Apple, automotive, car, dealers, distribution, iCar, network, repairs
Hold the phone! (pun intended) There is lots of talk about Apple creating its own car, or Apple buying Tesla. So is Apple in the iCar business now?
When you get down to it, what business is Apple, or Google, or IBM, or many other more traditional ICT companies actually in these days? Automation? Technological enablement? Process change? Distribution evolution? 😉
I was just listening to CNN at lunch, and the commentator made an interesting point about it being the right time to reinvent the car. The car for many is a personal mode of transport, which a personal form of anything is usually right up Apple’s street. Watches, data storage, smart clothing — many forms of personal consumption are being remade. The problem currently with cars at present is that they require an infrastructure to sell, support, resell and service. Someone would really have to make a big investment to redo that world. So I doubt Apple wants to go that way.
Financing, recalls, etc are not likely to Apple’s kind of thing, so I suspect they will leverage some form of existing infrastructure to remake that world. Apple has created an infrastructure to sell / market its products, which is why I believe the Tesla rumor is interesting, because Apple could then leverage that infrastructure for servicing its iCar. Because a car in the current infrastructural dynamic requires aftersales service, needs to have a residual value for resale, needs to go through a regular inspection for licensing, etc.
But I believe, based on other rumours, it is more likely that Apple would use the car hire networks to release its car, versus having its own infrastructure or buying into Tesla’s. Because Apple is not in the business of aftersales service so much, more about initial purchase and consumable add-ons (a la iTunes and mobile apps). You will likely be able to lease an iCar, or buy and service via Hertz, Avis, etc.
Just my humble opinion as an information economist……