It appears electric cars are the next big thing Apple is trying to tackle. After gaining dominance in the MP3 player, high-end smartphone and tablet markets, the Cupertino company is now accelerating efforts to build an electric car. WSJ heard from its sources that Apple has spent more than a year investigating the feasibility of an Apple-branded car, and is now committed to the project and setting a target ship date for 2019.
Apple has hired experts in driverless cars, but the people familiar with Apple’s plans said the Cupertino, Calif., company doesn’t currently plan to make its first electric vehicle fully autonomous. That capability is part of the product’s long-term plans, the people familiar with the matter said.
Apple’s commitment is a sign that the company sees an opportunity to become a player in the automotive industry by applying expertise that it has honed in developing iPhones—in areas such as batteries, sensors and hardware-software integration—to the next generation of cars.
The journal points out that the 2019 target is very ambitious for a company that has never made a car, and heard there is skepticism within the car team that the 2019 target is achievable.