Chatter on a few iPhones claims that Apple has about 1,000 employees working on its latest conquest: cars.
Bloomberg reports that Apple wants to start producing cars as soon as 2020. Naturally, the report is a little vague on details, but in five years. Apple wants to take over your vehicle purchases. Posting a profit of $18 billion in one quarter can put a company in the aspirational mood…
The goal is rumored to be a battle of the hipster ages — Apple vs. Tesla Motors with General Motors running far, far behind.
“That’s the inflection point — the proving ground — that brings on the electric age,” Steve LeVine, author of “The Powerhouse,” a book about the automotive battery industry, said on Bloomberg TV Thursday. “Now you have Apple coming in and this is critical mass. Was GM really going to be able to match Tesla? Apple can.”
The average for most auto manufacturers to bring a new concept to market is 6 or 7 years, as Bloomberg points out. However, when you think of Tesla’s attempts to go all electric in an all gas market, the most realistic number would probably be 10…and Apple wants to cut that in half.
People like, say, former GM CEO Dan Akerson, hink this is a pipe dream full of enough exhaust to darken the skies over Cupertino. In another interview with Bloomberg, Akerson said that Apple entering the auto business is like Kanye West teaching humility (emphasis ours):
“A lot of people who don’t ever operate in it don’t understand and have a tendency to underestimate,” said Akerson, who has held no other executive positions in the automotive industry. “They’d better think carefully if they want to get into the hard-core manufacturing,” he said of Apple. “We take steel, raw steel, and turn it into car. They have no idea what they’re getting into if they get into that.”
So, here’s the PR question: Who will bet against Apple with its money, ingenuity, and stylish facial hair?
Mark your calendars: We are T minus 5 years and counting.