Apple is yet to even mention the possibility of it developing a car but numerous reports and industry clues point in just that direction.
It was at the start of this year that we heard about a car project at Apple under the code name Project Titan, and soon after we learned that the tech giant was hiring staff from firms in the auto industry including senior executives at companies like Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA], Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU] and battery supplier A123 Systems.
The Wall Street Journal has now dug up some new information from people familiar with the matter. According to the source information, Apple has given the production green light for the car and is aiming to have it ready by as early as 2019. Apple is said to already have 600 people working on the project and planning to treble this figure now that it's given the approval.
Senior managers are said to have given the approval after a year-long feasibility study that included meetings with government officials from California. There are also reports of meetings with BMW as well as an autonomous car research facility located in California. However, Apple’s car isn’t expected to be a fully autonomous car like the one being developed by rival tech firm Google. Instead, it will be a drivable model, with the powertrain most likely being all-electric.
What wasn’t mentioned was whether Apple would manufacture the car itself or use a contract manufacturer just like it does with its existing products, or perhaps even partner with a more established automaker. Of course, there’s also the possibility that Apple doesn’t intend to launch its own car but rather license technology to other firms, something that Google may also up doing with technologies developed through its own car project.