6 Considerations Apple Would Make to Build an Apple Car. Innovation in the automotive industry in the last 100 or so years in the United States has been introduced like ketchup dribbling out of an almost empty bottle. In 1879, Benz invented an internal combustion engine fueled by gasoline. Ford created manufacturing innovations that made automobiles affordable, competitive and profitable. Toyota revolutionized the way we look at miles per gallon for measuring performance of cars when they introduced hybrid. Tesla proved that you can drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco in an electric car in one charge or that speed performance of electric cars too can be measured by how fast they accelerate from zero to 60 seconds. And now the buzz is about self-driving cars, which I believe will happen in the next 5 years. So what’s next? So is the Apple Car next?
Apple, in the last 14 years, has disrupted many industries from music to steel, glass, and mobile devices. Steve Jobs over 10 years ago so cleverly changed Apple from “a computer company” to “a mobile devices company.” For many reasons Apple seems to be the popular candidate to disrupt the automotive industry involving self-driving cars. Many pundits have made some serious speculations about an Apple car.
So what can Apple do? How will Apple come up with an Apple Car? To answer that question, I speculate an innovation process that Apple is likely to adopt to come up with an Apple car that will seriously disrupt the automotive industry.
Self evaluation – Why Us?
- Does Apple have the right people? If not, can we hire them in time?
- Does it have the right experiences; building products, creating services. Experience with process of designing, process of manufacturing, or working with materials such as glass, steel, aluminum?
- Does it have and/or can we acquire the right technology; old, new, existing, retired?
- Does it makes sense for Apple to build a car?
- Will it de-focus Apple from or complement it’s core business or it’s philosophy?
What’s Wrong with the Automotive Industry?
- Product choices (too many)
- Commoditized market with very little or no differentiations
- Buying process (dealers, inefficiencies, cost)
- Process and experience of getting a car serviced
- Inefficiencies in manufacturing process and in supply chain
What’s Wrong with cars today?
- Customer experience (of driving the car or using the car)
- Design of the car (inside, outside, the engine, parts we will never ever see)
- Most cars are boring.
- Driving is not exciting in a boring car.
- Interface is rigid and not dynamic.
- The dashboard is boring. It is hard plastic / hard wired – kind of like how old mobile phones were with those plastic buttons and keyboards.
- Price-value is very high. A decent car is over $30k
- People use only 30% of the features that come with the car.
What the customers may need or want from their cars in 10 years?
Remember, Apple does not conduct market research in the traditional way. Meaning Apple will never ask customers directly what they want in a product. Kind of like we never knew we wanted an iPAD and now we do everything on them. Therefore Apple will do its magic and make us realize the features we always wanted in our cars but didn’t know it. It’s because we don’t know what we don’t know. Is it self-driving cars? Is it cars with virtual reality windshield? Is it cars with 5 tires? Perhaps its as simple as my car’s operating system integrated with Apple iCal so it knows where to take me for my next appointment. In all the steps in the process for creating disruptive innovations, understanding and deciding what features to put in an Apple car would take the most time.
When is the right time to introduce Apple Car?
The answer is not just what time of the year or what year to launch Apple car based on what’s happening with the rest of the Apple product lines or innovations, it will also have to depend upon what’s happening in the automotive industry, competitive moves, wall street, politics, price of gas and many other factors.
What is Apple’s marketing strategy and marketing plan going to be?
This would be a brand new space for Apple but Apples knows a thing or two about product marketing and branding. Additional factors Apple would have to consider are partnerships, manufacturing, supply chain, logistics (which is Tim Cook’s area of expertise), placement and availability, alternative ways to test drive and purchase an Apple car other than traditional dealer model, and government regulations to name a few.
The next three to five years will be very interesting to watch as Apple develops it’s concept car, to watch the reactions from the automotive industry, and the introduction of self-driving cars. The question remains, will there be an Apple car?
Interested to read more about Apple Car?
- Top 10 questions Apple will ask while designing an Apple Car
- Top 12 Key feature categories of an Apple Car