Tony Fadell, often called the “father of the iPod” and now CEO of Alphabet’s Nest, is on Bloomberg TV today to discuss his time at Apple, the future of mobility and his current effort in the connected home industry. During the interview, Fadell revealed that back in 2008, he had discussions with then Apple CEO Steve Jobs about what an ‘Apple car’ would look like and how the company could approach such a project…
When asked about talking to Steve Jobs about building a car, Fadell said:
“We had a couple walks – and this was in 2008 – about if we were to build a car, what would we build? […] We would be looking at what would a dashboard be, what would seat be, how would you fuel it or power it, but at the end it was always like “we are so busy, we are so constraint” – you know – it would be great to do it, but we can’t.”
The executive followed up saying that at the time, they preferred focusing all their efforts toward the cellphone business and that several other potential products were considered, but eventually dropped by the company.
When talking about Apple’s possible entry in the transport industry, Fadell was optimistic about what the company could do for the industry:
“If you think about a car – what’s a car? – a car has batteries, it has a computer, it has a motor and it has a mechanical structure. If you look at an iPhone, it has all the same things. It even has a motor in it (probably referring to the Taptic engine). If you try to scale it up “oh my god, I can make a car with those same components”. There is some truth to that.”
“Some truth” is one way to put it. Of course he is right about both products having parallels, but comparing the “mechanical structure” of the iPhone with a car is arguably a stretch.
Fadell then emphasized that the “hard stuffs” will be about connectivity and mobility as a service. Something he thinks Apple and Google would have an advantage in because these features rely heavily on software.
You can watch the whole video here: