DETROIT (Feb. 25, 2015) — Apple Inc., the company that revolutionized music, phones and computers (but not glasses), wants to revolutionize the automobile.
The Silicon Valley titan has “several hundred employees” working on building a passenger car, the Wall Street Journal reported. Members of the Apple team have met with Magna Steyr in Europe, a company capable of building everything from a single ash tray to an entire run of cars.
The Apple development team is said to be considering an electric minivan as its first project, though anything more specific is not yet known, the WSJ said.
Apple, for its part, is withholding comment.
The company is sitting on $178 billion in cash so it might as well give car building a try.
The WSJ article said the development team could be as large as 1,000 people, brought together from both inside and outside the company. The team includes product design vice president Steve Zadesky, who worked at Ford Motor Co. as an engineer, and Johann Jungwirth, who was head of Mercedes-Benz R&D North America. Former Ford designer Marc Newson started working at Apple last year.
Other industrial giants outside the car industry have tried building cars before, of course. Some did better than others. Apart from Tesla — and we're still kind of waiting to see about them — almost every other car maker startup in many, many decades has failed or been swallowed up by an existing behemoth and orphaned or simply spat out. There is rampant room for speculation as to Apple's chances in this realm.
So let's speculate.
It's one thing to offer some sort of innovative Tier 2 product such as one to rival that 17-inch touchscreen panel you see in the Tesla Model S. Or some really cool turn signal lights that wiggle and undulate instead of just blinking.