Apple, reaching a make or break point in its 10-year effort to build a car, has changed to a less ambitious design with the intent of finally bringing an electric vehicle to market, according to Bloomberg.
After previously envisioning a truly driverless car, the company is now working on an EV with more limited features, according to Bloomberg sources.
But the goal for a release date continues to slip. With the latest changes, the company looks to introduce the car in 2028 at the earliest, roughly two years after a recent projection, the Bloomberg sources said.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment to Bloomberg on the company’s plans.
Since it began taking shape in 2014, the car project — codenamed Titan and T172 — has seen several bosses come and go. There have been multiple rounds of layoffs, key changes in strategy and numerous delays, the report said.
But an entirely new category for the device maker could help reinvigorate sales growth. Apple’s revenue stalled last year as it contended with a maturing smartphone industry and a slowdown in China, its biggest overseas market.
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As of the end of 2022, the Cupertino, California-based company aimed to release a car by 2026 with advanced self-driving features for highways, Bloomberg said.
Now, after finding it wouldn’t be able to complete such a vehicle in the foreseeable future, Apple is developing more basic driver assistance features in line with current Tesla capabilities, according to the Bloomberg sources. The car will use what is known as a Level 2+ system, they said. That’s a downgrade from previously planned Level 4 technology and, before that, even more ambitious aims for a Level 5 system.
Either the company is finally able to deliver this product with reduced expectations or top executives may seriously reconsider the project’s existence, the sources said.
Bloomberg said the company had been meeting with potential manufacturing partners in Europe to discuss the new approach. After the initial car debuts, Apple hopes to release an upgraded system later that supports Level 4 autonomy and additional regions. In that scenario, the vehicle operates totally on its own but still only in certain conditions. Level 5 means the car can drive itself anywhere under any circumstances.
The new strategy was adopted after a series of frenzied meetings which included Apple’s board, project head Kevin Lynch and CEO Tim Cook. The board had pressed Apple management about the car plan for several months during 2023, according to the Bloomberg sources.
Bloomberg said the latest plan for the car is seen internally as a Tesla “me-too product” – one that doesn’t break significant new ground – but the company hopes to make the car stand out with a sleek design, safety systems and unique user interface.