Speculation regarding Apple’s plans to build an electric car has been at an all-time over recent months. Earlier this year, we broke down the team that Apple has assembled to work on its car, several members of which were poached from Tesla. In Tesla’s Q1 2015 earnings call, however, CEO Elon Musk commented on Apple’s alleged electric car plans and the poaching war that has been ongoing between the two companies.
A new video posted to YouTube today has demonstrated what is almost certainly the first Apple Watch app capable of remotely controlling most of the functions of Tesla’s Model S. In the video (which you can watch below), developer Allen Wong shows off a Glance that views an overview of the car’s status before launching into the main app to review its capabilities.
Through the app, Wong is able to issue a series of commands to the vehicle, ranging from rudimentary options like honking the horn or flashing the lights, to bigger settings such as full panoramic roof control (something not even Tesla’s official app offers yet) or controlling the car’s charging state and port.
Numerous, a dashboard app for tracking a wide range of numbers, is an iOS app gem in terms of taking advantage of Apple technologies and one of my favorite lesser known apps for that reason. Today a new version of Numerous is being released adding new channels including a Tesla channel for Model S owners as well as a Google Sheets channel for tracking numbers from spreadsheets… Read more
In the last few weeks we’ve heard about a poaching war between Apple and Tesla, a couple hires by Apple from the auto industry, and a whole lot of speculation followed by reports that Apple has a team of hundreds working on an electric vehicle. But who exactly is working on the project at Apple?
We can learn a lot about the scope of the research Apple is doing from the talent on the team, so we’ve talked to our sources and compiled a list of some key employees Apple has hired and assigned to the project.
A couple things we learn from the hires: Evident by this long list of automotive experts, it’s clear Apple’s ambitions go well beyond just its iOS-based CarPlay in-dash system. Well beyond software too, as many of the names below are hardware engineers coming from Tesla, Ford and other notable automotive related areas. In fact, the majority of employees on this list that are reporting to team leader Steve Zadesky come from an automotive hardware background and many only joined Apple recently or around the time Cook reportedly approved the electric car project.
It looks like Apple is working on an electric, possibly autonomous automobile. Numerous publications have reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook started the project about a year ago, which followed a M&A meeting with Tesla’s Elon Musk in the Spring of 2013.
We must remember that Apple has many R&D projects and “says no a thousand times for every yes” and of course even if the car project does happen, any type of product is many years off (barring any acquisition). Then there is the current mess that is CarPlay… Read more
Remember those minivans driving around San Francisco with cameras on top that were reportedly leased to Apple? Well, a new rumor coming from Business Insider claims that the site was contacted by an Apple employee who says the company is planning a project that will “give Tesla a run for its money.”
Tesla, of course, is the electronic auto maker who is currently waging an employee-poaching war with Apple (and winning, for now). What exactly this means is unclear at the moment, but it would appear that this employee is insinuating that Apple is working on some sort of vehicle that is either electric, self-driving, or both.
Perhaps annoyed by Tesla’s persistence in picking off its engineers, Apple is attempting to win over some of the electric car maker’s employees with signing bonuses of a quarter-million dollars and salary increases of up to sixty percent, Bloomberg revealed today.
Teslas parked at Apple’s Campus
In the past, Tesla has managed to poach a significant number of Apple’s designers and engineers for its own products—more than 150, according to Bloomberg. Some employees have pointed to Musk, who is often compared to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, as one of the key factors in their decision to jump ship. Perhaps that’s why so many seem to be jumping ship to work at Tesla?
But it seems Apple is ready to get back some of those workers. Musk says that Apple “tries very hard” to lure engineers back to Cupertino, but has had very limited luck so far.
Good news and bad news for Tesla Model S owners: the iOS and Android apps have been updated to allow you to start the car without a key – but the matching firmware update needed by the car hasn’t yet arrived.
