“It's a messy question, along the lines of what do you want to be when you grow up,” Lanctot adds.
“What would make an Apple car wonderful? Zero emissions and zero fatalities? Nissan, Volvo and others are already well along the way toward addressing those twin value propositions.”
Lanctot says across the fence, Google has multiple points of entry into the auto industry including maps, self-driving algorithms, operating system software and applications.
Yet Apple has distinguished itself mainly as a hardware and design company while redefining mobile device interfaces.
“Apple could make a car or Apple could hire an ODM to make a car,” he speculates. “Or Apple could buy BMW. Seriously.”
“BMW is not a random example of a car company, any car company, as a suitable acquisition target for Apple,” Lanctot adds.
“An acquisition of a car company will enable Apple to have an immediate impact, and BMW is the most appropriate acquisition target given the extraordinary alignment between BMW and iPhone ownership.”
Additionally, Lanctot claims that the automotive industry globally is “plagued” by over-capacity or misaligned capacity.
For Lanctot, Cook is most likely disinterested in adding yet more excess capacity with all of the associated negative environmental impacts.
“BMW is expected to see compound annual production growth of 4.2 percent through 2022, based on estimates from LMC Automotive,” he adds.
“This growth - which puts BMW on a path to produce nearly three millions cars in 2022 - is an appealing prospect for Apple as is BMW’s philosophy of vehicle connectivity.”
Lanctot believes in the current market, BMW has one of the most advanced visions of vehicle connectivity for data acquisition and integration into the car owning experience and for the purposes of enhancing vehicle contextual awareness, safety and efficiency.
The question that Apple is no-doubt facing on a daily basis, though, is why. Why make a car?
“Apple can make cars, buses or airplanes if it so chooses,” Lanctot adds.
“With transportation caught in a vortex of generational disruption it's just possible that the way forward is too foggy even for Apple.
“But Apple, at least, has demonstrated repeatedly its ability to convince consumers to line up for whatever it might have on offer - with the possible exception of smartwatches.”
As a Associate Director in the Global Automotive Practice, Roger Lanctot has a powerful voice in the definition of future trends in automotive safety, powertrain, and infotainment systems. To read more of his work click here