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.”

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Steve Jobs’ Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG Remains Parked, Not for Sale

Steve Jobs' Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG

Yesterday we previewed the coming Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG, a car likely to command somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000. For the coin, you’ll get a great car, but it’ll be up to you to make it famous.

On the other hand, you could consider buying used and angling for a car once owned by a famous person. Perhaps no car is more iconic right now than the MB SL55 AMG currently parked, without license plates, at 2101 Waverley Street in Palo Alto, California.

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Steve Jobs and the Auto Industry

There are some great lessons for the auto biz in the career of the late Steve Jobs.

They have very little to do with the obvious—adding iPhone apps and infotainment systems like Ford’s Sync to cars.

As you might expect, there has been a lot of laudatory garbage written about this revolutionary guy and his connection to the auto world. Usually it’s about “the iPod fundamentally changing how we entertain ourselves behind the wheel.” Sheesh!

What Steve Jobs really can teach us is not product application but basic lessons in marketing and management. His genius was to create the best and make people want it. He knew how to change people’s minds about what they buy.

I wrote earlier about how ridiculous it was for GM’s Joel Ewanick to propose that General Motors align with “true global brands like Apple.” Do you really think Apple is some kind of model you can copy, Joel? Making Malibus is not like making iPhones, and GM has to learn how to make more desirable commodities that people need, not the Apple-style conversation pieces that people want.

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Steve Jobs Is Not Dead; Apples Are Not Oranges

Hyundai Equus iPad owner's manual

With Steve Jobs’s news that he’s stepping down as Apple CEO, we have seen a flood of articles that read very much like obituaries: praise to the skies, lists of Apple Corp.’s grandiose accomplishments, comparing Jobs to Edison and Henry Ford.

It’s as if they came to bury Caesar and ended up praising him. This began even before Jobs’s announcement. GM’s marketing chief Joel Ewanick pronounced at the company’s Global Busness Conference:

Our direct competitors are Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai, and Ford; however in the eyes of consumers, it’s time for Chevrolet to clearly differentiate our brand and align closer to the world’s true global brands like Apple.

By which Ewanick presumed to explain, “We’re going to become one of the most consumer-centric brands in the world.”

Joel got rightly chewed out by some for these dumb remarks, and it would have been smart for GM to issue some kind of retraction or follow-on explanation.

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