Apple Car: News and Price, Release Date, Specs; and More Rumors (2024)

First, there were computers. Then came the iPod, iPhone, and iPad – you know, the usual Apple stuff. And guess what? They were also working on a car! The Apple car never hit the streets, but they were (and maybe still are) cooking up something behind closed doors. Check out all the details below to find out what the Apple car was (or maybe still is) all about and what it might have looked like.

Is the Apple Car Real?

Rumors about Apple developing a car, known as Project Titan, began way back in 2014 when CEO Tim Cook reportedly gave the project his approval. Even Apple's co-founder, Steve Jobs, wanted to design an "iCar."

In February 2024, however, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reported that Apple canceled their car project. This was the clearest tip to date that the car was real and might one day be released.

Then, in May 2024, news broke that Apple might partner with electric vehicle firm Rivian. What this means isn't really clear, though, and the information could be bogus or confused for something else like an Apple CarPlay agreement.

This is all to say that the current state of the project isn't clear. But we do know the company's desire to create a car became more real over the years. Here's a look at some of the progress that's been made on the Apple car:

Lifewire's Release Date Estimate

If Apple wants to make their car idea happen, we could see a revival by 2028 or 2029. But it'll only happen if they can strike a deal with Rivian or another car company.

Apple Car Price Rumors

The only way to know what the Apple car could have cost is to look at what other companies are doing.

The price for luxury vehicles from competition like Tesla and Lucid Motors ranges widely, depending on the features you want the car to have. Between those two, you're looking at anywhere from around $40,000 to $170,000.

Some people even considered that Apple would set you up with a subscription to use the car. This would make it more affordable, but you wouldn't own the car.

If the renders created by Vanarama hold any truth, it's clear that this would have been quite an expensive vehicle.

Apple Car: News and Price, Release Date, Specs; and More Rumors (1)

9 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Buy an EV

How the Apple Car Might Have Worked

Exploring the Apple car features isn't something anyone can do because nothing was ever officially announced. But since smart cars are already on the roads today, we're not totally in the dark when we guess what could have been included in Apple's car.

Self-Driving

One rumor is that Apple would make a fully autonomous car. If you're familiar with the Society of Automotive Engineers, SAE calls this Level 5. At most, this means no pedals and no steering wheel. Full automation.

Of course, depending on regulations at the time of release, it might be necessary—desired, even—to have manual override options in place should the self-driving mechanics fail.

We're skeptical Apple would have jumped into the automotive industry with a self-driving car leading the way. It makes more sense to follow what other companies have done by starting with a smarter-than-average car with lane assistance, semi-auto-pilot, etc., instead of immediately jumping into a no-steering-wheel version.

A 2023 patent, titled Retractable Input Devices, explains how the steering wheel and pedals could move away from the driver when they don't need to use them. This suggests that Apple was considering a hybrid style of self-driving that can switch between manual and autonomous mode. Opel has this concept video that shows a similar design.

PatentlyApple.com uncovered a patent in 2021 that revealed warning systems that could be built-in to the car, like alerts and exterior text regarding speed, the status of oncoming vehicles, or when it's in self-driving mode. Other information it could show includes upcoming weather, collision risks, nearby traffic jams, etc.

A patent granted in 2022 was for "guidance of autonomous vehicles in destination vicinities using intent signals." In short, it reiterates one of the core ideas behind this car, which is that it would use sensors to understand the surrounding environment to allow navigation with little to no input.

Apple was working with a Korean supplier on a centralized OS that controls everything in the car. According to that source, the company would adopt "Tesla-type autonomous vehicle architecture. It is a Domain Control Unit (DCU) method that manages several electronic control units (ECU) in an AP that serves as a brain."

Another patent, titled Guidance Of Autonomous Vehicles In Destination Vicinities Using Intent Signals, details how a user could control the car's route even in a self-driving situation. Apple introduces one example where a passenger states the following when in the vicinity of a retail store: "I'd like to buy some plants for my garden." The car might then "determine that the vehicle should preferably be parked near an entrance marked 'gardening' or 'gardening supplies'." The patent also suggests another method for how this could work, where a drop-down menu on a screen provides various options, so you're telling the car what to do via a text interface instead of voice commands.

Self-driving is likely where we're headed with ride-sharing services, and it looks like this was in Apple's roadmap, too. Uncovered by Patently Apple is this patent that Apple won regarding an autonomous vehicle-based cab.

