Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess is skeptical that Apple is planning to sell a physical vehicle and believes that the company is focusing on cockpit software instead (via Reuters).
Diess made the comments at the hub.berlin technology conference in Berlin, where Apple is also in attendance represented by its vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson. “I’m not sure if Apple will actually bring cars to the market in the end. It would be a big effort,” he said, adding that he believes Apple will focus on car cockpit software instead.
The remarks come weeks after Apple unveiled a next-generation CarPlay experience at WWDC 2022, featuring support for multiple large displays, speedometers, fuel levels, climate controls, and more. Users will be able to personalize their in-car experience by choosing different gauge cluster designs and widgets, with the new version of CarPlay effectively offering a wholly Apple-designed experience for all of a car’s displays and functions. While the new CarPlay experience is designed so that users never need to exit the system, Apple said that automakers will be able to retain a sense of brand identity with the new system.
Apple said the first vehicles to support the new CarPlay experience will be announced in late 2023. While Volkswagen is not among the automakers that have committed to implement it in new cars, two of the goliath automaker’s sub-brands, Audi and Porsche, were included in Apple’s list of initial supporters.
Apple has been rumored to be working on a self-driving electric vehicle for around eight years, but a series of development challenges have led to questions about when the project will be officially revealed, if ever. Earlier this year, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo warned that Apple’s car team had “been dissolved for some time,” and needed to be reorganized soon in order for mass production to begin by 2025.
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