Random thoughts on the Apple car, part three
It is a box, a room, a cable car if you like.
It has four walls and a roof. The interior is as large as possible, with 90 degree angles. A floor, four straight walls with windows, and a roof.
The floor is made of batteries, easy to enter.
The walls have large windows that can be darkened, so nobody can look inside.
The roof is made of solar panels, recharging the batteries all the time.
There are no headlights or tail lights – the car drives itself with sensors and navigation; it doesn’t need light to see they way.
There is a door, obviously, or two – to enter the vehicle, and to manouvre large luggage.
The question is, what’s inside?
What do you need when you travel?
Something to sit down
Something to host your luggage
Something to put your travel accessories like readings, you everyday stuff like your smartphone and your wallet, as well as food and drinks
Something to host the waste
That’s about it.
To sit down, it has a couch. And a chair that’s right at a table in the middle of the car.
A luggage compartment, that can be expanded.
A wastebin, that can be accessed from the outside.
There’s also some inobstrusive lighting that you can control with your devices, and that reacts to the outside daylight.
Imagine the car as a tiny Apple Store, with a wood table, comfy seating, and free WiFi of course. Large windows, curved glass, bright interior. A place you want to spend at least an hour in. You can walk around, look outside, or sit down and work. You can recharge your devices, and of course you can shop – because you’re not driving.
It may help to imagine a modern San Francisco cable car, or a cable car from the mountains.
It may look a lot like a Mac mini or an Apple TV, with a basic square form factor that can be as wide and high as a truck – since our roads are optimized for these sizes.
Now, let’s talk about owning vs sharing an Apple car.
Obviously, car sharing is a big deal (if you also count Uber and Lyft). Daimler’s car2go and BMW’s DriveNow have shown that there’s a market for take-and-leave car usage.
However, the Apple brand is all about ownership. They’re not great with sharing. Also, Tesla shows that still with electric, there is tremendous power in individual ownership of what can only be described as a luxury toy that is visually polluting public space with parking.
So, where will Apple go? We don’t know, but let’s think about what questions sharing would ariss:
Who buys the car?
How does it transform between users?
Now, it may be possible that Apple won’t sell but provide the car. Very unlikely, given their hardware profits oriented business strategy.
Transforming the car from user to user however, would only need software to change the experience. Something that no other car sharing service does well today.