Why did the Wall Street Journal make a tiny Apple car? (video)

5 Comments

  1. “Autonomy itself is a core technology, in my view…An autonomous car is a robot. And so there’s lots of things you can do with autonomy…” – Tim Cook to Kara Swisher.
    The initial product I’m sensing, in Cook’s words and Apple’s public efforts, is a fully autonomous urban transporter. Not a flashy, fast, sports car that might not detect a big rig but rather a well-connected electric people mover operating in a defined setting. A mall parking lot, airport, university campus, warehouse, factory and all the other ‘slow moving’ environments we go with iPhones when there is no global pandemic taking place. Public transportation use is down 40%, Apple’s innovation could efficiently turn that around. Smart ticketing, fast WiFi onboard, crisp displays, no trolley lines to build, wireless charging kiosks in the corners but mostly large swaths of AR-capable Gorilla glass in a fully robotic EV. Bicycles/scooters are not for everybody. No glamour or speed perhaps but safe public transport, AR and environmental benefits typical in Apple’s core. (add a wheelchair lift.)

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    April 6, 2021
    • Fred Stein said:
      Great points.

      Apple famously “thinks different”. By letting go of car ownership, amazing benefits accrue. EV owners have to install high amp chargers – cost. Car owners have to allocate real estate for garage and driveway – super expensive in silicon valley and big cities. Parking in cities and mega events adds cost and time at every step. The cost of the driver represents about 1/2 the cost for ride sharing. Mass transit is just that, massive. It is expensive, bureaucratic, slow, and restrictive in terms of schedule and location of stops.

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      April 6, 2021
      • David Emery said:
        Seems to me you’re arguing the ‘iCar’ will be an EV version of Zip Car. OK, that could be a different business model, and could produce the kinds of returns that would appeal to Apple-the-business. But would an iZipCar be a purely “per-trip” service, or could it be more liked ‘shared ownership?’ Interesting to think about those alternatives.

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        April 6, 2021
        • Fred Stein said:
          Ultimately, with full autonomous driving, Apple could (no predictions here) radically transform.

          The big deal is parking. The vehicle goes to the next task, whether to pick up a person, pick up a thing, get charged, or get stored overnight. In cities, parking is very expensive and reduces the number of usable traffic lanes.

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          April 6, 2021
          • Bart Yee said:
            Would be very interesting to consider how Apple could partner with large corporate or parking operators with empty overnight parking structures. Imagine where huge wholesale installations of robotic chargers can be installed and vehicles move in concert for setup and charging, then to parking/staging areas after fully charged. In some cases they stay in the structure. In other cases, they fan out to use areas, or demand areas and occupy otherwise unused overnight parking. The structure owners and parking lot owners get a win from more utilization, Apple gets leased charging and staging areas with relatively low capital expenses outside of charging infrastructure and maybe localized guidance systems like LIDAR, visual, or in ground / wall sensors for close quarters maneuvering. The potential is endless here for ride sharing and people moving systems that obviate vehicle ownership for many.

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            April 6, 2021

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