Apple has always been one of the most admired tech companies in the world because of its impeccable quality standards and its passion for perfection. It has always commanded a premium and a mad frenzy normally ensues its product launches. People queue up for hours just to be the 1st one to get hold of new Apple devices. For a company which has been continuously been profitable over the years and has been the most valued company in the world consistently, Apple has been striking gold in whatever category it expands to.
Apple’s entry to the autonomous cars market would mean a big fillip to the industry. It will be a big validation that the existing players are on the right track and doing something which has a future. There have been a lot of companies which already are making autonomous cars, most notably Tesla, Faraday Future, Google. Other high profile traditional car companies have joined the bandwagon too fearing being left out of the opportunity that seems like the future of automobile industry.
Apple has been rumored to delve into at automobile industry since last 2-3 years but they were all rumors and no official statement was ever released. That changed recently with Apple sending a letter to NHTSA (The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) with an affirmation to the testing of autonomous cars. There is a detailed article covering a lot of signs which led people to believe Apple was seriously making an autonomous car and other related stuff at Macworld. From hiring automobile industry experts to buying car related domains to competition welcoming Apple to the automobile industry, there were a lot of signs that tech blogs and newspapers covering technology did not miss.
So now that it’s official in some sense what can Apple’s entry do to the industry? How will it affect the autonomous cars market. Let’s look at some of the aspects
Apple has always been focused on making great quality products. They are believed to be obsessed with it and it’s easy to find that translated in their products by their users. People love Apple computers and phones and defend the company to the level of fanboyism. This has been achieved because of their hard work for decades and it’s not limited to making great products but having great support, customer service and overall DNA of the company. When Apple enters in an industry or product category, it redefines the market and sets new standards for quality and customer expectations. People suddenly expect their products to perform a lot better and last longer when they buy something made by Apple. That’s one of the bigger reasons Apple commands such a premium for all of its products. In order to compete with Apple, every other manufacturer will need to up its ante and make sure they match Apple’s standards.
With Apple’s entry the autonomous car industry will have to make sure they just get the most refined, most well performing products in the market or else they won’t be able to compete.
Industry Being Mainstream
Another great thing about Apple is the power to make products and services mainstream. When Apple does something, everyone takes notice and people suddenly wake up to something which already existed but people never paid attention to. It’s the sheer power of reach and strong brand recall in the consumer’s minds that Apple has over the years, that at times the product category is known by the name of Apple products rather than category names. iPods became synonymous to MP3 players, iPhone to a flagship smartphone and Apple watch to smartwatches and that has been the case with every Apple product more or less. We expect Apple to bring in the same level of competition to the industry and overall benefit customers who wish to buy an autonomous car. Not to mention that average person will be finally aware of the existence of self driving vehicles because Apple is making one. Every new development about the company is in the minds of people and they get excited about owning an Apple product.
It’s not that the autonomous cars available today are bad or not great at offering the facilities that one should expect but the legacy of Apple as a company making great products is expected to continue to cars. Apple would also have a unique advantage in designing the car because it can tightly integrate its ecosystem in the car and make using iPhones, iPad or even Macbooks in the car safer and seamless. The fact that Apple is predominantly a tech company and with cars becoming the next frontier for technology, it seems like a logical extension for Apple. Also, if Apple wants to differentiate itself and sell its own cars then it will have to make sure they have some sort of value addition than what competitors are offering. The existing autonomous cars have a great deal of technology and als look great. Apple has been obsessed with designing its products and as such we can expect cars which look great besides being safer to drive.
Once Apple goes full steam with its autonomous car project, every other company will get in an overdrive mode and start adding the differentiating factor. These additional features which could be an ecosystem in itself or any other factor, will be a huge deciding factor to the ultimate purchase decision once the customer is out to get a self driving car. In a few years the autonomous car market will be ready for prime time and will be mainstream where the technology would be advanced enough to make autonomous cars a normal sight on the roads.
Overall development of automobile industry, there are a lot of companies would like to have the “early mover advantage” in the market . Just like the Moore’s law of technology, the pace of the cars becoming smarter and the rate at which the prices would go south would have a linear relationship. Technology used in these cars would become more affordable as their sales increase and more people would be able to afford them. The competition between different companies would also result in price reductions. Less prices, faster rollouts and refined products all seem like a recipe for success.
Demand of Skilled Professionals in Automobile industry
There has been already poaching and an increased demand of the automobile experts in the industry with a focus on autonomous vehicles. Companies like Uber, Google, Apple have jumped in and as such traditional automakers have to retain their talent or hire newer ones. The competition is unexpected and these tech companies are exploring a new vertical which is not their core competency. All of this has led to the automobile engineer, designers and more technically skilled persons to be in shortage. The demand will increase over the years as more companies try their luck at the burgeoning market.
Use of AI
The autonomous cars have a lot of technology incorporated in them and there is a massive use of AI. They look great, they have a lot of tech features and even have software and firmware updates. Cars are no longer just automobiles which serve as a means of transportation. They have a UX perspective where design, technology and even AI play a very important role. The most important feature of autonomous is the Ai which has to constantly learn and get better to avoid any mishaps. Apple has acquired the company behind Siri and has constantly improved it over the years incorporating it in the iOS both on phones and computers so they have been accustomed to the tech and know how to make it better over time. This is another area which will be the defining feature of Apple’s cars.
The official confirmation from Apple about its autonomous cars efforts has just come in and the industry is already excited about the possibilities. The competition is welcoming the tech giant and the early adopters are excited to see Apple dipping its toes in the hitherto uncharted territory. Needless to say that Apple will have worked out the logistics of this leap very well in advance and sees a huge opportunity to dedicate resources to this new project.
The possibilities of AI implementation to our lives is already evident in all the spheres right from digital assistants on our phones, to IoT and connected devices and the Ai is moving to automobiles next. Apple getting in the game will just raise the stakes and push industry forward sooner than expected. We are sure it’s great news for the industry and everyone interested in the smart car industry as competition is good and that too when it comes from a company which is not a traditional automaker. Apple’s take on autonomous cars should add new dimensions and lead to some innovative features for the industry.
Patel Nasrullah is a co-founder at one of the best mobile app development company India, Peerbits. He devotes his time in inspiring young leaders to take the leap of faith. With the experience of 10 years in Web and App development, he now gives full attention to the enterprise by offering mobility solutions about the strategic planning and execution.