For example, the user device is used by the user to initiate a transit request and cause a vehicle to be dispatched to a pick-up location. When the vehicle arrives at the pick-up location, the user device is used by the user to authenticate the vehicle and confirm that the vehicle is the dispatched vehicle for the transit request.

The brains/processor behind the whole system, according to MacRumors, might have been based on the processor used in Apple's other products. A custom Apple silicon chip was reportedly created just for this car that was essentially four M2 Ultras merged.

Think about how powerful the Apple car could have been if it were using the same hardware that runs several Mac Pros, one of Apple's most powerful desktops to date. It's a no-brainer that AI would be used for everything, including smarter routes, text summarization while you're behind the wheel, safer driving overall, etc.

With the Apple car dead in its tracks, we're left wondering where Apple might put this powerful chip if not in a car. Mark Gurman says the development of the chip was almost finished before the car project ended, so instead of scrapping this (likely very expensive) feat of engineering, we could see Apple incorporate it in future products like the next Vision Pro or Mac Studio.

Interior

If the Apple car were to have no steering wheel, it must mean you wouldn't need to watch the road, so how would you spend your time in such a vehicle?

According to Mark Gurman, Apple played with the idea of the car having seating where the passengers face each other, similar to the setup in the electric vehicle startup Canoo's Lifestyle Vehicle.

Apple Car: News and Price, Release Date, Specs; and More Rumors (2)

In that car's iteration of this setup, it's just the backseat passengers riding in this kind of luxury. It's known that EVs are roomier than other vehicles, and an even more comfortable picture is painted when you consider the "driver" here doesn't need to be driving or monitoring the road full time, so the front seats could just as easily spin so you can stretch your legs and face everyone at once, no rearview mirror required. Apple was granted a patent in 2022 for a vehicle seat with a reclining mechanism.

Apple Car: News and Price, Release Date, Specs; and More Rumors (3)

Although plans for the interior reportedly changed many times over the years, one iteration was for it to resemble a private jet or limo. Here's Mark Gurman's insight on the company's plans:

the general idea was a minimalist interface — combined with seats you’d normally see on a private jet or a limousine. Inside, it felt like you were essentially in a “contoured bubble,” I’m told. This incarnation of the car could comfortably accommodate four people, with the seats being able to shift between normal chairs, recliners and foot rests.

You can expect to see a large display between the front seats of a new car to help with navigation, music playback, vehicle controls, etc. As you might have guessed, one rumor is the display in this car would have resembled an iPad.

It would have most likely used a modified version of iPadOS (perhaps CarOS?) with Apple Maps, Apple Music, Siri, etc., and work similarly but with vehicle-specific toggles.

Apple Car: News and Price, Release Date, Specs; and More Rumors (4)

There was even talk that the Apple car would include a detachable infotainment device so the driver can still access climate control, music, etc. when they swivel the chair around. Incorporating a headset like the Vision Pro into the driving experience would have been interesting as well.

Range

The prediction was that Apple's car would be self-driving and electric, only there isn't a lot to be said about range. Between batteries and regenerative braking technology, most new EVs are capable of at least 250 miles, but some exceed 400 miles, and even fewer, like Aptera, claim up to a 1,000-mile range.

How Much Range You Need in Your EV

The Lucid Air is one example of a luxury EV that could be comparable to the Apple car, and its claim is up to 520 miles per charge.

While we don't know the specifics on the battery capacity of the now-canceled Apple car, considering the several years they had to develop something better than what's in existing cars, one model probably would have exceeded 500 miles.

Apple could have even been developing a brand-new battery design to ensure ample range, according to MacRumors:

Apple is creating a "monocell" design that will bulk up the individual battery cells and free up space inside the battery pack by removing pouches and modules that hold battery materials. This will allow for more active material in a smaller package. The battery technology has been described as "next level" and similar to "the first time you saw the iPhone."

Apple Car: News and Price, Release Date, Specs; and More Rumors (5)

Vanarama's concept is only one take on how the car might have looked. Of course, nobody knows for sure, but Erick Martinez's designs show a much smoother exterior. For an interesting, but unrealistic and honestly silly take, check out Devanga Borah's pod-style microcar design.

Safety

Automated driving carries several prerequisites that make the car safer than one not as smart. Features like lane centering, automatic braking, and blind-spot alerts are a given, so what unique features might Apple have done to make its car safer than other vehicles on the road?

