Apple's Project Titan: 8 Rumors We're Following - InformationWeek

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10/4/2015
12:05 PM
Nathan Eddy
Nathan Eddy
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Apple's Project Titan: 8 Rumors We're Following

Project Titan is either the best-kept or worst-kept secret in Silicon Valley. Whether Apple is or isn't building its own autonomous vehicle is not clear, but here's what we're hearing.
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(Image: billnoll/iStockphoto)

(Image: billnoll/iStockphoto)

As is the case with anything related to Apple, rumors and speculation surrounding Project Titan -- widely believed to be the company's plan to develop and produce either an electric vehicle or a self-driving car (or both) -- are dominating the tech world, though Apple has said little of its actual intentions.

While the company's secretive nature has always worked brilliantly as a PR strategy, there are certain things even Apple can't keep under wraps, whether it's a smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, or even, yes, an electric car.

It might be months, or even years, before Apple decides to officially release details of what Project Titan is. However, we've seen enough reported leaks to know that something is definitely bubbling beneath the polished exterior of the company.

Reports indicate that Apple has a seriously ambitious desire for upending everything we know about cars. While even the world's most important technology company has limits, most road signs are pointing towards an advanced piece of four-wheeled equipment.

A September research note by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, which was published in several news outlets, put the likely chance of Apple actually producing an electric car at between 50% and 60%.

[Check out the collection of cool cars from this year's NY Auto Show.]

"If Apple makes a car as we know it today, we expect it to be an electric vehicle that is likely priced in the luxury market," Munster wrote. "A car by Apple may look completely different than what we think of as a typical car today in terms of shape and size."

Munster also opined that the project was closer to 10 years away from delivery rather than 5 years, noting that by that time automation will be a key competitive feature when Apple unveils the vehicle.

Still, there are plenty of precedents for Apple to get into the electric or autonomous car market. After all, Google -- its biggest rival -- is slowly preparing its self-driving car for general release.

Given all this info swirling around, InformationWeek pulled together a short list of what we know so far about Apple's plans. Since more details are sure to leak out, fueled by a healthy dose of rumor and conjecture, we'll keep you posted as more details roll out on the information superhighway.

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
10/6/2015 | 4:18:55 PM
Re: Luxury
Brian, what is funny is that people talk so much about a project that is actually secret. :) -Susan
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
10/5/2015 | 7:34:42 PM
Re: Luxury
Great point, the average depreciation cycle of a car has been increasing. Currently, the average life of a car stands at around 11 years and for comparison to the pace of technology, the average life of a smartphone is 2 years. An upgradable infotainment system that provides entertainment and valuable analytics might be the short term requirement of the market. Such a system would need to be modular in design and the software open source.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
10/5/2015 | 7:19:58 PM
Re: Luxury
@Susan, it is great that Apple might enter the automotive industry as more competition will ensure that customers gain a high quality product. Everyone is entering the driverless arena. A report from BBC just went online about Daimler testing a driverless lorry. Daimler might succeed in its effort as the company is strategically positioned in the heavy transport industry.

Tesla is succeeding, and part of the success is due to SpaceX and Solarcity holding a strategic position that is beneficial to the electric car market. Tesla's own Powerwall that is targeted at homes will create benefits for their car business. Google has years of automation experience.

But, if we look at Apple, I don't see the strategic advantage. Granted, the lack of vision is partly due to the reason that it is a secret project and hence, there is radio silence.
novicap
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novicap,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/5/2015 | 4:02:22 PM
Google versus Apple war
I only notice one thing. Apple , google and in a less way facebook are just struggling for be the biggest industry and control the big industries ( medical, tech, cars...)
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
10/5/2015 | 7:06:28 AM
Re: Luxury
I'm not convinced that Apple is developing its own vehicle. It seems like a strange time to get into the market that is already pretty packed with much more experienced manufacturers. We are also on the cusp of a real change in the way cars work: adding automation, potentially leading to people not owning as many cars as they have done.

If Apple is working on any car stuff, I don't think it will be a whole vehicle. More like an entertainment platform for while we're being chauffeured around by our vehicles. 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
10/5/2015 | 2:33:36 AM
Re: Luxury
Daniel, it sounds like as if manufacturing a luxury product were a real bad thing to do, and it's not. There is a lot of quality and stylish design put into luxury products, great quality materials, careful manufacturing and quality control, thoughtful details, and more. Not being affordable for some people doesn't make luxury products bad, or something to become a topic of criticism at all times. Why do you see luxury products as a problem? -Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
10/5/2015 | 2:19:42 AM
Re: Luxury
Brian, I see no reason why Apple shouldn't enter the automotive industry. On the contrary, I believe it's a great idea. :) -Susan
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
10/4/2015 | 9:17:49 PM
Re: Luxury
Tesla specializes in the energy storage segment of vehicles through its blend of research and mass production of battery technology and Google specializes in the autonomous segment of vehicles through its analytical, data and sensor capabilities. I wonder if Apple also has a missing piece of the puzzle that would justify its entry into the automotive industry.   
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
10/4/2015 | 3:33:09 PM
Re: Luxury
For the moment Apple Watch is not so necessary but I think maybe Apple will use it as a conduit to glue everything in its eco-system together, including iPhone, iPad, Project Titan artifact and more.
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
10/4/2015 | 3:15:33 PM
Luxury
I totally agree that this car would be something in the luxury category. 

Just look at the Apple Watch. I see this as a premier item, and I think many other people believe the same thing. This is the market that Apple resides in for a lot of things other than the iPhone – and they know that the markup is incredible in those premium categories. 
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