Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported Apple was scaling down its secret “Project Titan” car project, citing hundreds of employee layoffs and reassignments. Unnamed sources claim the car project is now focusing on an “autonomous driving system that gives Apple flexibility to either partner with existing carmakers,” corroborated what the NYT reported last month.
So in other words, Apple is said to be working on the software to then partner with a carmaker to implement it. This seems out of line with Apple’s feverish desire to control both hardware and software in its existing products.
Recode reminds us previous Apple projects where it partnered with companies have not resulted in huge successes, specifically naming Mac OS licensing, the Moto Rockr and the iPod by HP.
Automakers are investing heavily to create their own self-driving software and it’ll be a tough sell for Apple to try to convince one to use their technology instead.
Recode says “Apple has talked to many, many auto companies, focusing most heavily on luxury carmakers with whom it sees itself as having a more natural affinity. But few automakers are willing to relinquish their brand and become the Foxconn of cars.”
Last year, it was reported Apple and BMW were in talks to use the latter’s electric i3 as a basis for Project Titan. A month ago, the Financial Times said Apple was in talks to acquire luxury carmaker McLaren, and the NYT said automotive startup Lit Motors was also said to be in the iPhone maker’s radar.
In September, Canada’s Magna International was profiled as a possible suitor for Apple’s car project, with rumours engineers were working with the latter already.
Regardless, if a car project is coming, it definitely will take a while to catch up to some of the impressive tech shown recently by Tesla. Can you see Apple giving up some control to partner with an automaker for its self-driving car efforts?