The Apple Car is dead, long live the Apple car


Welcome to our weekly Apple Breakfast column, which includes all the Apple news you missed last week in a handy bite-sized roundup. We call it Apple Breakfast because we think it goes great with a Monday morning cup of coffee or tea, but it’s cool if you want to give it a read during lunch or dinner hours too.

Stop the car

So. Farewell
Apple Car.

Long-running rumorsphere
Obsession, technological
Pipe dream, and inspiration for
A million thinkpieces.

Including this one.

“We’ll see where it takes us.
We’re not really saying
From a product point of view
What we will do.”
That was your catchphrase.

Your development was dubbed
Project Titan
And you have now

After a decade, hundreds of hires, and billions spent in R&D, Apple has no car to show for its trouble. And that must qualify, of course, as a failure.

With Tesla experiencing issues with reliability (and ), there’s patently room in the market for an electrical car made by a reputable tech firm that obsesses over the small details and refuses to ship a product until it’s perfect. Paradoxically, indeed, Apple’s reported abandonment of the project highlights many of the qualities it would have brought to the car market. But that ship, to mix my transport metaphors, has sailed.

As the company has repeatedly pointed out, building both the hardware and software for a product is Apple’s special skill and a car designed by Apple engineers and run by Apple software was a mouthwatering proposition. That now won’t happen. But that doesn’t mean Project Titan has been a complete failure. For various reasons, the Apple Car, with an upper-case C, was never very likely to happen. But the Apple car, in the lower-case sense of a marque-agnostic car experience shaped by Apple’s software ecosystem and design methodology, is very much here to stay and is something to be celebrated.

CarPlay, most obviously, already exists and is available across a wide range of automobiles, benefiting a far wider user base than would ever have been able to afford a car actually built in Cupertino. And it’s pretty great, partly because nobody makes a user-friendly interface like Apple, and partly because it means drivers can switch between different makes of car without having to learn from scratch how that particular company likes to structure nested menus. (Personally, I find the CarPlay experience most frustrating in the moments when I drift outside Apple’s interface into my Skoda’s . The contrast is stark.)

And as good as CarPlay is right now, it’s going to get better. CarPlay 2.0 has been in the pipeline for a while now, and proposes to take Apple’s control of your vehicular experience much further: instead of sitting in its neat little box and controlling navigation, music, and a few other minor functions, it will take over the entire front panel, including speed and fuel dials, and handle climate control and more. No longer will I need to worry about the segue from CarPlay to SkodaOS, since it will all be CarPlay. The whole thing sounds great… it’s just a shame that it’s late.

Perhaps this stuff seems superficial, simply a matter of how many touchscreen buttons you need to press to activate your “road trip” playlist. But think about the future. As autonomous cars steadily work their way from science fiction to everyday norms, the issue of safety for passengers (and pedestrians, cyclists, and so on) will be paramount. Which company would you rather trust to make life-or-death decisions on your behalf: the one which defied the FBI to protect iPhone users, or the one run by Elon Musk?


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And with that, we’re done for this week’s Apple Breakfast. If you’d like to get regular roundups, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Facebook, , or Twitter for discussion of breaking Apple news stories. See you next Monday, and stay Appley.

Apple Inc

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