The Apple Car, much like the rest of Apple's closely guarded projects, is no stranger to the rumor mill.
Reports of trade deals, industry partnerships and vehicle specs have swirled ever since mutterings of an Apple-produced car began several years ago, and the tech company – known for its preference for tight-lipped operations – has often been quick to dispel false information as quickly as it gains traction./aside">>
We do know for certain that Apple is working on an autonomous automotive project (codenamed Project Titan), not least because the company continues to hire for roles that seem specialised to automotive development, but many big questions still remain unanswered.
Will it be an actual Apple Car, tech we can integrate into our own vehicles or hardware and software licensed to third-party car makers? Could it even be part of a service, run by Apple to transport us around in driverless cars?
At present, it looks likely to be the former, though imminent production hopes remain stagnant thanks to Apple's continued struggle to pin down a willing automotive manufacturing partner.
In this guide, we walk you through all the latest Apple Car news, rumors, leaks and updates available to us right now, as well as what we expect to see when Silicon Valley's most anticipated vehicular project does eventually arrive on our roads.Apple is currently hiring a “Radar Test Engineer” whose job it will be to develop “autonomous systems.” That would suggest there’s some truth to the rumors that the Apple Car will be some sort of autonomous vehicle.
Elsewhere, former Apple Watch division boss Kevin Lynch has been brought in to lead the Apple Car project going forward.' data-widget-type="deal" data-render-type="editorial">
Apple is currently hiring a “Radar Test Engineer” whose job it will be to develop “autonomous systems.” That would suggest there’s some truth to the rumors that the Apple Car will be some sort of autonomous vehicle.
Elsewhere, former Apple Watch division boss Kevin Lynch has been brought in to lead the Apple Car project going forward.View Deal
Cut to the chase
What is it? Apple's long-rumored car, which could be self-driving
When is it out? Long story short: nobody knows
What will it cost? Unclear right now, but expect a premium price tag
Apple Car release date
Long story short: nobody knows.
That's because Apple hasn't yet nailed down an automotive manufacturer to partner with on the project, and the question of which car brand to do business with has been the major subject of conversation – and controversy – around the Apple Car vision.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently claimed that the Apple Car might not be launched until 2028 or later, given the ongoing impasse in partnership negotiations – details surrounding which you'll find below – so expect to be waiting a long while to see it on the road.
Apple Car development
As far back as May 2018, Apple were reportedly in talks with German automotive giant Volkswagen to produce an autonomous employee shuttle van based on the T6 Transporter commercial vehicle – a program which was expected to lead to the development of an Apple car for the mass market.
But after a series of high-profile test crashes and employee leaks, the partnership between the two companies stifled, and little more was disclosed on the matter.
Here's the car that #Apple's using to test its autonomous car technology. Story with @mhbergen. https://t.co/jHLnJDRjoS pic.twitter.com/zTezUmcZwCApril 27, 2017
More recently, we thought the tech giant was in u">>promising talks with Hyundai regarding production of the autonomous electric vehicle. Then we reported on rumors which suggested u">>Apple had in fact signed a manufacturing deal with Hyundai's subsidiary company, Kia, which would bring the Apple Car to market as early as 2024.
Alas, in typical Apple style, another report then emerged which suggested u">>Apple has now called off talks with both Hyundai and Kia, with the company turning its attention to several Japanese automotive manufacturers in an effort to finally bring its ambitious EV (electric vehicle) plans to fruition.
Rumors then began indicating that Apple approached Nissan as one of these potential Japanese manufacturing partners, but a report from the Financial Times suggests "contact was brief and the discussions did not advance to senior management levels following divisions over branding."
In 2021, then, it looks like Apple is still hunting for a partner on the project.
It's no surprise, though, that collaboration has been such a sticking point for the company. Despite being widely-considered the most successful business in the world, Apple's expertise lies in tech development, not automotive manufacturing.
That means it needs help from another organisation, but it would seem that the big car brands have been unwilling to become a bit-part supplier – in the same way u">>Foxconn is to Tesla – on a vehicle that would ultimately bear the Apple name.