- Apple is reportedly working on a new product, unlike anything seen before.
- Sources familiar with Apple’s plans told Reuters that the company plans to launch its own self-driving electric car by 2025.
- What makes Apple’s car project unique compared to other companies working on similar technology is a breakthrough innovation: A battery design that would let Apple increase the range.
Apple is known for its ability to disrupt entire industries and then model them according to its own wishes. Products like the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and AirPods are the best example of that. Each of them revolutionized that particular business, forcing competitors to adapt and follow Apple’s moves closely. This sort of innovation is also a curse for Apple. Analysts and critics have been warning about imminent’s demise for years, as the company wasn’t fast enough to come out with a breakthrough, must-have product after the last industry-defining one. It turned out that Apple’s doomed was grossly exaggerated, and the company is sitting on a huge treasure chest worth nearly two hundred billion dollars that could be used for, well, anything. The latest rumor says that Apple is working on a breakthrough innovation that will power a product that’s never been done before, with a launch set for 2025 at the latest.
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Project Titan is the purported code name of Apple’s not-so-secret car division. A few years ago, several rumors said Apple was developing its own self-driving car tech, but those reports died down. Apple had other priorities. Reuters has just resurfaced that rumor, saying that Apple is working on a self-driving car, with the launch set for 2024 at the earliest. The coronavirus pandemic might delay plans by about a year.
Other auto business players are working on their own self-driving technology, and many of them are also pursuing electric car dreams. Some are developing software, like Google. Tesla is making only electric cars, and they come with self-driving features, but the Tesla models aren’t really self-drivable. Then there’s the slew of regular carmakers that are scrambling to do a bit of both, now that the tech industry has set its sights on the car.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Apple is two specific things that might allow it to create a self-driving electric car like no other. First of all, it’s developing lidar sensors capable of detecting 3D objects. Similar sensors are already found in the latest iPad Pro and iPhone 12 Pro versions. For the car, Apple will need multiple lidar sensors for sensing different distances. Some of them will be based on Apple’s own tech, and others will come from the automotive industry. It’s not just the sensors that would make Apple’s car unique, but also the software. Like other products, Apple would be in charge of both the hardware and the programs that make the hardware shine.
The second breakthrough could actually give Apple an advantage over traditional vehicle vendors, Tesla included. Apple is reportedly designing a next-gen car battery that would allow it to offer a longer range.
”It’s next level,” a person familiar with the matte lauded the prototype tech to Reuters. “Like the first time you saw the iPhone.”
Apple is reportedly working on a “monocell” design that fuses the individual cells, freeing up space inside the car by eliminating the battery modules. More active material could be packed inside Apple’s design, which would result in a longer charge.
Additionally, the battery will use lithium iron phosphate (LFP) tech, which is less likely to overheat than traditional lithium-ion batteries. This would make the battery even safer.
While two distinct sources said Apple plans to make the Apple car a reality, it’s unclear how Apple would approach the venture. The report speculates that Apple could either partner up with a traditional carmaker with an established automotive supply chain and factories ready to mass-produce units. The other option is more challenging. Apple would have to create its own assembly lines and ink deals with parts makers. Compared to Tesla and other companies, Apple has a huge advantage that can help with that: $200 billion in cash.