Silicon Valley’s recent fascination with the automotive industry has been most associated with Apple and their alleged foray into the self-driving and/or electrified car. Details have been all forms of scarce, but a recent report involving BMW and their i3 puts some meat on those bones.
Following reports earlier this year that Apple has been hiring a string of auto industry experts, and even being sued for employee poaching, there seems to be a lot of smoke with little visible fire. It’s unclear what Apple hopes to bring to the table to differentiate themselves, but very smart people working on the problem, making Apple's presence in this space impossible to rule out.
However, over the last week or so, it was reported by German publication Manager Magazin that the tech giant has their eyes turned to BMW.
Tim Cook and some other key executives were reported to have visited BMW’s Leipzig plant to have a look at the i3’s production line. The i3 electric car seems to be a compelling platform that Apple could use as a base for their possibly forthcoming vehicle. A more passive reading could suggest that Apple merely wanted to have an innocent look.
Perhaps talks for a technology exchange? Perhaps to take inspiration from the i3’s unique carbon fibre construction that’s also highly recyclable – something Apple strives for in their own products.
The magazine also spoke of similar negotiations taking place between Apple and BMW in the autumn of 2014, although nothing came out of it. This time, however, both companies have reached a deep agreement of cooperation, so it says.
If true, this could be the first step in Apple making real headway in their electric car endeavour as well as BMW gaining a high-powered partner. Indeed, the pair did have an amiable business relationship: BMW was one of the first cars to support music playback from the iPod.
Anything that would have required Apple CEO Tim Cook to see through in person must have been very important. Certainly, a possible platform to which they can build their first car warrants that personal touch.
If Apple’s future EV is speculated to be similar to the i3. Expect it to be aimed at the urban commuter that requires a small car and is willing to trade a larger interior and long range for ease of manoeuvrability and compactness.