Project Titan, Apple's decade-long development of electric cars, has taken another unexpected turn. The ambitious vision of a fully autonomous, steering-less iCar has receded into the distance, replaced by a more down-to-earth goal: launching a car with driver assistance features akin to Tesla's Autopilot in 2028.
Bloomberg reports that this watered-down approach came under pressure from Apple's board. In 2023, the Cupertino-based company's board put pressure on CEO Tim Cook to make a clear plan for Project Titan, or scrap it altogether.
The initial aspirations of Level 4 autonomy, which promised a hands-free driving experience, proved too complex and unattainable. Instead, the new focus is on level 2+, where drivers remain attentive and ready to take over.
While this marks a departure from the once-glorious iCar dream, it also marks a potential breakthrough for the project. Lowered expectations offer a clearer roadmap for production, finally dispelling rumors of Project Titan's demise.
However, with this change comes a sense of moderate excitement.
A vision ahead of its time
Some at Apple are expressing concern that the car could lose its edge. Without revolutionary autonomy technology, what will differentiate it from existing rivals like Tesla? Will it be another high-end gadget in the Apple ecosystem or a truly revolutionary innovation? The market is already very large, and old diesel and gasoline car brands have started producing electric cars.
Critics may argue that the initial vision was too ahead of its time, but this could also be a missed opportunity. Apple boldly announced Icar, and now it will have to deny its previous claims. Many who belittled their announcements are now contentedly rubbing their hands with the well-known phrase: Did I tell you? However, the story is not over.
Even a "downsized" Apple car could still redefine the driving experience. Apple's meticulous attention to detail, seamless integration with existing technology, and focus on user experience could still produce a vehicle that stands out.
And with the very quality of the brand and global mega-popularity, Apple could still take a strong place in the saturated EV market.