A rare public forum on Apple’s future investment plans has given the rumour mill its new favourite line on whether the tech giant will someday introduce a car of its own.
Speculation has been rife that Apple is working on an autonomous vehicle, and business paper The Wall Street Journal has reported previously on a top-secret project codenamed ‘Titan’.
If the reports and rumours prove accurate, we may soon see Apple taking on the auto industry and its own technology rival Google in the race to have a fully autonomous vehicle ready for market.
Speaking with shareholders and fans this week, Apple executive Jeff Williams described passenger vehicles as “the ultimate mobile device”.
But, although Williams added that his team explores “all kinds of categories” and the company “will certainly continue to look” at potential in the motoring space, he quickly confirmed that the CarPlay connectivity system is so far the extent of Apple’s play into the automotive realm.
Can Apple Budget For An Automotive Program?
By the end of March this year, Apple’s cash pile had grown to nearly AU$260 billion - around five times the size of Toyota’s stash - but the company has also confirmed that it will return more than $70 billion of that to investors over the next two years.
Even with only the change left over from its increased capital-return program, there can be little doubt that Apple could make a few waves if it decided to enter the game - especially if it takes a unique approach.
Adding fuel to the fire is the news in recent months that Apple has been poaching talent from across the automotive industry, including attempts at pinching key Tesla talent.
According to Apple enthusiast site 9to5Mac, those hires have included car safety expert Robert Gough, former Tesla staffer John Ireland, and Ford hybrid engineer David Perner.
It would seem that if Apple is not working on a car of its own, it at least has plans for a big assault on the automotive industry.
Who knows; you could be reading a TMR review of the new Apple car in the years head.