As much as my husband and I would relish an Apple Car that competes with the likes of Tesla and other electronic automobiles, I have this nagging suspicion that ‘it ain’t gonna happen.‘ Sure, Apple has the money, design expertise, engineering chops, and can easily pony up what’s needed for a factory.
Two questions go completely unanswered in all the analysis of Apple Car. When will we see it? What will make Apple Car different? Meanwhile, Apple seems content and intent upon ignoring the potential of becoming an automobile company, and instead becoming a health gadget maker. Not everyone needs an expensive electronic car. Everyone needs better health.
It’s All About Data
Apple gets accused of falling behind in the artificial intelligence end of the technology industry, yet we see Siri answering questions and taking commands on more than one billion Apple products, so maybe the company has something going on that no one is paying as much attention to. You know, health data is boring.
Yet, Apple has hired hundreds of health care experts to work on applications, and iPhones have become the premier health tracking device to measure and gauge fitness levels for various activities the body engages in throughout the day.
Health data is a big deal and the iPhone captures plenty, and combined with Watch and a number of new sensors, may capture even more. What gets captured so far isn’t much. Steps and distances and exercises can be translated into caloric burn and with Watch, heart rate. In the future, additional sensors to capture blood pressure, glucose levels, and more could be incorporated into Watch; data that is gathered by iPhone, sucked up into various applications, and provide customers, users, and health care professionals with advanced diagnostic and research tools.
As much as many of us may want to see Apple become the Apple Car company with an electronic design of wizardry that makes Tesla’s cars look positively pedestrian, I’m no longer convinced it’s going to happen. Why not? First, Apple is way behind a rapidly advancing curve and that contrasts with iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Watch where each industry was a messed up group of incoherent also-rans. The auto industry has made great strides toward nearly autonomous vehicles and is moving rapidly. That’s not an industry status that bodes well for Apple’s methodology.
Apple as a health care company (whereby ‘health care‘ is defined as capturing health data that customers, users, and health care professionals can use to monitor health and diagnosis proper treatments) makes more sense, and both of Apple’s health related products– iPhone and Watch– are available now and customers already number in the hundreds of millions and tens of millions respectively. Compare that to industry leader Toyota which sold less than 11-million vehicles last year. Industry darling Tesla won’t sell 100,000 cars this year. As much as I want them to, why would or should Apple want to get into that business?
Apple’s HealthKit and ResearchKit as platforms to gather and utilize health data. iPhone and Watch are health data gathering monsters; toss in some facial recognition capability, and sensors and data could be used to predict seizures or other health issues. All data collected by Apple, stored on Apple’s devices, and shared on third party applications that run on Apple’s devices.
Automobile ownership may be a species in denial and in decline. Health care data tracking and analysis is an industry that grows as humans grow older. Apple Car? Bah humbug. Apple is more of a health care company already.