If you’ve never heard of Apple, it’s a small technology company that has changed the world, over and over again since 1976. It also recently became the first U.S. company to manage a $700 billion market cap and is now possibly making headways into the automotive space. To be exact, Apple already has a presence in the automotive space with CarPlay, but this new hire along with reports indicating that Apple’s design team has met with a number of key automotive executives and creators in recent months, adds more fuel to the potential fire. The new Apple employee in question is the former President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development, Johann Jungwirth. According to the Financial Times, Johann Jungwirth, who joined Apple in September of last year as Director of Mac Systems Engineering, will work with experienced managers from the iPhone unit on automotive products.
At this point, this is all very vague and Apple is known for working on a plethora of products that never see the light of day. However, it is an interesting bit of information when considering what technology companies are doing in the space, most notably: Google (self-driving cars), Tesla (yes, I see Tesla as a tech company) and Uber (with important funding from Google and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos). All these companies compete directly or indirectly with Apple. And if Apple is indeed working on a car, John Gruber’s justification is quite on point:
>1. Cars are a huge industry. As with phones, just a few percent market share can lead to enormous profits, especially with a higher-end product. >2. I know a lot of people at Apple, at all levels of the company, who love watches. I also know many who love cars.
The impact the Valley could have on the future of one of our favorite industries is a fascinating prospect. In fact, MotoringFile is quite intrigued by the topic and we will make sure to dive deeper in it very soon. I personally hate rumors about Apple products, but in this case there is some tangible information. Unfortunately, analysts and the press at large will cling onto this news like they did with the Apple TV set, in the hope that it becomes reality one day thus validating their click-bait headlines (I’m looking at you, Gene Munster).