Ripe Apple or Bad Apple?

Guest contribution by Harald Kaiser: What is and what is not in the rumors of a possible electric car from the cult company Apple.

They seem to be on drugs, the speculators. It's about the car that Apple is supposed to be developing. The fantasies about the electrically powered “iCar”, so far only an unconfirmed paper tiger in all sorts of printed and electronic gazettes, have lately no longer only dealt with the question of whether Apple will build this car. In the meantime, the date of introduction has long been speculated (allegedly 2024/25).

On top of that, speculations about the possible sales that Apple could achieve with it are also shooting up. The tempting vision goes like this: Should Apple gain a similar market share as in the smartphone sector with almost 12 percent worldwide (3rd quarter of 2020), the auto business could bring the electronics giant from Silicon Valley an additional turnover of 400 billion dollars per year. In view of this number, you can literally see the pearly whites of the greedy analysts, who, should Apple actually go full throttle with a car, see the share price skyrocket.

It's just stupid that all the ruffles, who have already seen millions of price gains pouring into their coffers, have to be patient in any case - or their dreams will even burst. In the event, however, that Apple does not want to cooperate with an established vehicle manufacturer (rumored to be Hyundai or Kia) on its possibly existing car plans, the question of all questions is this: Why should Apple dare to venture a risky solo trip into unknown territory, considering which catalog would have to be processed beforehand at important points? They are:

  • An army of engineers would have to be hired to design the car.
  • Complex tests would have to be completed in order to obtain approval.
  • Expensive safety aspects for passengers in the event of an accident would have to be dealt with in exactly the same way as the environmental issues involved in recycling batteries.
  • At least one factory for the car (if one is enough) would have to be built.
  • A supply chain would have to be built.
  • Questions about the manufacturer's guarantee would have to be answered and hundreds of workshops would have to be founded or contracted.
  • Last but not least, the point of product liability should also be clarified. This is particularly tricky because a possibly autonomous iCar can quickly lead to millions of complaints in the event of an accident due to a technical error.

Speculations flourish wildly

Although the company from Cupertino, California, is worth a hundred times as much as it was 20 years ago and has around 200 billion dollars in its postage on top of that, some financial experts complain about the lack of entrepreneurial visions at Apple. The iCar would no doubt be such a vision. It cannot be ruled out that Apple is covertly ensuring that speculation about an iPhone on four wheels does not fall silent just for the sake of the stock market price. On the one hand, it is said again and again that around 1000 experts who have been bought together internationally are supposed to be busy with the project, which is supposedly called "Titan" internally. Then you hear that these people have all been released.

In the wildly blossoming speculative garden, the flower is also sprouting whether Apple would build such a car alone or in cooperation with a partner. For example, together with Tesla, the cult electric car manufacturer who does not earn a dollar in the simple business of cars for money and is therefore the ideal partner. And since Apple, in addition to the brilliant functionality of the products, also has a high level of fascination with customers, everything would fit together. For Apple, according to the assumptions in the financial scene, there would be another point of view: The company would not only earn money from the car, but also from software updates every few months. This is how Tesla does it. Because cars are more and more defined by software, because new functionalities are constantly being added.

Nobody knows anything for sure

However, there are also analysts who not only consider such a cooperation to be outright nonsense, but also do not see that the traditional car manufacturers could get into trouble because they are now increasingly relying on the e-car card. The opposite is now becoming more apparent. With 192.000 electric vehicles sold, VW was able to overtake its competitor Tesla (2020 units) for the first time in the fourth quarter of 180.667. Only one thing seems clear at the moment: Nobody outside of the Apple leadership circle knows anything. In the investor magazine “Der Aktionär”, the US hedge fund manager and car specialist Mark Spiegel aptly commented on the wild speculations: “If my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle” (in German: If my aunt had eggs, she would be mine Uncle). Spiegel also considers it almost impossible that Apple will swallow Tesla. With one exception: "At most after a bankruptcy from the bankruptcy estate."

So the situation is more opaque than ever. Apple boss Tim Cook smiles away the assumptions so far as soon as he is asked on the subject. His clever strategy behind this is probably this: If the time actually did come one day, Cook would round up the media and pull the covers off the car with a broad grin. The sensation would be perfect. If, however, the iCar does not come about, Apple would not have to back down. Because until today there has never been an official Pup of information from the company. Neither a confirmation that the project is being worked on, nor that there is nothing to do with the rumors that have been around for years.

The network community jokes about a "WinCar"

Considered in the light of economic realities, there are weighty arguments against such a project. On the other hand, there is also an aspect that should by no means be underestimated in the Apple fan base: the greed that Apple products undoubtedly emanate from. This masterfully celebrated shopping eroticism leads to queues of buyers in front of Apple stores around the world as soon as a new iPhone is available. Not to mention the prestige or coolness factor of an Apple iCar, in which many could inevitably sunbathe when they are out and about with it. Or imagine the roadside as a stage when the yuppie approaches his iCar and swings open the driver's door at the push of a button or even as if by magic so that the Apple user can take a seat.

That would bring prestige points, at least initially. Should the rumor become reality, contrary to all assumptions, then one of Apple's competitors would come under pressure: Microsoft. The network community has been joking for some time that Microsoft will then have to follow suit with the "WinCar". And as the software giant usually does with its Windows operating system, it would also happen with the imaginary car - a new WinCar would come out every two years, for which, of course, you would have to pay. More important, according to the internet jokers, is that you definitely need the Microsoft Car Office package to drive, because the engine won't start without the Excel formulas it contains. And due to the lack of Word, the Microsoft text program in the Office package, the operating instructions cannot be read. Not to mention the weekly security updates, because otherwise computer viruses would paralyze the car.


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