If you remember the article I wrote in “The Pessimist,” our annual satirical issue, I joked briefly about Apple announcing the new iPhone 5G:SUV. But I’ve been thinking lately: What if it were true?
This week, Apple announced the iPhone 5 and as usual, the tech world went bananas over it. But what if Apple instead announced the new iCar, or iAuto?
Just as Apple revolutionized the portable music player and later the smartphone over the course of the last decade, Apple would single-handedly change the way we drive and buy cars.
It would be “the iPhone you can drive!” (Though we’d hope Apple’s advertising team would come up with something a bit more clever than that.) It would have WiFi and wireless 4G access. It can hands-free call, text, and even have its own fork of the iOS operating system allowing thousands of apps to be used. Siri would be our onboard GPS navigator, and might even be able to drive the car herself!
Later models would also include a flux capacitor allowing time-travel with built-in “Paradox Protection.” Great Scott!
It will have iTunes support to manage our stored music, movies, games, and other content we would load to it. But this raises the issue of distracted driving.
Traffic fatalities from cellphone use while driving are a growing problem. This would mean Apple, or the Department of Transportation would have to regulate more closely the apps it would allow for the iCar. Perhaps there would be two categories: apps for the driver, and apps for the passenger.
Driver apps would include mostly navigation, while passengers would be able to cue up movies, play games, and keep themselves occupied, but the driver would be able to control the master volume or have the option to turn all it all off if it got too distracting.
If Apple made a car, it would sell like hot cakes. Even if it cost tens of thousands more than other cars just like it, people would eat it up. Today’s cars have WiFi, app support and the like, but Apple’s iCar would pave the way, showing everyone else how it should be done.
The Apple-infused automobile seems like a far-off pipe dream, and you’d be in good company if you thought this idea was way too far-fetched to be true. But just as far-fetched was the idea that a second-rate computer maker would go on to become the leading tech company in the world over the course of the 2000s.
And let’s not forget that Google has been experimenting with self-driving car technology which is currently street-legal in Nevada. Tick-tock, Tim Cook!
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