Apple Bets on AI Over Cars By Scrapping Secret Auto Project

Apple’s decision to shutter its electric and autonomous vehicle ambitions represents a major strategic shift. After years of work and billions invested, Apple is giving up on the dream of producing the “ultimate mobile device” – the Apple Car. Instead, the company will refocus its future on AI and mixed reality technology.

According to insiders, Apple executives finally pulled the plug on the troubled “Project Titan” this month as hurdles mounted. While work on underlying self-driving car hardware will cease, some of that talent is being redirected to bolster Apple’s artificial intelligence division.

For Apple, AI now takes priority over entering the automotive market. The calculus is clear – even failed AI initiatives could still support Apple’s core device and services ecosystem. But sinking billions into an unsuccessful car play would become a money pit.

China’s Li Auto CEO Li Xiang argued Apple made the right call: “If Apple succeeds in consumer-facing AI, it could become a trillion-dollar company; even if AI fails, it could still be a trillion-dollar company. AI is set to become the top-level gateway for all devices, services, applications, and transactions, making it a crucial battleground for Apple.”

Li Xiang further points out that mastery of AI is essential for the auto industry anyway. While electrification is just the first step, AI will be the ultimate game changer. AI also aligns better with Apple’s strengths in software and system integration versus complex auto manufacturing.

With competition in AI intensifying from rivals like Google and Microsoft, Apple likely concluded cars were an unacceptable distraction. AI promises to transform everything from smartphones to smart homes, making it the bigger prize. Though Apple has the resources to pursue both fronts, focusing on one high-risk gambit makes strategic sense.

For now, expect Apple to expand its suite of AI offerings while cutting losses on the car front. It’s a major turning point after years of rumors and development, but betting on transformative AI over autos better plays to Apple’s core strengths.

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Max Hyland
Max Hyland
Long form contributor Apple iPhone, iPad, watch reviews, opinion, editorial

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