Based upon the number of cars infecting the roads and streets in and around greater Chicagoland, it would appear that those of us who live in the Midwest love to drive. I’m sure that’s the case outside the city in smaller towns and suburbs.
The reality is this. Owning a car is an expensive proposition and about 90-percent of the time the car just sits somewhere in a garage or parking garage. We live in a condo in the city and have two cars, two parking spaces, and I did some quick math and on average days each car gets used about an hour a day; some days more, some days less.
When the Cubs win the World Series this year we plan to drive around– in one car only– and honk the horn for about an hour. Regardless, the O’Brien household is an Apple household full of multiple Macs, iPhones, iPads, an Apple TV, a couple of his and her Watch models, and various and sundry Apple accessories.
We’d like to get rid of our cars and have an Apple car. Why?
What does Apple bring to the automobile world that Tesla does not? One of my husband’s co-workers has a Tesla and I can tell you that’s the future of the automobile– when it becomes fully autonomous and self-driving. It’s quiet. It’s fast. It’s smooth riding. It’s damned expensive.
Just like Apple products, no?
I’ve read the headlines over the past couple of years and know that Apple will build a car, not build a car, maybe sell car software, maybe build a fleet of rentable self-driving vehicles, maybe build a car, maybe not build a car.
That’s Apple, all right. Let the market decide.
Because we live in the city an autonomous self-driving car has a certain romance about it. Flip up Watch, say, “Hey Siri, bring the car around to the front door at 8:15.” And, at 8:15 the car arrives. How cool is that? Tesla has something similar going but in infancy. Apple is good at the Golly Gee Whiz factor so a keynote presentation with a “One More Thing…” even that rolls an Apple car on stage, summoned seconds earlier by talking to Siri on Apple Watch would go down in history as Steve Jobs’ greatest triumph. Without Steve Jobs.
Yet, just last week I read a few more articles which said Apple has abandoned the car effort, and then two additional pieces which said it has been revived under new leadership.
What’s the problem, Apple?
It can’t be money. Apple has more money than most sovereign European nations so it could buy Tesla. Or, Ford, whose market cap is about what Apple rakes in from profits each year. Money isn’t the issue. One could say that the automobile industry is mature and not easy to break into. You know, like smartphones. Tesla did it the right way with a cool and interesting little roadster to figure out how, then the Model S with a classic design and some ludicrous power and rich accouterments for automobile aficionados, and a price to stake and own the premium end.
If the premium end is taken already, and it is, and Apple likes the premium end of every product segment, then, other than brand, what can Apple bring to the table to play in the game?
Fully autonomous self-driving with built-in wireless connectivity and Bentley-like accouterments, summoned by Siri on my Watch.
I want that.