Apple Car is never gonna happen - and the signs are obvious

Apple Car concept image
(Image credit:

Talking about whether or not the Apple Car is ever gonna happen generally makes me grumpy.

Do I want an Apple Car? Yes, probably. I can see myself driving (or being driven by) a sleek silver or all-white electric vehicle, featuring minimal seams, huge interior displays, Siri at my beck and call, and a life-long subscription to Apple Music.

But it’s never gonna happen.

Sure, Apple is apparently, at least according to Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, hiring  (or at least assembling) more Apple Car team members to refocus and maybe relaunch the project.

They’re not there to push the almost decade-old project to a road-ready conclusion.

I agree with long-time Apple analyst and Creative Strategies Chairman Tim Bajarin who told me via email that he thinks this is about narrowing the focus of what has been called Project Titan.

A narrowed car project would not mean Apple is done with cars. Far from it. Apple desperately wants to be in cars- every car, actually. That’s the point of CarPlay. “Apple's real motive is to turn an automobile into another vehicle (pun intended) for delivering services,” Bajarin told me.

He’s right and it still makes far more sense for Apple to build richer services and plugins for existing cars than to try and build its own. Also, as an ecosystem provider, Apple doesn’t want to miss one of the most important segments of your ecosystem - the car.


(Image credit: Apple)

You might point to Apple's growing fleet of autonomous cars it's apparently testing in California. Surely, that's proof that Apple is busy putting the finishing touches on an Apple Car. But such a test bed is also critical for testing other products that will work in and around self-driving EVs. Apple doesn't want to build car tech for the past or present fleet of cars, it's testing and building for the future.

This latest refocusing might be a recognition of the somewhat unique issues revolving around the auto business. Supply chain struggles Apple grappled with in iPad and, to a lesser extent, iPhone manufacturing appeared far worse and more damaging in the auto industry, especially in the cutting-edge EV space (looking at you, now more expensive Tesla).

Apple will not surprise us in 2023 with an Apple or iCar and it won’t do it in 2024 or 2025, either.

There may be, next year, new CarPlay features and services and maybe even some sort of plug-in hardware to add Siri intelligence for drivers uninterested in CarPlay. Maybe Apple creates a head-up transparent display for cars. That’s possible but unlikely.

I think the car team will focus on finding new iOS, iPhone, and CarPlay integration points for a market that is rapidly shifting from fossil fuels to EV, and human driving to autonomy.

That’s the better, smarter way and it’s where Apple should be heading in the car space. If you were planning on buying an Apple Car whenever they did I arrive, I apologize for flattening your iCar tires.

Lance Ulanoff
Editor At Large

A 38-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.

Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.