Yes We Van.

Thoughts on Apple Car, Part 129

Last week saw a new report, this time from Germany, about Apple pursuing a design direction resembling what we know as a van:

Having discussed the future automobile being a smart room on smart wheels, my reaction to that headline was: Of course.

If you look back at the hints we got over the last years on what Apple might be working on, it becomes clear that a Jony-designed vehicle would have a distinct set of priorities:

  1. Being accessible by building bridges to the well-known.
  2. Focusing on the customer experience, nothing else.
  3. Cracking down on conventional wisdom of the industry.

Let’s look at the three:


Building bridges to the well-known.

Like iPhone was nothing like a phone, but still called phone, Apple would like to gain similar acceptance to something as groundbreaking as autonomous cars.

People will refer to Apple Cars as vans, in order to understand them better. It’s a known concept and helps to open to the new.


Focus on the customer experience.

A van is the most user-friendly car there is. No matter whether a family or a single person is using a van, they experience comfort, roomyness, and the cozy feeling of a living room couch.

Here are the cars the Apple ID team is influenced by:

Another part of the van experience is a much easier entry and exit than in all other cars. The way the doors are designed and open up makes a whole difference in the everyday use of a car.

Look at Apple’s recent doors:


Challenge conventional wisdom.

Everybody knows what a van looks like, how it behaves, how it works. Everyone knows how tall or wide a car usually is. We all know how to open the door to enter a car.

Apple won’t follow that. What they are trying to do is create a new set of rules for the industry, much like they did with dozens of other industries.

Let’s take an outside look, one at the current auto industry, as it is today.


This is how people inside the industry think the future car looks like. Take the three principles above, and you’ll find that none of them have been overcome in such a design.

When next week the auto show in Geneva will kick off, we will see a new ramp-up of „concept cars“ that fail to conceptualize a consequential future car.

We will also not see a van. That would be too old-fashioned. Except that fashion seasons rhyme over time, and nobody understands that better than the team who created the modern wrist watch.