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Hackernoon logoThe Apple Car won’t look like you think by@alexbarredo

The Apple Car won’t look like you think

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@alexbarredoÁlex Barredo

Marc Newson and Jony Ive, VanityFair

Apple’s history shows us that, if they ever make a car, it would have been rethought from scratch.

When you ask people about how they imagine how an hypothetical Apple made automobile will look like most certainly they’ll point to some futuristic concept by Audi or Ferrari they saw in a movie with crazy wheels, or even flying or levitating. But i’m pretty sure the Apple Car will look like this:

If you’re not into my artistic abilities, you should.

Let me explain myself. Apple’s concept of design has been pretty consistent throughout their history and it boils down to the thousands of no’s for every yes, and basically to remove everything that can be removed, and then some more. Saint-Exupery put it well once:

It seems that perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove.

The “Standard Automobile”: 1890–2020

The “Standard Automobile” we all know and love.

Think of everyday’s, average, most common car: four doors with their windows in the sides, the engine creating a front bump followed by the main dwelling of the car itself where the the people go in one, two — most likely — or three rows of seats. After all that it goes the trunk. In the back it has some indications for humans in the form of different bulbs, the exhaust pipe and another window.

Inside we have all the seats pointing forward, the steering wheel, the pedals, the dashboard filled with visual elements as a human interface and lots of small carpets.

In the front it has two lights, a radiator and a front glass. Those three elements are the main points of industrial design of every car, where the auto industry designers focus to get a most distinctive and attractive look for the car.

The Apple Car: 2020-????

Apple doesn’t make products suitable for everybody. That’s something that frustrates many people that doesn’t get, 40 years later, that maybe they’re not the center of the universe and not every consumer technology product is targeted at them.

If Apple wants, as they have assured, to revolutionise the transportation market, they should aim first for how the most trips are made worldwide: in an urban environment, at slow speeds and made by few individuals, mostly alone. Assuming autonomous driving and an electric engine, let’s go ahead and see what we can remove from the “Standard Automobile”:

  1. Four doors: you don’t need four holes to get into a car, one is enough.
  2. Seats in rows: seat space doesn’t have to be pointing forward. You can’t make the most of the inside space like that.
  3. Two front lights: as much as regulations allow, one big light in the center can be enough (possibly one with the shape of the Apple logo).
  4. Two red backlights: same, reduced to a minimum.
  5. Blinkers: same.
  6. Front radiator: you don’t need one in an electric car.
  7. Front bump: the engine/s are directly placed in the wheels, say goodbye to crankshaft and the drive shaft.

But I said Apple always goes beyond and removes further elements that would be “acceptable”. Let’s keep getting rid of more stuff:

  1. Trunk: why do you need a trunk if most of your trips are in a urban environment. The things you’re carrying go with you.
  2. Forward looking seats: now they point to the only door, or are placed around the inside. Like the back of a limo.
  3. Front glass: why would you need a front glass if you aren’t driving. Some windows are gone.
  4. Aerodynamics: most of the trips will be so slow that the benefits of improved aerodynamics are negligible. A cube is the most efficient way to maximise the inside space.
  5. Dashboard: if you aren’t driving you don’t need to know or see. The car will tell you all you need through the iPhone, for instance.

Said that, I present you, again, the Apple Car:

Maybe it even has the Apple logo prominently in the front

I can already hear the Internet roaring if Apple ever releases an actual automobile, something that, by the way, is not clear at all. Maybe Apple gets into the transportation industry through some software, platform or service. Everything is on the table. It’s even plausible that the Apple Car may be higher and without seats so the commuters/riders are standing up inside.

Consequences

This would be a car for 1–2 persons, surely not more that 3–4. Let’s keep in mind that these cars would be aimed at urban trips with short distances. Families and groups that are in need of more seats would have to take several cars. Now that you don’t need an able adult with a license this becomes easier. Adults can go in one vehicle and the kids in the other, for instance. Taking grandmother to the doctor or the kids to school is over, they can go by themselves now.

The changes in the actual materials the car is made will be important as well, with not many anti-deformation structures made of heavier, sturdier metals that increase the weight of the vehicle. As these cars will be very unlikely to get hit or even to touch another car ever, glass, carbon fibres and aluminium for the walls are more than enough. Kinda like the walls of a bus.

The surrounding industries will change as well. I’m not talking about petrol stations and dealerships, two sectors that will undergo a deep shift. Electric engines require less maintenance and fewer visits to the workshop. Also, getting rid almost to zero the chance of an accident will greatly reduce the position of car insurances.

Any questions? Tweet at me @somospostpc

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