Why the Real Competitor to Tesla Will Be Apple’s Smart Car Project – Titan Software
While 2020 is impressive with its list of EV competitors going public, SPACs, and the ramping up of Chinese EV competitors as well, the future of the car has always been about software.
In this respect Waymo One, Baidu’s Apollo, Tesla’s software and Apple’s Project Titan are the moon-shot competitors.
If Tesla’s success has been accelerated by Robinhood day traders in cash-strapped pandemic times, its approach to autonomous vehicles is often criticized by analysts. Its true rival as a business model is most likely to come from Apple.
According to MacRumours and many other sources, we know that hundreds of Apple employees were once rumored to be working on an electric car. Starting in 2014, Apple began working on “Project Titan,” with upwards of 1,000 employees working on developing an electric vehicle at a secret location near its Cupertino headquarters. But the project’s focus has shifted to developing self-driving car software instead of an actual car.
- Amazon acquired Zoox and will likely one day acquire Rivian to compete with Tesla.
- Tesla may not achieve truly level 5 autonomous vehicles as soon as Elon Musk promises.
- Project Titan however will allow for the deepest integration of software, Apple’s platform moat and the future of the smart car.
With all due respect to GM Cruise and other potential competitors, the best smart car company will be more like a software company and less like a manufacturing company (as Tesla really is today). That all favors Apple and its secretive Project Titan.
Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also believes (as he stated back in 2018) that Apple is still working on an Apple car that will launch between 2023 and 2025.
Project Titan Is Not Dead in 2020
Apple’s Project Titan is the smoking gun of Apple’s innovation plan for the 2020s. While Tesla’s rise as an EV maker has been impressive, it will be hard for it to compete against Apple in terms of software because of Apple’s talent, experience and deeper pockets.
As of April 2020 Apple had at least $192.8 billion on hand. Tesla has only been profitable during the last four quarters and just barely at that. Even as a first mover Tesla will have incredible competition from all sides. Apple on the other hand doesn’t have to worry about much competition in the software integration of the future of the smart car.
I’m not alone in this thinking. Kuo believes the car will be Apple’s “next star product” with Apple able to offer “better integration of hardware, software and services” than potential competitors in the automotive market, with Apple-designed chips manufactured by TSMC.
Apple is likely to be one of the surprise winners of the smart car race and the future of vehicles as a major data center of the future. We won’t own cars in the future. They will be part of our on-demand service industry. They will be fully autonomous by around 2032.
That’s a lot longer than we thought it would take, back in 2019. While Waymo One and Tesla are impressive in their potential in autonomy, the real winners in the future are likely to be Apple and MobileEye, bought by Intel and used by the Tesla of China, Nio.
Tesla’s stock had a recent high on July 23rd, 2020 of $1667, which is about what its earnings could be 15 years from now. But of course that is highly speculative.
If Apple is the present and Tesla is the future, what if in the future Apple is the present and Tesla is the past? Stranger things have happened.