The Apple iCar That Will Never Be

Apple iCar

Steve Jobs achieved world domination in his life.

There’s no doubt, through Apple, he changed the way we interact with our world and each other. The iMac, iPod, iPad and iPhone were all game-changing inventions from Apple. Could it be that Jobs wasn’t done with his world-changing ideas before he died in October 2011?

According to Apple board member Mickey Drexler, in an interview with Fast Company, Jobs had his sights on bringing his intuitive style and innovative technology beyond the computer industry and into the automotive industry.

“Look at the car industry; it’s a tragedy in America. Who is designing the cars?” Drexler said. “Steve’s dream before he died was to design an iCar.”

It’s hard for me to agree with the term “tragedy” when describing the state of the car industry here, but the thought of an “iCar” is pretty tantalizing. With Jobs’ passing, though, it’s unlikely an iCar will ever be a possibility. Should it have happened, there’s a good chance it would be like nothing anyone expected, but at the same time we’d all wonder why cars weren’t always designed that way.

As we all know, though, Apple is now in the hands of other people. So instead of some kind of genius iCar from Apple, all we are going to come close to getting is this:

Apple has been granted a patent for a steering-wheel-mounted remote control.

The patent describes a device that looks like the control wheel from an original iPod but mounted to a clamp that grabs your car’s steering wheel. Once attached, it would put control of your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad right at your steering-wheel-gripping fingertips.

Brilliant idea? Ummm…no.

I can’t imagine this is real, or that Apple would seriously consider an outdated, bulky clamp-on controller like this, especially considering there are so many iPod-capable technologies already incorporated in cars. It would be easier, and safer, to just use the controls on your device while driving. Plus, I’m pretty sure it’s illegal in most states to mount anything on your steering wheel.

If this is the kind of new product we can expect from Apple in the era after Jobs, I’m not impressed! A sleek, interactive and intuitive iCar could have been amazing. Since that’s not coming, though, I think it’s best for Apple to stay out of our cars.

Could Apple ever get into the automotive business? Should it?

-tgriffith

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  1. Elise H
    | #1

    I love the sleek look of the ‘iCar’ design. Too cool!
    You are right, an interactive, intuitive iCar WOULD be amazing.
    Steve Jobs was brilliant in what he achieved in his life, however I know that right now there is some kid taking apart and putting back together his/her parents old cell phone or computer tower found at a yard sale for a couple bucks just to see how the pieces go together and how it works. This child even more brilliant that Steve Jobs could have ever dreamed of becoming.
    Their brain alive with ideas & possibilities, spirit charged with determination.
    The sleek beautiful, intuitive, interactive car will come to be, maybe just not known as an iCar.
    It reminds me of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
    That car will be so awesome and I’m sure even better then one that could have come from the world changing master mind Steve Jobs.
    Thank you for the article Mr. Griffith. :)

  2. Randy
    | #2

    UH OH, I detect one of those Jobs worshippers. Yes, he championed some brillant innovations, most of which were built on the work of other people, mostly at Xerox and Englebart’s computer mouse.

    If the iCar was built, would it be built by child and forced labor in heavily-polluting SE Asia sweat shops as most other apple products? It would surely cost three to five times as much as a regular car, and in the end, it would do no more than any other car– Get you from point A to point B, while lining the pockets of Apple stockholders. It’s a shame that Apple supporters continue to play with their toys while willingly adding to the misery on our little planet. I was sorry to see Steve Jobs die such at such a young age, but people should realize that the conduct of his company was far removed from the moral facade he tried to project in life.

  3. tgriffith
    | #3

    You make good points, Randy. I can’t say I’m a Jobs worshipper, as I’ve heard stories of how awful the man was to employees or anyone who he thought had a bad idea. So it’s not Jobs I worship, but the passion for innovation he had. Despite his business practices, the man made big ideas happen. That could’ve been really interesting had he shifted gears to the auto industry!

  4. Randy
    | #4

    That’s kind of like saying that Hitler was great because he made the trains run on time.

  5. Jim Redd
    | #5

    @ Randy
    Jeez… that’s kind of harsh. I think Jobs could have impacted the auto industry in a positive way. I read his bio and, yeah, he sounds like he was a tough SOB who not many liked, but he had an undeniable influence on whatever he touched.
    We’ll never know now, I think Apple will start going downhill.

  6. Randy
    | #6

    I agree, I cringed after posting it, but the point is valid. Another historical figure that reminds me of Jobs is Henry Ford, who was a virulent racist, anti-semite and early Nazi supporter. Yet, he was probably one of the most important figures in establishing a black middle class in this country (despite his politics) and his anti-semitism helped create a backlash that helped Jews more than hurt them in this country.

    Ultimately, though, I wonder just how revolutionary and beneficial these Apple products actually are? I grew up in a world without cell phones and ipads, and we got along just fine. Indeed, we actually TALKED TO EACH OTHER and didn’t stagger down the sidewalks like loonies talking to invisible people or crash into school busses while typing a letter behind the wheel.

  1. | #1
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