AppleInsider reports Apple was working on some unique safety measures, with the goal being to "spare customers from driving fatigue when they're on long road trips." However this would have taken shape, it's plausible that the iPad-like display could have played a part.

The company's other products feature safety characteristics like fall detection and automated emergency calling, so similar sensors and other predictive behaviors would have likely shown up in its car.

With passengers potentially facing each other while in motion, collision risks sound even more dangerous than they do in a traditional vehicle where everyone faces the same direction. Apple had a solution to that problem—a patent uncovered by Patently Apple in 2020 describes ample airbags and rail-mounted seats that can move in response to a collision to create distance between the occupants. Another patent for reinforced windows was reported in 2022.

Charging

A charging station patent spotted by Patently Apple confirms that Apple was interested in adding some sort of automated charging mechanism to the vehicle for it to attach to a charging station without any manual input by the passengers. For illustrations and other details, check out patent 11,325,491 at USPTO.

There's also this Modular Charging Systems for Vehicles patent, filed in 2022, which could be used to increase at-home charging speeds.

Wireless charging for your iPhone and iPad surely would have been included in the car. But what about charging the whole car wirelessly? Some of Apple's devices can charge each other, so would that functionality have come to the Apple car, too?

As far out as it sounds, we've heard that the company has a patent (we couldn't verify this) that would allow vehicle-to-vehicle charging—i.e., an Apple car charging another Apple car. We're doubtful this would have been one of the car's first functions, but maybe in the distant future.

How Long Does It Take to Charge an EV?

Other Features

Considering the proprietary nature of Apple's messaging services, FaceTime and iMessage, its car might have worked similarly. The built-in iPad could be used to communicate with other Apple car drivers on the road, or at the least just other iPhone/iPad users.

The usual understanding of vehicle-to-vehicle communication involves vehicles knowing where the other ones are for safety reasons: A "Stop accelerating, another car is approaching!" type of feature. But this could also be an iCar messaging service meant for texting other Apple cars.

Likewise, the Apple Watch and iPhone would undoubtedly function as keyless tools to unlock the car. Mark Gurman says you'd be able to use your iPhone to control and monitor the car; think speedometer readings, temperature adjustments, radio and seat controls, and triggering the alarm—this is basically confirmed in this 2022 Apple patent that details an electronic key. Facial recognition might have found its way to Apple's vehicle, too, to unlock it or automatically customize the interior to the user who sits down.

Hyper-targeted climate control is another rumor we heard. Modern vehicles already support this to heat the driver and cool the passenger, for example. Apple could have extended this with built-in sensors that target specific body parts depending on the user's current temperature reading (e.g., cool your arm and face if they're in direct sunlight, but heat the rest of your body).

A vehicle-related patent filed by Apple in 2017 details a VR system that can help address motion sickness for passengers. Here's the abstract:

The VR system may provide virtual views that match visual cues with the physical motions that a passenger experiences. The VR system may provide immersive VR experiences by replacing the view of the real world with virtual environments. Active vehicle systems and/or vehicle control systems may be integrated with the VR system to provide physical effects with the virtual experiences. The virtual environments may be altered to accommodate a passenger upon determining that the passenger is prone to or is exhibiting signs of motion sickness.

Another communication feature we would have liked to see in the Apple car involves external displays. These screens could indicate to passing vehicles and pedestrians what the car is doing. This could be useful for several things, like to let someone know you're waiting for them to cross the road, or to signal to a driver behind you that you're slowing down due to an obstacle in the road. You can read more about this in Patently Apple's description of the Apple patent.

Apple Car: News and Price, Release Date, Specs; and More Rumors (6)

The Latest News About the Apple Car

You canget more Smart and Connected Life news from Lifewire. Here are other related stories and some early rumors we found about the Apple car specifically:

Apple Car: News and Price, Release Date, Specs; and More Rumors (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dean Jakubowski Ret

Last Updated:

Views: 5634

Rating: 5 / 5 (50 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dean Jakubowski Ret

Birthday: 1996-05-10

Address: Apt. 425 4346 Santiago Islands, Shariside, AK 38830-1874

Phone: +96313309894162

Job: Legacy Sales Designer

Hobby: Baseball, Wood carving, Candle making, Jigsaw puzzles, Lacemaking, Parkour, Drawing

Introduction: My name is Dean Jakubowski Ret, I am a enthusiastic, friendly, homely, handsome, zealous, brainy, elegant person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.