What Will the Apple Car Be to Differentiate Itself?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by MICHAELSD, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #1
    The Apple brand itself is enough for the Apple Car to sell out at launch, but it needs to be much more. Practically every auto manufacturer is working on self-driving, electric cars. The question is if the Apple Car can be differentiated enough beyond just integrating well with other Apple products and services.

    I think if Apple wants to make waves in the market, they should only release the Apple Car when they can surpass a 200-mile range (a given) but also when it can be completely autonomous. It should be radically different. I should be able to get in my Apple Car in the morning, and it should know where I want to go and what I want to listen to. Apple has a long way to go as I find myself extremely frustrated even using Apple Maps: for me at least in Jersey, it's a constant barrage of recommending illegal turns over and over where there are no turn or no U-Turn signs.

    Heck, it should be super simplistic. If they can work it out regulatory-wise, maybe even forgo having a steering wheel altogether. Just get in the car and interface with Siri and a touchscreen. Use the iPhone/Watch to park it and pull it up when ready, or even to pick up a buddy... or your kids from school.

    It should be the car of the future on its first go. Not just a beautiful electric car with some autonomous features that isn't much better than competitors. Tesla has stated that its cars should be able to go 100% autonomous within 2 years. Although this hasn't been discussed much, it remains to be seen if Apple will even announce its car this year. By the time the Apple Car comes out, Tesla will likely already be 90%+ autonomous.

    Not only that, but many Apple products are on the higher-end of the market although not unaffordable or out of the reach of the general public. I believe Apple will price its car around the $30,000 target most automakers have set for their electric cars after incentives. Even the BMW i3 is roughly that price after incentives. Not to say there won't be a higher-end model at launch or in the future, but I think a price higher than $40,000 after incentives is a mistake especially if it doesn't have a killer feature other cars don't already have.
     
  2. Beachguy macrumors 6502a

    Beachguy

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    #2
    It will be the thinnest car out there. However, it will use "Lightening 2" fuel and have a proprietary charging port. The pedals for manual driving will be conforming to the new "Car OS" standard, and not the previous model we are used to. Although the transmission is capable of 32 speeds, support chips will limit it to 16 speeds. It will only be available in space grey, silver, rose, and gold.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #3
    I think an apple car is something that I find ridiculous, I mean just look at Telsa, I don't think they've yet turned a profit as they continue to roll out their electric car models.

    The auto industry has razor thin margins, is an incredibly old product line that doesn't really show much promise in finding untaped profits. In fact, cars are quickly becoming too expensive for many people. Its getting impossible to own a brand new car without paying close to 40,000. My point in raising this, is that there are better products to go after then the car.
     
  4. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #4
    I dunno. Look at CES this year where cars were pretty much the highlight of the show. With the turn towards electric vehicles and autonomy, the car is becoming the ultimate gadget. Cars sell by the tens of millions every year, with an average cost pushing or perhaps already exceeding $30,000, grabbing a large portion of consumer spending dollars. It's too big a market for Apple to ignore. And if anyone is going to improve the margins, it's Apple.

    If they have any intention of releasing a car in the next 5-10 years, it's going to have to include a steering wheel. The technology might be ready for full autonomy before then but regulations move much more slowly. There is also question of how these systems will handle poor conditions that are not seen on the roadways of California and Nevada where most of the miles are being logged. Until a large majority of the vehicles on the road are autonomous and can work together to avoid hitting each other, a steering wheel will remain a must.

    What Apple has the capability to bring to this market is something different. The automobile industry is famously slow-moving, and famously incestuous. One design follows another until every manufacturer's offerings basically look like the others. These companies so epitomize corporate culture that it's very difficult for them to get very far outside of the narrow boxes that entails. They are given some freedom in their concepts, which are invariably toned down to the point of blandness for production. Apple has the potential to offer something that nobody has thought of or at least not been willing to actually make yet. Even Tesla, for all they do in this regard, still puts together fairly traditional designs with cutting-edge technology.

    All of this is to say that I don't know what Apple has in mind, but I bet it's polarizing once it's released. :)
     
  5. Tech198 macrumors G4

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    #5
    so thin, the fat man will have to loosen his belt to get in..

    I'd like a speed-odometer nicely automatically adjusted for kids 17 year or under..
     
  6. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #6
    It is totally possible to buy a brand new car for under $20,000 and there are even multiple models at $16,000-$17,000 that can be negotiated closer to $15,000 (before taxes).

    I am sure Apple will find a way to profit from a car; just hopefully it isn't priced too expensively for them to do so.
     
