Apple is no slouch when it comes to technology. Its Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple TV and others are some of the most recognized and best-selling gadgets in history.
However, now it's planning to tackle a brand new area: cars. We're not just talking about its CarPlay in-car entertainment system. It sounds like Apple is aiming for something larger.
For a while now there have been rumors that Apple was working on a car. First it sounded like a self-driving car, similar to what Google is doing. But now rumors say it's going to be an electric car.
That would put Apple head-to-head with the current market leader for electric cars, Tesla. In fact, quite a few of Apple's 600 employees working on "Project Titan," as it's called, were hired away from Tesla.
Reports say that Apple is aiming for a 2019 launch date. That sounds far away, but in the automotive world it's about right for developing a car. Of course, that's from an entrenched car manufacturer; Apple has more hurdles to overcome.
Cars are a lot different than iPhones. There are more things to go wrong and a raft of unfamiliar laws to follow. If an iPhone breaks, it's annoying, but when a car breaks it's potentially life threatening.
Even selling the cars is going to be a challenge, as Tesla has already found out. Many states that have blocked it from selling to customers directly. That's presumably what Apple would try to do as well, unless it launches its own dealership.
Apple is also going to have to deal with the changing automotive landscape. In four years, Google might have its self-driving cars commercially available.
Tesla will certainly have the lower-cost Model 3 out the door, a new Tesla Roadster available, probably an updated Model S, and who knows what else. It should also have its Gigafactory battery plant up and running, which should bring the cost of its batteries down.
The other car manufacturers could have anything from new electric cars to hydrogen fuel cells. Apple could be hitting a moving target.
On the other hand, Apple has $200 billion in cash on hand, one of the most recognizable brands in history and a habit of dominating any market it enters. It could very well shake up the entire car industry.
What do you think is going to happen when Apple enters the car market? Let us know your thoughts below.