Was Apple’s launch of iPhone in early 2007 much of a surprise to anyone who followed the company? Of course not. iPhone was a natural progress; a Mac in your pocket and a way to keep the iPod dream alive.
Exactly how successful iPhone has become may have been a big surprise, but successful it is, and such success lays bare Apple’s most glaring fault and ongoing challenge. The fault is secrecy. And the ongoing challenge is the next big product line, Apple Car.
Organic Growth vs. Purchase
Another not very well kept secret in Cupertino is Apple Car. Why would Apple build a car? Have you looked inside today’s new models, specifically the all-electric Tesla? Such models bristle with technologically advanced hardware and software to match. Apple is a hardware and software company and the future of personal transportation is all-electric, self-driving automobiles, so why not Apple?
It makes sense that Apple executives would explore the future of automobiles. The technology is advancing at a rapid pace, the real money is being made in the premium end of the product spectrum, something where Apple has experience, and the entire self-driving, high-tech automobile industry is somewhat fragmented but growing quickly.
That’s a ripe situation for Apple, so what is going on in Cupertino?
Funny you ask. And true story. Turmoil. Apple is so rich that along with France the company could have bought Tesla and lost the expenditure in a rounding error in some quarterly financial statement. But Apple loves control and nobody controls Elon Musk, so the Mac and iPhone maker is off to the races and working on the Apple car, oft called Project Titan. Now, whether Titan simply means ‘big project‘ or moon from Saturn (ironic, yes), or an airline, or airliner, or double-decker bus, or tire company, or something else altogether doesn’t really mean much because it’s unlikely to be the name of Apple Car (iCar seems so 2009).
The bigger a project gets and the longer it takes to yield a real product the more leaks occur in the secrecy walls built up in Cupertino. They’re actual walls, you know; could be used to lock up the border to Mexico. We’ve read and heard that Apple has over 1,000 people working on Titan, the valued head of the project has left the company, design honcho Jonny Ive is upset because nothing is happening with Apple Car, the Mercedes-Benz chief thinks the company is further along the road toward launch than expected, and that Apple might do what Tesla did, and build the first electric car using someone else’s platform, in this case the highly touted BMW electric i3.
Whatever the route Apple takes to Apple Car, one thing is certain. Secrecy efforts to date haven’t worked out all that well, apparently matching project progress, and public failure is not an option– otherwise the impact on AAPL will be sufficient to see heads roll out of One Infinite Loop, take a right onto De Anza Boulevard, and bounce onto I-280. That’s because Apple is so big these days that failure cannot hide.