Version 2 of the iOS app also provides support for the new calendar function, where the car can pull in data from your iPhone calendar and offer to navigate you to the location – as well as providing several new alerts … Read more
Tesla Motors, known for changing the automobile industry with its innovative electric cars, will update its Model S firmware in the coming months to allow owners to start and drive the Model S with only an iPhone. While it isn’t yet exactly certain how this will work, there is speculation that it will involve Touch ID and may coincide with the launch of iOS 8 next month. The above screenshot of Version 6 is said to be in late beta stages and being finalized for full rollout now.
Tesla’s iPhone app won our 2013 app of the year and the ability to start the car and drive it would continue down that same innovative road. Other systems for starting a car and driving it from a mobile phone already exist for 3rd parties like Viper and others.
Tesla has been busy snapping up Apple employees over the past year. Only weeks after poaching Apple Mac Hardware Vice President Doug Field to run Vehicle Design, Tesla snapped up Director of Manufacturing technology Rich Heley. Then security researcher Kristin Paget joined in February. Also, much of Tesla’s UI design team comes from Apple.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk was also spotted at Apple last year and while speculation was that Apple was considering a buyout (shot down) or becoming an investor in Tesla’s battery Gigafactory, perhaps Musk was simply looking to better integrate the iPhone with his cars.
There’s no real hard news at this talk given by Elon Musk this week but it is certainly interesting to see the back and forth with the iPhone Engineer (Evan Wong? Didn’t quite get the name) and the CEO of Tesla. Apple is of course rumored to be an investor in Tesla’s battery Gigafactory so that makes the conversation all that more interesting. Some notes:
- The engineer manages a big part of the hardware development of the iPhone.
- Apple is one of the biggest buyers of batteries along with Tesla and they’ve done a lot of thorough testing
- Chemistry, material, packaging and process affect battery life constant.
- Tesla buys 18650 form factor batteries and is sticking to them.
- When musk asks about the energy density, the engineer knows not to say anything (he says he doesn’t want to get sued by his employer – to many laughs from the audience).
- Musk assumes the battery energy density is public domain because of teardowns
- Musk says in high production they can get to 260Wh/KG at the lowest price per kW which might be good info for those looking at the Gigafactory specs.
- Apple likely can’t use these cells in their products because they are 18mm thick, much thicker than many of Apple’s products – or so speculates Musk
Those ongoing analyst predictions that Apple would buy Tesla may have been based on some sort of reality. According the the SF Chronicle, Adrian Perica, Apple’s head of mergers and acquisitions, met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk last spring.
A source tells The Chronicle that Perica met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Cupertino last spring around the same time analysts suggested Apple acquire the electric car giant…
Six months before Ahmad’s letter, Musk met with Perica and probably Cook at Apple headquarters, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect business relationships. While a megadeal has yet to emerge (for all of its cash, Apple still plays hardball on valuation), such a high-level meeting between the two Silicon Valley giants involving their top dealmakers suggests Apple was very much interested in buying the electric car pioneer.
But it is unlikely that Apple wanted to buy the car company and even more unlikely that Musk would sell it. In response to the acquisition rumors at the time, he tweeted the following:
But it’s highly likely that Apple would want to buy into one of Tesla’s major upcoming projects.
There have been a lot of important apps released for iOS (and Mac) this year. As you can imagine, we’ve covered many of the big ones. But for me, nothing has been a bigger game changer than Tesla’s Model S App. I’m sure many folks will pooh-pooh the idea that an app that is for 30,000 or so households should even get mainstream coverage. But bear with me here. The company has revolutionized the ways in which cars interact with smartphones and these advancements will trickle into more car/apps over the coming years..
For those out of the loop, the Tesla Model S is a fully electric car that can seat up to 7 people, propel them from 0-60 in about 4 seconds and has a battery range of about 250-300 miles fully decked out. It has the lowest coefficient of drag of any mass produced car, has gained the best safety rating ever from the NHTSA and has more interior storage space than many minivans and SUVs.
Many have compared its disruptive nature and its charismatic CEO Elon Musk to Apple and Steve Jobs. Read more