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»Learn, create, work, play, share, and stay healthy«

Thoughts on Apple Car, Part 143

Michael Schmidt
Apr 6 · 6 min read

In his welcome notes of September 2019’s event, Tim Cook reiterated Apple’s purpose:

We’ve always believed that by giving people wonderful tools, you enable them to do wonderful things.

At Apple, we put the customer at the center of everything that we do.

With products and technologies that are designed in the service of humanity.

Innovations that enrich people’s lives to help them learn, create, work, play, share, and stay healthy.

Through the deep integration of hardware, software, and services, these products empower people to do incredible things every day.

This has been one of the more tangible mission statements since introducing the Cook Doctrine a few years ago. The focus on the six given purposes of Apple products is new:

  • Learn
  • Create
  • Work
  • Play
  • Share
  • Stay healthy

They make me question my previous belief that I cracked the main use cases of Apple Car:

I expected the car to focus on

  1. work
  2. work out
  3. hang out

and put together a rendering of what that could look like:

And it may still be the case. However, Apple products have lately covered a much larger set of use cases than just one or three.

Looking at what developers are doing, it certainly is more than just three scenarios. Some time ago, I argued Apple would ask them to focus on three:

So, let’s rethink and challenge my previous conclusion.

Apple Car’s Product Purpose

As a starting point, we’ll take Tim Cook’s list and compare it to mine:

  • Learn
  • Create
  • Work
  • Play
  • Share
  • Stay healthy

I have covered three of them, four if you count create as work. Play is my hang out, stay healthy my work out.

That leaves learn and share.

How can Apple Car enhance learning & education?

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For decades, education has been one of Apple’ most important market segments. Many consumers and Apple executives had their first encounter with one of the company’s products in school or university.

So, it makes sense to look at Apple Car through the lens of learning and education, and its particularly mobile or off-campus scenarios.

Home schooling

This way of teaching has gained a lot of attention during the Coronavirus epidemic, because people weren’t ready to switch to home schooling for all students. Parents weren’t ready, the home computing setup wasn’t ready, and students weren’t sure where to put their energy.

Of course, home schooling isn’t just a crisis phenomenon – in fact what has been around for centuries just got a new name. Private tutors, parents teaching their children, or learning in a family class together with siblings of different age – many of those practices have their positives. People in the entertainment industry are used to teaching on tour, and there are many others.

Apple Car could apply the definition of home education, which is basically education of children anywhere but at school, turning it into a mobile endeavour. So many hours in the day of a typical adult in industrialized countries are spent commuting, they can be used for learning something. Not just by audiobooks or podcasts, but from actual teachers, coaches or trainers.

Children can save two hours from their school day and instead have a private class on their way. Learning an instrument for instance requires privates classes anyway.

So, there are aspects to what an autonomous car could do that I previously haven’t written about. Let’s what else can be done in education.

Field trips

This is a no-brainer. Field trips are the stereotypical memory that everyone talks about when the conversation starter is school activities, but on the go. Google field trip and in 99% of all images you will see the yellow school bus. What’s iconic in the US and other American regions, has equivalents all over the world.

Teachers and schools are promoting field trips because they are a great way to showcase what extra stuff the school is doing along the curriculum. There also seems to be a scientific reason for having more field trips: Students learn better.

Eventually, Apple Car may be too small for a regular class to go on a field trip. But for smaller groups, it can certainly enhance the learning experience with additional features on the way and back.

Small groups

Speaking of small groups, it turns out they have proven to be one of the best learning environments you can get. Three to six people count as the ideal group size for that.

Just the number that would fit into Apple Car. Imagine a private tutor taking select students on a field trip. Sure, it’s costly and less efficient than fitting larger groups in one bus for the trip, but learning is more effective that way. So effective, Harvard even has a floor plan with recommended seating arrangements in its small group learning guide.

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All in all, Apple Car can enhance the learning experience.

How can Apple Car enhance sharing with others?

The last check box we need to tick is sharing. Tim Cook added this to his purpose list for Apple products in September, so we need to consider it.

A company like Facebook would understand sharing as the concept of sending content from one person to another. However, Apple is more about sharing an experience in the moment. It’s what FaceTime is about – and this will certainly be a core feature of Apple Car, with a controlled audio setup inside the vehicle, as well as big AR screens to show you the dozens of people in group video call.

AR in general will be an enormous source of shared experiences. From window AR to in-car AR games, we are just starting to grasp what this technology can offer – and I believe Apple Car will be Apple’s best AR-born product.

Eventually, this may come down to this: Share the journey not the destination. When two people meet today, they usually have to go and get closer in order to meet. In the future the meeting and the journey may overlap, starting to hang out on FaceTime when in the car to the meeting location, then hopping in the same car, going somewhere else, and finally splitting and finishing the conversation on video again.

Thoughts on Apple Car

Conceptualizations on the future car, a.o.

Michael Schmidt

Written by

Director Consulting at Virtual Identity. I spent a decade on automotive brands in digital, and blog about brand strategy, #ubx and #AppleCar / #ProjectTitan.

Thoughts on Apple Car

Conceptualizations on the future car, a.o. shared by former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée, Apple/Google/Dropbox designer Ryhan Hassan, Lyft and Snap VC investor Alex Giannikoulis, Wristly founder Bernard Desarnauts, and CaminaLab/Drivania/Shotl founder Gerard Martret.

Michael Schmidt

Written by

Director Consulting at Virtual Identity. I spent a decade on automotive brands in digital, and blog about brand strategy, #ubx and #AppleCar / #ProjectTitan.

Thoughts on Apple Car

Conceptualizations on the future car, a.o. shared by former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée, Apple/Google/Dropbox designer Ryhan Hassan, Lyft and Snap VC investor Alex Giannikoulis, Wristly founder Bernard Desarnauts, and CaminaLab/Drivania/Shotl founder Gerard Martret.

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