Is Apple Building a Car?

Steve Jobs was a car guy – how else do you explain the Porsche 935 Turbo K3 sponsored by Apple Computer? We’ve all seen pictures of Jobs’ illegally parked Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG, him riding his BMW R60/2 motorcycle and his awesome mega yacht. And if the recent account of Jobs’ life as depicted in the movie Jobs is to be believed, the Apple founder was a stylish guy — Ashton Kutcher can be seen whipping around in a Porsche 928 — who had good taste. I’d love to see what Jony Ive is tooling around in at the moment, but I’m guessing the guy responsible for the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad probably has a decent ride.

Then there’s another article, this one from The Verge, pleading with publications to stop showing Marc Newson’s Ford 021C concept car from 1999. Yes, perhaps the car that J Mays commissioned the reputable designer to build is a bit out of date, and we haven’t the faintest idea of what Newson’s involvement – if any – is on Apple’s purported car project. But given the fact that Newson is working part time at Apple these days and that there are some clear similarities in the design aesthetic of the 021C concept and Apple’s products, it seems to be a reasonable conclusion to draw. Besides the minivan claims, it’s also the only thing we can go by.

Ford 021c concept

How true any of the accounts of the Apple car actually are remains to be seen – some publications cite that an Apple car is 80-100 percent likely while others — such as this tongue-in-cheek article in the Guardian and a Top Gear article by Paul Horrell — are far more pessimistic on the subject.

Horrell’s piece, which appeared online last week, completely derides the assertion that Apple will build an electric car. The erudite article further cites a great many reasons why Apple would not enter into the car business ever, and it all sounds perfectly plausible to me.

Apple is, after all, a maker of technology, and a wonderfully successful one at that – it ranks second only to Google on the most profitable company scales. Given this unquestionable fact, it’s easy to assume that Apple will probably develop technology to be used by others, helping etch its name on the innovators wall and gaining credit for being instrumental in bringing autonomous mobility to the masses. The company could also be developing an entire city infrastructure to enable travel within urban environments, tacking on its numerous apps as a one-stop shop for an immersive Apple experience.

Regardless of what Apple’s got in store, no one at the company is laying out the flat plan. If it’s a car, we can only hope it’ll look better than a Chrysler or Pontiac minivan and we’re pretty sure it’ll blow the Google car out of the water. Or, it might just be something as mundane as another user interface with a touchscreen, some haptics and maybe even voice recognition.

It’s definitely an interesting time.


Founded in 2012, Form Trends tirelessly covers the automotive design industry in all corners of the globe to bring you exclusive content about cars, design, and the people behind the products.

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