Apple dropped the biggest hint yet of its ambitions to transform the automobile industry after its SVP of operations Jeff Williams proclaimed the car as the “ultimate mobile device”.
Speaking at the Code Conference, Williams said Apple is exploring “all kinds of categories where we can make a difference”, after being quizzed on stage about how the company plans to spend its growing cash load, which is nearing $200 billion, reports the Financial Times.
Apple’s biggest foray in the connected car space so far has been to launch CarPlay, an interactive system that displays iPhone content on a car dashboard.
However, rumours emerged earlier this year that the company was thinking bigger, with reports suggesting that Apple had established a secret team to work with car makers and automotive supplier towards creating an electric vehicle.
Apple, which has already transformed music players, phones and watches into portable devices that connect to the internet, had not directly shown an interest into entering the space, until Williams’ latest comments.
His hint has since been likened to CEO Tim Cook’s comments in 2013 that the “wrist is interesting and natural”, before the company went on to unveil the Apple Watch a year later.
Also at the Code Conference, Mary Barra, General Motors CEO, said the car giant will be deploying connected car technology from Apple and Google to a fleet of 14 Chevrolet models later this year.
In the keynote, Barra too talked up the potential for transformation in automobiles, claiming that “the industry is poised for more change in the next five to 10 years than it’s seen in the past 50”.
Ford and Hyundai have also revealed plans to build CarPlay into some of their vehicles later this year.