News & Views
Is the iCar just around the corner?

Famous for disrupting the music industry, Apple could be about to do the same to the motor trade.

First came the iPod, then the iPhone, then the iPad. And it looks like we could soon be checking out our next vehicle purchase in the Apple Store too. The tech giant reportedly has hundreds of staff working on Titan, an “exploratory” project which may determine whether Apple makes the move from gadgets to gear sticks.

And while motors might not seem like the most natural product category for Apple, there are some who believe a brand famous for “thinking different” is the perfect fit for a sector in desperate need of some shaking up. “The industry is ripe for disruption right now,” says auto journalist Doug Newcomb. “Car makers have been doing the same thing, pretty much, for the last 100 years – selling a chassis with an engine. Cars have not changed that dramatically.”

As innovators work tirelessly to make our workplaces, homes, and every possession “smart”, it should come as no surprise that the motor trade is heading in the same direction. “I see this as an evolution that’s happening,” says Gartner’s Thilo Kozlowski. “We’re entering an era of the software-defined car. It will actually elevate the importance of companies that really understand software well. That’s where Apple comes in.”

Over the weekend, TIME published photos of the kind of vehicle that Apple’s Titan initiative might yield; an adorably dumpy little nipper with a distinct 70s vibe, designed in 1999 by recent Apple hire Marc Newson. Not quite the exercise in sleek elegance that we’ve come to associate with the company, but we’re in uncharted territory here. The truth of the matter is, if Apple ever does launch a smart car (and let’s be honest, the company is known for exploring and then scrapping new ideas), what it will actually look like is anybody’s guess.

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