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The Apple Car could benefit Uber - or destroy it

Invest in Uber and team up with small businesses

Wiesenfelder adds that Apple would probably "build out a dealer network or partner with an existing automaker." It could partner directly with Uber or with a similar company. That could be a clever move, but it would be difficult to pull off without shattering Uber's current business model, one that relies on employees using their own bought or leased vehicles.

If - as we have reason to suspect - the Apple Car is autonomous, i.e. self-driving, then it could herald a new age for the Ubers of the world. Ideally, the consumer would request a car through the Uber iOS app as she does today, but have a more personalized, guaranteed safe experience. Perhaps a screen on the passenger seat would play selected media from her iTunes library or enable her to browse Safari. She'd pay with Apple Pay. She'd be guided by Apple Maps. Probably, she wouldn't just use Uber's Apple Car feature for her own rides, she'd use it for those she doesn't have to be present for like deliveries and pick-ups. It's not as though she'd have to tip anybody for his or her services.

In that same vein, small businesses could use the Apple Car for services that require ground transportation. They wouldn't have to hire a driver, they'd just have to hire a car - or even a fleet of cars.

"If the assumption is that the Apple Car is a fully connected car, then as small business delivery vehicles they can seamlessly talk to each other as part of a hive of vehicles, providing real time updates on schedules and drop off/pick up confirmations," says Jane Nakagawa, Managing Director of Portia Consulting. "Routes can be adjusted depending on traffic updates/road conditions. Cars can communicate seamlessly among the fleet making decisions in which vehicles will perform what tasks, where. Customers would have the ability to change delivery locations in real time."

Pave its own road

But if Apple is going to go to through all this trouble to create a connected car - why would it stop at just the vehicle? Why wouldn't it go all the way and create its own car service? It has the technology, the capital, the talent, and the consumer trust to do so. And hey, maybe it could take on Google by then, which may have launched itsown car service.

An Apple Car service would devastate Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and whatever other like-minded businesses have popped up by 2020, but it would help it to maximize profits and disrupt the car service industry even further. Of course, this is all just conjecture, some of it a bit wild, but when it comes to Apple, the possibilities go from zero to 60 in seconds.