The on-off Apple, Inc. AAPL Car talks have resurfaced yet again, and this time around, more concrete details concerning Cupertino's self-driving car project have emerged.
What Happened: Apple is looking to speed up its car project and will focus on full self-driving capabilities, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
After being undecided as to whether it should pursue the fully autonomous option or one with limited self-driving capabilities, Apple has decided in favor of the former, the report said.
The Apple Car project, dubbed "Project Titan," is now helmed by Kevin Lynch, a former Apple Watch executive.
Apple is giving itself a timeline of four years, a scale back from the five-to-seven years some of its engineers were modeling previously, Bloomberg said. If the company is not able to meet the internal deadline, it could either delay the launch or release a car with less advanced technology initially, the report said.
For Apple, an ideal car would be one without steering wheel and pedals, with interiors designed around hands-free driving, the report said. Apple is contemplating something similar to the interior of the Lifestyle Vehicle from Canoo, Inc. GOEV.
Incidentally, the Verge reported earlier this year Apple executives held talks with Canoo in the first half of 2020 regarding an investment or potential acquisition but the talks fell through.
The Bloomberg report also said Apple is trying to heavily integrate its existing devices and services with the car.
Apple has recently completed much of the work on the processor meant to power its first-generation car, the report said.
The company is also underlining safety, which could be better than what is being offered by market leader Tesla, Inc. TSLA and Alphabet, Inc.'s GOOG GOOGL Waymo, Bloomberg reported.
Why It's Important: Apple has been a disruptor in each of the markets it has entered. The self-driving car project is unlikely to be an exception.
Apple is one of a few companies that consistently deliver excellent hardware, software and services — a prerequisite for new entrants to take on the incumbents and making a mark, Loup Funds' Andrew Murphy said in a note.
The project has long been in incubation and has faced several setbacks that include key executive departures and a failure to stitch up manufacturing partnership.
The car project will add substantially to the bottom line, according to Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives.
"We continue to believe its a matter of when, not if, Apple enters the EV race and this will add another $30+ per share of TAM to the Apple growth story over the next few years given the golden age of EV transformation on the horizon," Ives said.
At last check, Apple shares were up 2.82% at $157.82.
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