  7. littelsquidge macrumors member

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    #7
    I can't help but think the Apple Car is more likely to be a service. Sure, for $000's you'll be able to buy one, much like you can spend $000's on a gold Apple Watch and hand Apple a monster margin. But most consumers just can't justify that phenomenal investment. Instead, pay Apple a fraction of that a month and they'll have an Apple Car waiting for you wherever you are, whenever you need it. Like an electric, self driving Uber.

    There seems a real shift towards subscription services with Apple Music, the iPhone yearly upgrade plan, ApplePay, iCloud, a Tv subscription service on the horizon.

    My hope is that Apple are thinking really big and thinking very long term. Instead of trying to revolutionise the automotive industry, why not tackle personal transportation as a whole. Just this evening I was wondering if our 2 year old daughter will ever need to have a driving licence, or own a car.
     
  8. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #8
    I've liked the idea of partial ownership of a car, but I don't think that's in Apple's wheelhouse for now. If it was fully autonomous then it could work but I think Apple would prefer to sell them, at least at first.

    I doubt your two-year-old will have to get a license by the time she's 18, at least to operate an autonomous vehicle. I wouldn't be surprised if 12+ are able to legally operate a fully-autonomous vehicle (without manual controls).
     
  9. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    #9
    When the car stalls, it will auto inflate a beach ball.

    After 3 years, they will drop the back seat and tell us they are no longer needed.

    The car will have one gas opening for fueling and 4 ports for charging and at least 1 wont have any way to connect for
    several months. After 4 years, they will make you get rid of your car as it will no longer have gas but be all electric
    with brand new ports for charging making your car obsolete.
     
  10. OLDCODGER macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Don't care. Ain't buying one. And, as for autonomous carriages, get the damn thing out of my way before I suck it up in my turbocharger!

    Electric carts belong on golf courses!
     
  11. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #11
    Relevant username, friend :). I'm sure not everyone will warm up to the idea but there is really no reason that a gas-guzzler is superior except for nostalgia.
     
  12. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

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    #12
    I don't claim to have the imagination to define the specific features of an Apple Car. As always, Apple will try to forge all the disparate features into a unified experience. All the "almosts" garnered by other cars when reviewed will turn into, "Apple nailed it."

    That success will turn, as always with Apple, on the user interface - in this case, not just the driver, but the entire passenger compartment. Apple will set out to define the "autonomous vehicle experience," just as their decision to go touch-screen defined the smart phone.

    My own vision for the near future is that home, car, workplace, etc. are so seamlessly integrated (CarPlay, HomeKit, mobile devices, wearables, Apple TV, Macs) that, essentially, Siri accompanies us wherever we go - the way Asimov imagined autonomous robots - omnipresent, Victorian/Edwardian Era personal servants - discreet, benevolent, ever alert to (and anticipating) our needs.

    The car has the potential to be the place where our "relationship" with Siri blossoms - trusting our lives to an autonomous vehicle is a huge step. We're more likely to trust a personal assistant than an anonymous control system. It'll be reassuring to say, "Hey Siri, watch out for that 18-wheeler" and have Siri respond, "Yes, HAL, that truck in the left-hand lane does seem to be weaving a bit. I'll keep a close eye on it." It won't be enough to program the destination when you enter the vehicle. It should be aware of your personal schedule, and fully integrate.... "You're going to Grandma's tomorrow, be sure to plug me into the charger before you head inside!" "Traffic isn't looking good, I suggest you leave 10 minutes early. And don't forget that string bean casserole in the fridge!" And when you open the car door, "We're still headed to Grandma's, right?" "Yeah, but let's stop at McDonald's before we hit the freeway."

    Autonomous vehicles will change the way people relate to their transportation experience. Most automakers will aim to build "driverless cars," designed to be as reassuringly similar to the current automotive experience as possible (just as early cars resembled horse-drawn vehicles). Apple's the kind of company that would set out to define a totally new paradigm.
     
  13. OLDCODGER macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Putting aside the ability to tow trailers, boats, caravans, and other vehicles, just enjoy the feel and sound of POWER!

    Besides, by guzzling gas, I'm helping the economy. :)
     
  14. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    #14
    Very little Apple can do to define a totally new paradigm as much of what you talk about (and others) has been though of, seen in movies and found in fiction books of the future. This doesn't mean Apple wont try to sell us on their idea of how to buy their product that is based on what they want us to think is the right direction.

    Perhaps a better view would be to have base standards that allow for interchangeability rather than be stuck with one profit making company's propaganda of what we want and need. In this we might provide some constants and let the makers provide the bells and whistle above the standards that all makers must adhere to at some level.
     
  15. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

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    #15
    We'll see what they do or don't do (there is no try). I was reflecting on this based on Apple's historic approach. If they see a way to define a new paradigm, they will. If they can't, they can't. The expectation that they won't be able to do that is purely a matter of personal perspective. Anytime someone says, in effect, "There's nothing left to invent, it's already been invented," I have to laugh.

