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What would an free Apple Car mean for Tesla?

I’m not sure what podcasts Elon Musk listens to. But I hope he caught Kara Swisher’s “Sway” today, because it absolutely apropos him.

Apple CEO Tim Cook joined Swisher and the two discussed, among other things, the abstruse Apple Car.

Details are scarce and I’ll be right up front: Cook didn’t give away annihilation big or make any firm statements. But he did dance around the topic enough to leave a few impressions behind.

For starters, speaking about the Apple Car, Cook told Swisher:

The freedom itself is a core technology, in my view. If you sort of step back, the car, in a lot of ways, is a robot. An free car is a robot. And so there’s lots of things you can do with autonomy. And we’ll see what Apple does.

We already doubtable the Apple Car would be an free or semi-autonomous vehicle, but it’s always nice to hear Cook affirm that. Unfortunately when he talks about how you can “do a lot of things with autonomy” it muddies things back up again. The aggregation still hasn’t appear if the Apple Car is going to be a commuter vehicle, a commitment van,  a robo-taxi or shuttle service, or article else entirely.

Luckily Cook alone addition juicy tidbit – though it may have been unintentional. He brought up Elon Musk and, if you ask me, that tells us who he thinks the antagonism is: Tesla.

Here’s the quote:

I’ve never spoken to Elon, although I have great account and account for the aggregation he’s built. I think Tesla has done an astonishing job of not only establishing the lead, but befitting the lead for such a long period of time in the EV space. So I have great acknowledgment for them.

Is it just me or does that sound like the kind of thing Apple could have said to the world’s top MP3 player architect a year or two before it appear the iPod?

On the one hand, it’s hard to brainstorm a agent that surpasses Tesla’s in form and function. We don’t need to go any faster than they can go, they’re adorable gorgeous, and they’re almost bargain to acquirement while being environmentally friendly.

But, on the other, Tesla hasn’t really done much in the way of autonomy. It’s almost amusing that the aggregation calls its software “Autopilot” and “Full Self Driving” when you accede that both crave an alert driver behind the wheel at all times.

It’s very easy to brainstorm Apple’s AI team coming up with a artefact that puts Tesla’s paltry free offerings to shame – don’t forget that Ian Goodfellow’s at Cupertino now.

And, realistically, Apple doesn’t have to beat Tesla at making an EV. In fact, it’s likely Apple won’t even make its own cartage at first. I’d wager the company’s still advancing addition architect to work with after a appear Hyundai-Kia deal fell through.

It just needs to make good on the promises Tesla’s failed to by giving people a car that safely drives itself or alms a robo-taxi account to the accepted public.

In a winner-takes-all battle for the driverless future, who would you put your money on?

Published April 5, 2021 — 23:55 UTC

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