Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Apple’s Car Venture Begins with CarPlay And Will End With Innovation and Quality

The question though is when will Apple unveil its own car effort and what that will do to the market. We recently bought a Nissan Ariya and offered to give our Fisker Ocean reservation to a friend. I think we are are done with getting a new car for a while. Only Apple Car will get me trade in my current car sooner than I normally would. 

Prior to the Ariya, I was driving a 2014 Lexus RX330 - its transmission finally gave out. It did not have a lot of mileage (less than 180,000 miles) but it is what it is. The timing on the Ariya was fortuitious. I had made the reservation more than a year ago. The RX330 gave out and the Nissan dealership in Glendale, California called me a month later to let me know my Ariya is here. 

One of the reasons I held onto the RX330 longer than I would have like is because I was hoping to that Apple would have at least announce that they were getting into the market. But now, it does not look like an electric vehicle from Apple will be coming any time soon. And Apple does not have to rush given the state of the market right now.

I had been using CarPlay when I drive my wife’s car and I did not think much of it. It was like using an earlier version of iPhone OS when iOS was called that and it was limited in the early days. That’s what CarPlay feels like to me. As I use it more and more, I started to enjoy it and prefer it over the infotainment systems of the cars we have. And I have yet to hear other iPhone users I know who opt for the default manufacturer’s system when CarPlay is available. 

In fact, having CarPlay support in cars is one of the most sought after features and a major factor for buyers in deciding what cars to get. This is why it is perplexing that GM recently announced that they would do away with CarPlay support in new EV offerings. Telsa and Rivian both do not offer CarPlay but then again, GM is no Tesla or Rivian and, as far as I know, does not have anything close to the brand loyalty both if it’s competitors or Apple have. While I do not now if people will shy away from GM EV because of it, I would not be surprise if GM later reverses this foolish decision when people opt to by EV from its competitors.

For Apple, CarPlay is their foot in the auto industry regardless of when its own car will come out. More importantly, hundreds of thousands if not millions of iPhone users are using CarPlay will slide easily into Apple Car experience.

Furthermore, it looks like Apple is going full steam ahead with the whole auto experience - in 2023 (more likely 2024), some new vehicles will support the new CarPlay experience - think of it as iOS taking over your 2024 cars. That will give us a better experience of what it would be like to be driving an Apple car.

More than the whole driving experience with the current or new CarPlay, Apple will have to release its own car to give its Apple drivers the whole experience. Just like people who buy high end models from Mercedes or BMW, it is not simply one factor or another that makes the driver experience different for someone who buys a cheapy EV (that’s me) and someone who buys a $100,000 EV. 

It’s how quiet the cabin in, who smooth the ride feels, the comfort (and other first world amenities), and the sounds. It’s how it handles on the road, acceleration, turning, etc. For Apple, it will attempt to offer all those at a reasonable price, reasonably higher price but certainly not out of this world high. Apple will be paying particular attention to the design of every aspect of the car and even innovate where it see areas that benefit drivers in ways that we did not know we wanted before. New safety features will be paramount in addition to making sure the handling feels like you are in a premium EV - not just because you pay top dollars for the Apple car. I would not be surprised if it only offers AWD. 

Sure, Apple can get may of its fans to fork over more than $100,000 for the Apple car. I am sure once you add in all the options, it could be well north of $100K but Apple will be sure to offer a range for the average Apple consumer as well. This will be done in such a way that the whole range of Apple car drivers will get to experience its innovation and quality.

I would love to speculate as to when Apple will release just such an EV. That’s for another time. I do think it’s coming and there is no need for Apple to rush to the market just yet. 

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