    CarPlay is the "interchangeability" function. My feeling is that Apple has to do more than produce just another vehicle with CarPlay. That's why my flight of fancy went in that direction.

    And why shouldn't Apple try to sell us on whatever their vision may turn out to be? That's called "marketing," and everyone does it. Competition drives innovation. Sometimes an idea catches on, sometimes it doesn't.

    Just what kind of standards of interchangeability are you talking about, that don't already exist? One standard windshield wiper blade for every car? One headlamp? One radiator, engine block, air cleaner, oil filter.... (or for electric cars, battery module, control panel, electric motor...)? What if the "standard car" of 1898 was defined as having an outdoor compartment for the chauffeur, a fully enclosed passenger compartment, a speaking tube so that the passenger could convey orders to the driver, whale oil lamps for passenger compartment illumination.... Would the Model T Ford have been built?

    Yeah, I get it, you don't like Apple's closed world, and they're most certainly going to want to continue in that direction. If, somehow, the world agreed that there was only one way to build a car, Apple would look elsewhere for opportunity.

    I will note, however, that standards are nearly always arrived at following a period of free innovation - products that diverge so wildly that some order must be imposed (usually the disorder has become so great that even bitter rivals realize they have to sit down together). And even then, the imposed order allows for substantial flexibility.
     
  16. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #16
    THAT'S IT. ONE OF THE MAIN FEATURES OF THE APPLE CAR SHOULD BE A PERSONABLE EXPERIENCE. Rather than just inputting a location, Siri should be your best friend and travel companion in the car. THIS MAKES SENSE. TIM, IF YOU'RE READING WE'LL TAKE APPLE STOCK FOR THE IDEA.
     
  17. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    #17
    Apart from Telsa and the electric "supercars" from Ferrari et. al. they mostly look as if they have been beaten severely with the ugly stick. Jony Ive and co. are very good at beautiful, minimalistic industrial designs - and, crucially, know when to stop designing.

    There's going to be a major hiatus between cars with features like auto-parking, auto emergency stop etc. and fully autonomous cars. Even if the technology is nearly ready, it will need new legislation and changes in car insurance before it can happen. Plus, the first time an autonomous car runs down a child (and it will happen) the public hysteria is going to be ugly (even if 100 kids are killed by regular cars in the same period - the mass media doesn't do perspective). Although I'm sure autonomous is the future, I think that there is a quantum gulf between 'the computer as driving assistant' (current state of the art in production cars) and the stage where the driver can safely sit back, crack open a beer and fire up Facebook (which is what many drivers will do as soon as they can take their hands off the wheel).

    I think the fully autonomous car might be one of those cases where the early worm gets the bird (or the second mouse gets the cheese).

    If Apple were only entering the conventional car market, I'd expect them to head for the same sort of target market as the BMW 'Mini': distinctive, premium-priced relative to other compact cars but not stratospherically so.

    Trouble is, that $30,000 price point is only "competitive" with models of conventional cars that are <i>already</i> at the high end of the market. I've looked into the i3 and, although I like it, even after incentives you're still paying as much for the bare-bones model as you would for as (say) a lop-of-the-line Mini with all the trimmings. Compare it with a more modest small car from somewhere in Korea and the mark-up is ludicrous... and whichever way you cut it, the i3 is a small, practical town car, not a limo.

    Still waiting to see what Tesla's 'affordable' car is going to be like. Yup. Still waiting... Meanwhile, I note they're still focussing on the sort of cars that one can park at the country club alongside the Jags and Astons without tarnishing one's image - which are less price sensitive, if not inverse-price-sensitive.

    I think the real question is how Apple would distinguish themselves from Tesla. The only two areas that spring to mind are:

    1. They'd make a profit
    2. None of this wishy-washy liberal 'offering your patents to the world for free' malarky

    ...otherwise, I think Tesla has, pretty much, retroactively copied the Apple car.

    Meanwhile, where's the Apple Spaceship? C'mon Tim, no self-respecting tech billionaire these days doesn't have a rocket... or are we in for a surprise when that new campus comes online...?
     
  18. Tech198, Jan 15, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2016

    Tech198 macrumors G4

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    #18
    Probably first and farmost I think, Location services will be required, not an option in the car

    We're all doomed .....

    I don't mind tracking, but i wanna be able to turn it off when i need to..... Apple car (or any self driving car) won't have that option since it must know your location from get to x....to y...

    Welcome to the future :p I think i've just wrapped up my life in 10 seconds :.....

    Or perhaps the real difference, is this car will 'fly' like in Back To The Future. Too soon?
     

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