his former advisor Tony Fadell.

Tony Fadell discussed an Apple Car with Steve Jobs in 2008 (Image: Bloomberg)

In an interview with Bloomberg, Fadell, who led Apple's iPod division between 2001 and 2010, said he had discussions with Jobs on multiple occasions to hypothesize about what features an Apple-branded vehicle could have.
"We had a couple of walks," Fadell said in an interview with Bloomberg's Emily Chang. The pair posed hypothetical questions to each other, such as: "If we were to build a car, what would we build? What would a dashboard be? And what would this be? What would seats be? How would you fuel it or power it?"
Jobs, who drove a Mercedes, decided not to move forward with the idea at the time, said Fadell, instead focusing Apple's efforts on the iPhone, which accounted for about two-thirds of the company's net revenue last year according to SEC filings.


Fadell, who now serves as Nest Labs CEO at Google parent company Alphabet, said he does not have firsthand knowledge about Apple's car plans, but he did reflect on the similarities between smartphones and modern vehicles.
"A car has batteries; it has a computer; it has a motor; and it has mechanical structure. If you look at an iPhone, it has all the same things. It even has a motor in it," said Fadell, who's now the chief executive officer of Alphabet's Nest home appliances company. "But the hard stuff is really on the connectivity and how cars could be self-driving."
Apple has considered building a car before 2008, Bloomberg noted. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller disclosed in 2012 court testimony that Apple discussed building a car before the original iPhone launched in 2007, while former Apple board member Mickey Drexler has also said Jobs wanted to build a car.

Apple faces growing competition from tech rivals such as Tesla and Google, and traditional automakers, if it chooses to enter the electric vehicle market. Recent rumors suggest Apple has assembled a team of hundreds of employees to develop an electric vehicle that could enter production as early as 2020.

Article Link: Steve Jobs Passed on Building Apple Car in 2008 to Focus on iPhone
 

al256

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2001
858
280
The iPhone was revolutionary and its UI was was advanced and intuitive. I can see why at that time a car was considered. It was almost tangible to me how Apple's design could redefine how we use the things around us.
 

Quu

macrumors 68030
Apr 2, 2007
2,979
4,831
Very opportunistic for him to say this now when the car rumours are swirling and Steve's dead. Why not bring this up years ago Tony?
 

MacLC

macrumors 6502
Oct 18, 2013
308
131
Fadell could have been an Apple employee and an Apple branded auto could have been a reality today. The problem was Steve, for all his genius, wanted to have his thumb in every pie Apple made. APPLE could have done both, but STEVE could not. Steve was the best thing to happen to Apple but that is the truth.
 

peterdevries

macrumors 68040
Feb 22, 2008
3,146
1,134
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Fadell could have been an Apple employee and an Apple branded auto could have been a reality today. The problem was Steve, for all his genius, wanted to have his thumb in every pie Apple made. APPLE could have done both, but STEVE could not. Steve was the best thing to happen to Apple but that is the truth.
What you are saying is not the truth but just an opinion. The Apple of 2006 was totally different from that of today. This is the truth: Apple in 2006 would not have the capital nor the industry clout to fund, coordinate and launch both a new smartphone AND a new car that is capable of competing within the market.
 

BeefCake 15

macrumors 68000
May 15, 2015
1,510
1,945
near Boston, MA
Fadell could have been an Apple employee and an Apple branded auto could have been a reality today. The problem was Steve, for all his genius, wanted to have his thumb in every pie Apple made. APPLE could have done both, but STEVE could not. Steve was the best thing to happen to Apple but that is the truth.
Actually the smart move is he took on a project that revolutionized the market and brought a ton of cash to Apple rather than building a car when 2008+ years were not a good car sales times....
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,923
1,230
Washington DC
Very opportunistic for him to say this now when the car rumours are swirling and Steve's dead. Why not bring this up years ago Tony?
Uh, because now is when people are talking about an Apple car more and more? So he's talking about the thing that everyone is talking about?

Isn't that a normal human thing to do?

So are you now being "opportunistic" too by commenting on the story? Are you also getting a check from the same mysterious folks who are apparently paying Tony for making the comment? Is that the opportunity he's exploiting here?
 

Quu

macrumors 68030
Apr 2, 2007
2,979
4,831
Uh, because now is when people are talking about an Apple car more and more? So he's talking about the thing that everyone is talking about?

Isn't that a normal human thing to do?

So are you now being "opportunistic" too by commenting on the story? Are you also getting a check from the same mysterious folks who are apparently paying Tony for making the comment? Is that the opportunity he's exploiting here?
He wants the fame, he's a media whore. He would have been better to be quiet than to say these comments that no one can substantiate. I'm sure a new Nest product is just around the corner.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
21,901
27,377
Tony Fadell is a man who likes to talk.
And give the impression he was way more important than he actually was. On his Nest bio page he claimed he lead the development of the first three iPhones.

Here's what Gruber had to say about Fadell in 2008.
http://daringfireball.net/2008/11/executive_scuttlebutt

Tony Fadell only oversaw the iPod division, and had very little, if anything, to do with the iPhone. And, according to multiple sources familiar with Apple’s engineering management, the iPod Touch has been produced by the iPhone team, not by Fadell’s iPod division. The last new product that Fadell oversaw was the new iPod Nano.
But the iPhone is the new thing, and Fadell was not involved in its development. The word on the street in Cupertino is not that Fadell was pushed out the door, but that he was never offered a role like Papermaster’s, encompassing all of Apple’s handheld hardware engineering. The iPhone has eclipsed the iPod as the A Team at Apple, and Tony Fadell does not sound like a B Team sort of guy.
 

lars666

macrumors 65816
Jul 13, 2008
1,072
1,008
"A car has batteries; it has a computer; it has a motor; and it has mechanical structure. If you look at an iPhone, it has all the same things. It even has a motor in it," said Fadell, who's now the chief executive officer of Alphabet's Nest home appliances company."

What an analogy. Same logic applies to a smart Dildo or a spaceship, too.
 
Last edited:

taptic

macrumors 65816
Dec 5, 2012
1,338
437
California
i'll be passing on the apple car for sure given the state of OS X and iOS... and the mess that was AW and music.
I love how we know basically nothing about it, yet everyone somehow knows enough to say definitively whether or not they'll get it because of x, y, and z.
 
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TonyC28

macrumors 68000
Aug 15, 2009
1,826
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"Apple faces growing competition from tech rivals such as Tesla and Google..."
Wouldn't Apple be the competition here? Tesla is already out and running and Apple is rumored to possibly maybe have a can in production in 2020.
 
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