In his book After Steve who is interested in Apple after the death of Steve Jobs, the journalist Tripp Mickle tells several anecdotes about Tim Cook, Scott Forstall or Jonathan Ive and their work without the founder of the company. Among them, there is one that concerns the famous car that Apple has been working on for years now.
According to the author, the first concept car was presented to Tim Cook by Jonathan Ive in the fall of 2015. At that time, it was not yet a question of presenting a design idea, but rather the vision of what a vehicle created by Apple could bring. The designer invited the CEO to Sunnyvale, a Californian city north of Cupertino where Apple would have concentrated its automotive efforts, as several rumors suggested during 2016:
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According to the author ofAfter Steve, Jonathan Ive had imagined a vehicle that would be controlled only by voice, with Siri. Passengers would enter the aircraft, which would have a lounge-like interior, with autonomous driving dispensing with the steering wheel and pedals. They would then ask Siri to go somewhere and the car would take care of the rest. A demonstration had been planned so that Tim Cook could live the experience, according to the journalist.
Naturally, 2015’s Siri was far from capable of responding to these requests, so to simulate the voice assistant, Jonathan Ive had hired an actor according to Tripp Mickle and he was the one who answered the requests for the purposes of the demonstration . During the simulated ride, Jonathan Ive reportedly asked, “Hey Siri, what’s that restaurant we just passed?” and the actor reportedly responded with the correct information. A complete script would have been planned by the head of design at Apple to present this idea and the author concludes by noting that he would have been very satisfied with his demonstration and his vision.
After Steve provides additional confirmation that Apple has worked on a car, information that the company has never made official, but which is no longer really in doubt. For the rest, concepts that present global visions are commonplace in the industry and all traditional manufacturers offer them regularly. More than prototypes of future marketed models, they are unique concepts that present ideas that will infuse the brand’s future cars.
That Apple does it is nothing extraordinary and that the firm does it in the greatest secrecy meets its usual operating logic. In this context, Tripp Mickle’s remark suggesting that the demonstration was based on nothing concrete like the whole Titan project is perhaps a little harsh. While the goal was to present a vision, having a working concept was not necessary at this stage.