News of a potential “Apple car’’ has whipped some corners of the Internet into a frenzy. But before we all lose our heads, let’s take a look at where exactly the news came from and how trustworthy it is.
Apple has not released a press release or made a statement regarding the rumor. In fact, the interest of news organizations was sparked by a mysterious minivan.
On February 3, Claycord, a blog about towns near the Bay Area in Northern California, posted a photo of a van with a weird contraption on the top that had been seen around town. People who tried to question the driver said they were ignored.
The same day, CBS San Francisco reported that, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the car was leased to Apple. A second car with similar gadgets in New York was also leased to Apple, CBS said.
A few days later, Business Insider received an email from an anonymous Apple employee. “This person said Tesla employees were ‘jumping ship’ to work at Apple,’’ Business Insider wrote.
That’s a lot of reporting (albeit anonymously sourced) from major outlets. Should you trust it?
Federico Viticci the editor in chief of MacStories, a daily blog about all things Apple, told Boston.com he isn’t sure what will come of the rumors.
“There are dozens of Apple rumors published online every year and many of them don’t ever come true,’’ Viticci said via email. “Certain Apple rumors have their ‘seasons;’ sometimes they result in real products (see the Apple Watch) and other times they’re just not true or inaccurate.’’
Viticci said he could go on with dozens of other rumors that never came to fruition. He also pointed out that a car is not exactly in Apple’s wheelhouse.
“Making a car for everyone would be a massive undertaking in terms of investment, research, facilities, manufacturing process, and interplay of hardware and software,’’ Viticci said. “Making a car is not like making a smartphone. People drive in cars and carmakers need to meet certain reliability standards.’’
Also, given that Apple is an international company, the cars would need to be able be functional around the world – which would be harder to manufacture in a car than a phone.
According to Bloomberg Business, “For Apple, there’s more potential in teaming up with automakers to produce the electronic operating systems and entertainment equipment for vehicles, similar to how car companies buy headlamps from other suppliers.’’
Still, it’s not out of the realm of possibility, according to Viticci.
“That’s not to say that Apple isn’t the kind of company that likes this sort of challenge,’’ he said. “Cars have become increasingly interconnected with and based on software, and Apple has been experimenting in this field with their Siri Handsfree and, more recently, CarPlay initiatives.’’
Only time will tell if Apple really has anything up their sleeve, but the possibility sure is exciting.
“An Apple car, I imagine, could fundamentally change how we travel and experience places,’’ Viticci said. “But my imagination is limited by the current state of rumors and available technology.’’