While rumors abound that Apple is working on automotive projects, here’s what we do know about the Apple car.
The entirety of the research falls under the catch-all title: Project Titan.
However, while leaked documents and patents that Apple filed gave us a few hints, we know very little about the fully-featured self-driving EV that will compete with Tesla.
While the ‘iCar‘ project is codenamed Titan, the finished product will almost certainly be called something else.
Secondly, we know Apple’s EV will be capable of Level 4 autonomy requiring little to no human intervention during driving.
There is speculation that it may not have a steering wheel at all.
What’s more, it will run on iOS – boasting AI-specific smart features with Siri and deep iPhone integrations.
The company famously tries to keep everything in-house, but this being its first car, a collaboration with an automaker is expected.
Apple will team up with a third-party to get the battery pack and the ‘engine’, but the software will be engineered in-house.
Hyundai, BMW, Daimler and Kia have all been linked to the project.
What’s certain is that Apple wants to build a cruiser, not a racer.
In terms of tech and features, the Apple Car will be a lot closer to a Tesla than a BMW or an Audi.
Speaking to the BBC, Elon Musk was one of the first key figures in the auto industry to acknowledge the Apple Car was happening.
“It’s pretty hard to hide something [that Project Titan exists, ed.] if you hire a thousand engineers to do it,” Musk said.
Apple’s use of sleek lines in other products could be reused in the “Apple Car,” as well as wide-swinging doors that eliminate the need for a permanent center door pillar, making openings even larger.
The seats will be arranged facing each other to create more of a social area or workspace, and we all know how much Apple loves a workspace.
Proposals include the use of AR and VR technology, in-screen displays, privacy lighting, and unique sunroof designs, among other suggestions.
The interior will be a tech fest.
There will be a massive touch screen spanning the length of the cabin.
There will also be iPads mounted on the car walls facilitating Facetime calls.
And the technology will never age because iOS would be updated remotely just like it is on your iPhone.
One of the patents surrounding the project concerns ‘adjustable tinting windows’.
According to the patent, the windows will be covered in several layers of tint.
This means the driver and passengers will likely be able to adjust window tinting on demand, depending on factors such as outside temperature and light.
In true Apple style, the company has thought of everything.
The Cupertino giant has also filed patents for the technology itself, as well as for the materials required to implement it.
They have filed a total of nine patents regarding something known as ‘Guest-Host Liquid Crystal Device’.
This is basically the tint layer that will be used to adjust reflectivity.
Rumors about Apple’s intention to build a car first surfaced in 2014.
The market wasn’t ready then, but now cars are defined by software and tech – not their engine.
A ‘Beta’ version of the car is expected by 2025.
Its release could be as early as this year, but it’s more likely to be in 2026 or 2027.
Apple usually announces new products only when they’re about to be released.
Announcements are done in a controlled setting at one of the company’s launch events.
There are only 2,700 Apple employees currently involved with the project.
That might sound like a lot, but Apple has 164,000 employees, so it’s only two percent of the company who are in the know.
One employee, Weibao Wang, is facing jail time for the mistake of trying to leak highly confidential details about the Apple car.
Having worked for a year and a half for Apple, Wang was approached by a rival tech company in China.
He accepted a job there but continued to work at Apple for four months.
When he left, Apple did some digging and uncovered a security breach.
Wang had accessed a whole lot of files just days before he left.
The information was about tracking systems, driving behavior research, and other autonomous driving technology.
His house was raided and the police found a pile of confidential documents.
What made things extra suspicious was the fact that he’d just boarded a flight from San Francisco to Guangzhou – and only bought a one-way ticket.
Now he faces six charges of trade secret theft.
Each one of his charges is worth 10 years in prison or a $250,000 fine.
The reason his punishment is so harsh is due to a crackdown in America.
The country is paranoid about people sharing technological information with countries like China and Russia.
We don’t know whether he shared the information he stole before he was arrested.
In terms of pricing, Apple’s products are generally more expensive than their rivals.
This is true for the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and MacBook.
It is especially true for Apple’s VR headset, the ‘Vision Pro‘, which is nearly 10 times more expensive than Meta’s Quest 3.
There’s no reason to believe this’ll change with the Apple Car, which will likely be marketed in the same price bracket as the Tesla Model X and the Sony Afeela EV.
We expect a price tag of around $100,000.