Are they, Aren't they - Will they, Won't they - Should they, Shouldn't they...is it all just hear say?
Like many people who know they shouldn't succumb to gossip and fluff with such things I have become increasingly sucked into the speculation.
Are Apple planning on entering the auto business?
Or a better question might be - are Apple planning on entering the mobility business?
My sense is yes they are - but not yet. It will take a few more years...
I believe there are a number of strands to it all - increasingly gathering together. Lukas Neckermann neatly collated this in his recent book 'The Mobility Revolution'. As with much in life - timing is the essence of it all, and the pioneers are easy to recognise - they are the ones with arrows through the hat - or various other parts of the anatomy!
For my sins I have worked in a couple of them...Virgin Cars in 2000, and Modec in 2007. Both businesses had a great proposition but both failed in part because they got the timing wrong. If you'd like to know a bit more about either of these feel free to drop me a note sometime!However, Apple have too many bright minds shining on the impending mobility revolution to get either the timing or proposition wrong.
We've all read about the connected car - the driverless car - battery breakthroughs - the renewable energy revolution - loan not own business models - and the challenge of the densely populated urban landscape. These are the core strands that will be wired together by the Cupertino Clan. I'm convinced Apple have meticulously identified their prospective market - and are establishing the building blocks for it with each passing day.
They have a watching brief on a raft of R&D and start-up propositions - many of which have great merit but with virtues that are highly likely to be leapfrogged within months or years. Indeed, this is part of the conundrum for many players and investors in the imminent 'new world'...
So the challenge is predicting and acting upon ' The Goldilocks Moment'
I'm sure it would be of little surprise to you that I'm suggesting the Apple proposition will be an electric, remotely controlled, connected pod. Urban landscapes work best with mass transit of course - and we are increasingly seeing the full electrification of that sector develop. However, as we all cram closer together in the urban world we will likely crave (and be happy to pay for) some private personal space as we are out and about.
On reflection, working within Ricardo for a few years tempered my child-like zeal for electric vehicles everywhere for everyone right now! - by balancing that principal with the practical application of it all - both technical and commercial. It didn't dilute my passion - but it did help me understand that we need to pave the way for it all with a robust plan that is both pragmatic and intelligent.
With that high global demand for technical innovation and sound strategic consultancy it is perhaps unsurprising to see their share price rocketing in recent times...
In regard to state-of-the-art prospective energy storage an excellent summary of that in the battery field can be found here and here - delighted to note I know a few of the folk involved!
To conclude, I am very proud to be a small part of the rEVolution, I'm very proud to have a few arrows through my hat, and I'm very excited to be around as companies like Tesla, BMW, Renault, Nissan, and even the much maligned and sadly now defunct Better Place re-route our journey in order that we arrive safer at our destination.
And the contrarian in me admires the people that upset the Apple Car(t)...