What’s the killer app of Apple Car?

Thoughts on Apple car, Part 2

Michael Schmidt
Dec 20, 2015 · 5 min read

We need to get from A to B, and back.

We are somewhere, and need to get elsewhere, and back – or somewhere else. Between those steps we may stay at one place for some time, or we might get to a different place by other means of transportation, e.g. someone taking us, or walking.

What do we need to get from A to B?

Nothing. Nobody.

Nothing except us, our feet, our energy. We can walk. The longer the way, the longer it will take us to get there. But we can go anywhere. It may be dangerous at times, e.g. walking over a pass, or crossing a river or lake; but we can go to almost any place by ourselves.

It takes time, but we can go anywhere. And we can learn on the way, and meet people.

But we don’t need other people on our way, necessarily. We can go ourselves, indivually, independently.

We only need help if we need to go faster, or go somewhere we can not get to ourselves without risking our lives.

What do we need to get somewhere faster?

Something that has more energy than us. Preferably an energy that can be renewed, just like our own energy is renewed by rest and food. We now have electric transportation, whose energy can be renewed more sustainably than the previous generation of transportation.

So, to go faster, we have bicycles, trains, cars, ships and planes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob_GX50Za6c

Bicycles give us a much faster way to go somewhere, and we can take more with us than by carrying it. With bicycles, we still use our own renewable energy, and we can go individually, independently. As it uses most of our body, we can not do much else while cycling.

Trains, ships and planes take us much much faster, and we can take a lot more with us; but they use so much more energy than we can renew. They also don’t allow us to go individually or independently, because we need to align with other people who have the same way at the same time. However, we can do other things while travelling, because someone else is taking us and we do not need to concentrate on navigating. We can sit and stand up, walk around. We need to trust the person taking us, that we will arrive safely and in time.

One more thing is different to bicycles: Trains, ships and planes travel to our destination, even if we don’t. Because they are dependent on many people travelling at the same time to the same place, they will do so even if we don’t go. Bicycles will stay where we put them if we don’t go.

This also means that trains, ships and planes are able to be boarded from different places – places I haven’t gone with them on my own. Bicycles can’t do that: I need to take my bicycle to where I go, and it will stay there until I take it somewhere else again. Renting a bicycle only solves one part of the problem: I take my bike, rent another one, but my bike is still there and will need to pick it up later. It doesn’t follow me.

Cars take us faster as well, and we can take things with us, depending on the size of the car. They used to depend on unrenewable energy, but we solves this with electrification. They allow us to go individually and independently – something we can only achieve by walking or cycling. They use paths many other people use – so cars are less individual than walking, but euqal to cycling – but all those people do not have to go at the same time. However, cars need all our attention – we can not do anything else while driving. Similar to the bicycle, our hands and feet need to steer the vehicle, and our eyes need to look into the driving direction or in mirrors to navigate the surroundings and detect potential danger. We can therefor not stand up or walk around, but need to sit and drive all the time. We trust ourselves that we will arrive safely and in time.

How will cars change, in order to be the best transportation possible; and better than all of the options above?

  • They will need to allow us to do something else while driving.
  • They will need to allow us to stand up and walk around.
  • They will need to allow us to learn and meet people while on the go.
  • They will need to be trustworthy that we will arrive safely and on time.
  • And they will need to be able to come to places I haven’t put them myself.

So the car of the future will be:

  • A room where I can stand, sit and walk around in.
  • A room where I can learn, view outside, work on the computer, talk to people on the phone and on video; and a room large enough I can invite people in.
  • A car I can trust to do the driving for me.
  • A car that will follow me to places I am and come pick me up.

The car of the future will not be „my“ car – meaning it will not always be the same car. It will be shared with others, so the car I drove to A can take someone else to B, and I can take another one from C to D.

That’s why Apple will only introduce one model.

They car of the future will however change to my needs when I enter it. It will look different and behave different – just like my iPhone today looks and behaves differently than others.

It will be a room with windows, where I can live in, while going from A to B.


Also read parts one, three, four, and five.

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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