Apple car: Tim Cook put Kevin Lynch in the driver’s seat — report

From Blake Dodge’s “Scoop: Apple taps its watch mastermind Kevin Lynch to work on self-driving cars” posted Friday on Business Insider:

Lynch is one of the architects of the Apple Watch. In 2013, he was brought in specifically to grow the product from an idea into a reality. He’s largely credited with helping define a new product category for Apple, “wearables,” that’s now making billions of dollars a quarter.

Before Apple, he was the chief technology officer at Adobe, where he helped bring Creative Cloud, a series of apps for photography and more, to life, Lynch’s bio says. He also led software at Macromedia, a similar company, which Adobe purchased in 2005 for $3.4 billion.

In addition to heading up watchOS, Lynch is one of a handful of VPs defining Apple’s healthcare strategy.

My take: Despite a resume sprinkled with fairy dust, Kevin Lynch did not impress me when he first appeared on an Apple stage to unveil the Watch. But like the Apple Watch, Lynch has improved through the iterations.

11 Comments

  1. Fred Stein said:
    Interesting. Apple Watch, the first true Smart Watch, i.e. a platform vs. a point device product, leaves all others in the dust.

    Might Kevin repeat this success in mobility? I hope so.

    2
    July 17, 2021
  2. Interior design makes or breaks higher-end car models. Ergonomics/safety vs style vs durability. We expect that Bauhaus simplicity with Apple products. I get in some rentals & cannot fathom the controls sitting there in the rent-a-car lot. Manual often missing. Interchangeable body parts? Maybe a removable roof circa ‘14 Vette, available in leather, platinum or candy apple? Actually the Apple Watch quickly became the must-have stylish accessory for many famous folk. The year the Apple car emerges from 3D printers several will roll up at the red carpet before awards shows. Especially if Tim is there to accept an Emmy award for an Apple Watch commercial!

    0
    July 17, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      We had a Dacia “Sandero Stepway” for 8 days/1500km in France earlier this month. I was generally impressed with the car. The features were reasonably intuitive, and for the most part the full set of vetronics had no surprises.

      A fully functional set of proximity sensors and a backup camera were -invaluable- when trying to navigate tight streets and parking garages in France!!! I played a little with the included navigation system, but generally stuck with CoPilot on my iPhone. That app is still not quite ready for prime time, it hung a couple of times (usually in the middle of a city, worst possible time when I’m trying to figure out where to turn…), and there were some mistakes in the map data.

      0
      July 17, 2021
      • David Emery said:
        I looked up the price for that car, about USD $20k (based on the UK price fully loaded.)

        0
        July 17, 2021
  3. Jerry Doyle said:
    This announcement strengthens further the developing reality that Apple is involved deeply in some form or fashion with developing a car and is moving aggressively on that front.

    Apple brought Kevin on board in 2013 to grow specifically the Apple Watch product from an idea into reality. Today, the Watch is one of Apple’s most defined products so well received in society, that irregardless what buffoon CNBC Joe Kernan believes erroneously, one easily can spot Apple’s omnipresent device on people’s wrists when moving about outside the home. Kevin helped moved the Watch project to fruition, a product that overpowers all other Apple devices in the wild with exception of the iPhone and AirPods.

    Kevin played a crucial role in defining the Apple Watch as an Apple new product category, “wearables,” that now is a gold mine for Apple making billions quarterly in revenues. Kevin, go work your magic with the Apple Car. Have it roll out in 2024. I will be standing in line to pick mine up. 🙂

    4
    July 17, 2021
  4. Gregg Thurman said:
    did not impress me when he first appeared on an Apple stage to unveil the Watch.

    PED, are we injecting a little bit of form over function in assessing Lynch’s abilities?

    1
    July 17, 2021
    • Rodney Avilla said:
      “ Lynch has improved through the iterations.”
      Maybe. Or maybe your perception has improved..

      0
      July 18, 2021
  5. Alan Trerise said:
    Elon Musk, July 2:
    “Generalized self-driving is a hard problem, as it requires solving a large part of real-world AI. Didn’t expect it to be so hard, but the difficulty is obvious in retrospect.
    Nothing has more degrees of freedom than reality.”

    I suspect Apple has come to the same conclusion after allowing different managers give it a go. But in the process they probably discovered they had designed a pretty cool car that provided a great driving experience and a great riding experience. Encase it in that Apple style and then just let the brand do the selling.

    Meanwhile the fleet of sold cars is collecting real world data to teach some future system to navigate autonomously.

    3
    July 17, 2021
  6. Bart Yee said:
    Frankly, I could care less about autonomous vehicles. Let Apple engineers design a solid hybrid or electric vehicle with above average to superior performance, range, and driving experience. Add to that a modern, clean, and competitive to sumptuous interior with a straightforward to intuitive information displays, control systems (electronic rather than strictly mechanical) where apropos and a superior tech interface – entertainment, communications, navigation, connectivity for work or play while in motion or at rest.

    Have Porsche massage the performance and road handling, and put bling on the options while providing strong form and function.

    Decide at the outset whether you have cost effective models vs high to upper end versions. And of course, design in reliability and easy repair.

    Tall orders but IMO absolutely requirements in a competitive automotive environment. If Apple is to succeed, it has to be very good right out of the box. Surrounding this with excellent customer service and a network of dealers, repair and charging networks must also be in place. Difficult but not undoable, especially with Apple’s free cash flow each year.

    4
    July 18, 2021
  7. Bart Yee said:
    If Apple just built a network of multi-manufacturer-adaptable charging stations replete with subscriptions for charging, local 5G and WiFi connectivity, and enhanced options for Apple Product owners who happens to be EV owners, imagine how quickly they could grow that model and disrupt the fledgling charging station. Also consider that they could offer carbon neutral charging using a offsets from its various solar initiatives in many states.

    I could easily envision Apple ePower / iPower ™ or eCharge+ ™ stations with 10-20 chargers per station sprouting up in many areas. So much better a use of vacant or unused land, buildings or even parking spaces. Consider what could happen with stations situated in shopping mall lots with EV shuttle services, or college/university campuses (to catch the younger generations) or at major parking sites, airports, or stadiums?? Charge while you’re off doing something else or just sitting in your vehicle. Assuming a 20-30 min top off, or 60-90 min half charge, this could prove very very attractive assuming costs are profitable.

    1
    July 18, 2021
    • Bart Yee said:
      An Apple based foray into EV charging would cement EV usage into the common consciousness and show Apple was serious about our mobility lives. This could easily precede and establish visible infrastructure for extending EV ranges to the point of lessening battery capacity if needed. Then, with all that in place, Apple’s EV, driven or autonomous, could burst on the scene with charging infrastructure already humming, and many many issues addressed from the start.

      1
      July 18, 2021

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