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Apple is Getting into the Car Business

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

 

Apple is poised to not only be your phone, tablet and information system but your electric car provider as well. Reports ran rampant this past month and a story in the Wall Street Journal said that Apple has assembled a top secret team to work on the vehicle.

The initial vehicle is an electric minivan. The codename for the project is "Titan", and is expected to last years.  It is still possible that Apple will not even make it to market, but if Steve Jobs’ dream of the iCar is fulfilled, the lines in front of the Apple Store should be exciting.  

Apple already has one major supplier that is ready to get on board. Continental, based in Hanover, Germany, specializes in supplying parts and technology for vehicles. According to a Reuters report, Continental Chief Executive Elmar Degenhart hopes his company can become a technology partner and “would be interested”.

"Apple has an excellent reputation on information and communication systems, and has incredible financial strength," Degenhart said.

Continental, which was founded in 1871 as a rubber manufacturer provides car manufactures powertrain, interior, tires and chassis & safety products. It also has another division providing rubber and plastic technology. It has experience in the electric vehicle business as well as it has worked on Lithium-ion batteries. 

Another automotive marketplace in which Apple is competing is more immediate and noticeable. It also has some formidable competition which includes Google. According a story in the NY Times Silicon Valley has become the newest automotive battleground and it’s over the driver’s dashboard technology.

Google recently showed off its Android system, Android Auto while Apple was showing off its Car Play system for iPhone users. All of this technology is to provide the driver with a seamless interface with his or her vehicle. Of course, Google isn’t at all convinced that anyone even needs to be behind the wheel at all as it continues to enhance the driverless car. 

Brad Boyer is owner of Carcierge, a car concierge company providing expert assistance on anything car-related. He also co-hosts Test Miles on 101.1 FM KXL on Sundays, and is a founding member of the Northwest Auto Press Association. You can email him your car-related questions at [email protected]

 

Related Slideshow: 7 Movies With Iconic Hollywood Star Cars

See seven films that featured important and iconic cars, or "star cars." 

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Vacation

Who can forget Clark Griswold aka Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Vacation, going to pick up his new “sports wagon” only to be forced to accept the Wagon Queen Family Truckster with amazing wood paneling.  It was created just for this film and was based on a 1979 Ford LTD Country Squire which was equally embarrassing to drive. And, to add insult to injury, Clark had to try and be cool in this car when Christie Brinkely drove by in her Ferrari 308GTS. 

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Mad Max

This may not really be underrated as a picture car but because Mel Gibson soared to stardom after this film, it’s easy to forget the machine that helped make it happen. The 1973 XB GT Ford Falcon was simply, bad ass. This car never made it to the U.S. and was featured in the Australian film with a few modifications. The regular XB GT had a 351-cid V8, but for Mad Max the car creators fattened up the tires, gave it a new front nose and flares, and added a supercharger that stuck out of the hood. Despite the fact that the supercharger wasn’t real, it doesn’t diminish the cool factor. 

Prev Next

Death Proof

Quentin Tarantino’s 2007 homage to the classic ‘70’s exploitation movies and muscle cars was modestly received, but for car geeks and car chase fans, it was awesome. Stuntman Mike, played by Kurt Russell, drove two classic movie cars in his psychopathic attempt to rid the roads of all hot women. His “death proof” cars were a 1971 Chevrolet Nova SS 396  that Rose McGowan’s character found out wasn’t “death proof” for the passenger.  After he dispatched the first batch of women, he finds his next car, a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T 500. Unfortunately for Stuntman Mike, he was no match for the “Vanishing Point” 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T. 

Prev Next

Gumball Rally

This 1976 movie was the inspiration to other coast to coast racing movies like Cannonball and Cannonball Run. Don’t hold that against it. This film featured some great fun, great cars and the tagline for every boy racer that summer, “GUMBALL." Michael Sarrazin played a rich, bored businessman. He sends word to his fellow racers via a gumball that the race is on from New York to the Queen Mary in Long Beach. The movie featured a young, funny Rau’l Julia who was the professional Ferrari driver and uttered the perfect car racer line as he rips off the rear view mirror, “what is behind me is not important.” Some of the beautiful cars making the cross country trip were an AC Cobra, Ferrari Daytona and Gary Busey behind the wheel in a Camaro Z-28. 

Prev Next

Risky Business

Larry Brown was the West Coast PR manager for VW/Porsche Audi in the early 80’s when a director came to him with a great script idea and wanted to use a Porsche for his movie Risky Business. Brown read the script and then thought about his conservative German bosses and how they would react to a high school kid running a brothel out of his parent’s home when they were out of town. And, oh by the way, dumping a 928 into Lake Michigan. He said he had to pass. Fortunately for us and Porsche, the director had only the Porsche 928 in mind for the star car and found one of his own. Tom Cruise, who had never driven a stick, learned to drive on the Porsche. While the 928 now ranks as one of the least interesting Porsches made, this film made it cool for a while. Who can forget Joel, Lana and Miles escaping from Guido the Killer Pimp and puling up to the curb and Cruise uttering the great Porsche marketing slogan, “Porsche, there is no substitute.”  That is probably only matched when, after the cars swim in the lake, the car door is opened at the dealership and the shop manager asks, “so, who’s the U Boat commander” This was perfect proof that the right car can help make a movie. 

Prev Next

To Live and Die in LA

William Friedkin’s 1985 stylish drama with young William Petersen and Willam Dafoe showcased a chase scene on and off the freeways of LA and rivals that of Bullitt. The car Petersen drove to escape his pursuers was a 1985 Checy Impala F41. It had been rented directly from the LAPD. The car sequence was shot in six weeks and apparently, Fridkin wasn’t so sure of its success and shot it last so that if anything happened to the actors, the balance of the movie was in the can. 

Prev Next

The Hangover

The repetitious saying, “what happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” didn’t prove true for the beautiful 1965 Mercedes Benz 220SE Convertible that Bradley Cooper and crew take to Vegas in the first, and best, Hangover film. This was the perfect choice for classic cars for the screws ups to take on their bender weekend. During the making of the film, three convertibles were used to make the film and a couple of coupes were cut up and pieced together to look like the classic Mercedes so no fears on its destruction. It was just movie magic. 

 
 

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