Apple, the well-known brand that has given us the iPod, iPhone and more recently, the Car Play technology, now wants to extend its automotive involvement to more than just smartphone integration in cars. If reports surfacing on the internet are to be believed, they actually want to build a car!
Lawsuits aren't new to the tech giant, and the most recent one involves a dispute with automotive battery systems maker A123 Systems. The latter claims that Apple has been aggressively poaching key staff members from its firm and that the poached employees are violating the non-disclosure and non-compete agreements. The poached employees on the other hand say that they are working with Apple on new battery technologies. On the other hand, Apple is also reportedly poaching employees from Tesla Motors, thus indicating that an electric car is actually on the cards for the tech giant.
Reports indicate that Apple is calling its automotive plans, Project Titan. The vehicle under development is expected to be on the lines of a minivan and could be an autonomously driven car. The rumormill says that the Apple Car is expected to be production ready by 2020. Apple has had meetings with Austrian automotive engineering and manufacturing firm Magna Steyr. It could indicate that since Apple doesn't have any automotive expertise yet, Magna Steyr could play a big role in the development of the said vehicle, and its manufacturing when it is ready to hit production. Magna Steyr currently assembles all the 4Matic variants of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and all variants of the BMW X3.
Apple is known to be one of the most cash-rich companies in the world, so while it doesn't have any proven automotive expertise yet, it certainly has the muscle to get things done. But while engineering and production can be taken care of through contract manufacturers like Magna Steyr, it's real challenge will lie in the reliability, distribution and after sales service of its car line.