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A car could be the final piece of Apple's puzzle

Michael Simon | Feb. 17, 2015
If we think of CarPlay like the Motorola ROKR, then the mythical Apple Car could be the iPhone.

Open road

When you think about it, the flood of reports last week from the likes of Reuters, the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal was fairly inevitable. After the ROKR, we were certain Apple was working on its own phone. Almost as soon as Apple TV was released, rumors of flat-screen television sets emerged. And now that CarPlay is beginning to make its way into vehicles, here come the iCar rumors.

Apple has transformed its share of products and industries, but automobiles are a whole other story. It certainly has the capital to invest in such an undertaking, but Apple doesn't exactly have a history of dabbling. And if there really is a team of hundreds of people are working on the project right at the time all resourses should be dedicated to Apple Watch, Tim Cook is certainly serious about whatever he's building.

But if a Cupertino car is indeed in the works, it won't be judged on its horsepower and torque. Much like the iPhone is more than the sum of its RAM and clock speed, an Apple car will need to deliver an experience unlike anything we've ever driven, seamlessly transitioning our digital lives without missing a beat. 

Ultimate driving machine

Imagine a car that not only recognizes who's driving, but also where they're going, what they need to do when they get there, and what they want to listen to along the way. With the iPhone and Apple Watch, Apple has an opportunity to create a navigation system that's truly smart and a heads-up display that personalizes the trip based on the Apple Watch on the wrist of the person sitting in the driver's seat.

The song you were listening to on your Mac could continue playing when you start the engine. The quickest route to the office could be automatically set based on the time of day. A reminder could alert you to buy milk when you drive past a grocery store. It could give you a minute-by-minute weather forecast. And it could send a message to your thermostat when it notices you're on your way home.

But just like the killer app of the original iPhone was making calls, the killer feature of an Apple car would obviously be driving. While the connectivity and handoff features would certainly add trememndous value to whatever kind of vehicle Apple makes, it will, above all, still be a car. Rumors point to it being electric (which is a bit of a no-brainer), but what intrigues me is the self-driving aspect. We've already seen a prototype of driverless car from Google, but a healthy dose of Apple ingenuity could be what the technology needs to get off the ground.

 

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