"There is… one more thing." When the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs used to coolly deliver those words on stage at Apple's launch events, you'd know something special was about to happen.
After Jobs' passing in 2011, Tim Cook took over the hosting duties, and has supplied his fair share of 'One More Thing' moments, including the Apple Watch in 2014, Apple Music in 2015 and iPhone X in 2017.
But since that iPhone X moment five years ago we've been waiting patiently for another industry-defining 'One More Thing' from the Cupertino-based brand. Could the Apple March Event supply the next one? Perhaps – but it's unlikely to be the 'Thing' I really want.
- Follow along live: Apple March Event live blog
My colleague Lance Ulanoff has already delved into the 'Peek Performance' invite and teaser video to analyze what may be in store for us at the Apple March event, and it's something that's been rumored for a while.
It's a reasonable assumption, as in recent years Apple has gone big with on-stage AR demos, especially involving the iPhone and iPad – but I continue to struggle to see how or where the technology is going to appeal to the general public, other than as an occasional gimmick (like Snapchat filters), or as a niche tool – for example to measure the depth of snowfall so that you can show off to friends and colleagues overseas.
There are certainly more practical use cases for business and industry, but these don't excite me – and AR as a whole still doesn't excite me at a raw, 'holy cow this is cool', level. So I'm struggling to get excited about the long-rumored Apple Glasses.
What Apple really needs to do is rock an established industry. Turn it on its head, make people sit up and think ‘how is that even possible?’ And I believe it can do that in a different space entirely. It's time for Apple to show its hand in the world of electric vehicles (EVs).
Driving it home
Apple never likes to rush into a new technology field; it prefers to watch from the sidelines and see what others are doing in a space, and then sweep in with its own seamlessly slick solution which, more often than not, wins the hearts of millions.
Rumors of an Apple Car have been circulating for almost as long as rumors about Apple Glasses, and an EV from the company has the potential to blow the bloody doors off any previous 'One More Thing' moment.
Tesla has been making EVs for 10 years now, and every major automotive manufacturer in the world is working on electrification, with many aiming to go fully electric with new vehicles within the next 10-15 years.
While automotive technology does take longer to develop than mobile phones or PCs, 2022 would be a good time for Apple to stick its iron in the fire.
Electric vehicles are presenting automakers with an almost blank slate. They're no longer confined by the conventions dictated by internal combustion engines, and this is enabling them to re-imagine the whole idea of the car, from the design to the increasingly prominent technology.
The latest EVs are coming hyper-connected, with 5G, Wi-Fi 6 and the latest Bluetooth standards ensuring they're always online. They can speak to our homes, to our phones, to other vehicles and, in the near future, will even be able to communicate with the infrastructure around them, such as traffic lights and weather stations.
There's clear overlap between these features and Apple's strengths, and that's before we've even considered infotainment. Both the number of screens in electric cars, and the size of those screens, are growing rapidly, with touch displays, voice assistants and AI determining the best route, roads, drive modes and more for drivers.
There are obvious integration wins in the car for Apple, such as mounts for iPads and iPhones to enable front passenger and rear-seat occupants to enjoy content, while also being able to connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot provided by the vehicle.
Why stop there?
But why stop there? We have iOS, we have watchOS, we have iPadOS and even tvOS – now it's time for Apple to give us carOS. Sound foundations for this have already been laid with Apple Carplay, but there's so much more Apple could bring to the table.
As for what the rumored Apple Car actually looks like, or could offer, that's still anyone's guess. It'll almost certainly be an EV, but there are a number of leaks suggesting that it may also be a fully autonomous vehicle, after Apple purchased an autonomous vehicle startup and hired a 'Radar Test Engineer'.
Meanwhile, various auto-related patents filed by Apple have been spotted, including one that would see a car window alter its opacity, and another suggesting that passengers may be able to wear VR headsets to view the outside world. It’s all a little bit bizarre.
The arrival of an Apple Car would be exciting, relevant and timely, and would be the perfect convergence of Apple's superb existing technology with a market that's on the cusp of major transformation.
If the Apple Car is the company's 'One More Thing' this year, it'll be the biggest Thing Apple has announced in years.
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John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.