Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number US 11642995 B1) for “movable support surfaces” — that is, a tray table for a vehicle.
About the patent
In the patent, Apple notes that tables have been provided in vehicles, such as tray tables that are coupled to a seat back and manually movable between a stored position (e.g., folded up) and an in-use position (e.g., folded down).
However, Apple says that such tables have very limited adjustability (e.g., moving between only the stored and in-use positions). Further, these tables coupled to the seat back may be moved when the occupant of the seat changes a position of the seat, not according to the desired position of the user.
Apple wants to overcome such issues. The tech giant’s idea is for a table that’s movable by various actuators that are operated in response to user inputs for adjusting the position of the table. Various other sensors and/or systems of the vehicle may be utilized in controlling movement of the table. The table may also be usable independent of a vehicle.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A support surface includes a table top, a movement stage, a movement actuator, a first sensor, a second sensor, and a controller. The movement stage is coupled to the table top and configured to couple to a structure. The movement stage is further configured to permit the table top to move in a degree of freedom.
“The movement actuator is operable to move the table top in the degree of freedom. The first sensor is for receiving a first user input. The second sensor is for receiving a second user input. The controller operates the movement actuator to move the table top according to the first user input received by the first sensor when the second user input is simultaneously received by the second sensor.”
When might we see an Apple Car?
I predict that a full self-driving Apple Car won’t roll out until 2027 or beyond. As for pricing, your average person likely won’t be able to afford the vehicle. According to Bloomberg, Apple’s consumer vehicle will start at “under US$100,000.” However, I expect that price to be barely under $100,000.
Other rumors said that Apple wanted its vehicle to come without a steering wheel or pedals, but has decided that such a plan isn’t feasible at this time. And I’ll be shocked if such an automobile is feasible by 2027.
Here’s a round-up of other rumors about the Apple Car:
° Apple currently plans to develop a vehicle that lets drivers conduct other tasks — say, watch a movie or play a game — on a freeway and be alerted with ample time to switch over to manual control if they reach city streets or encounter inclement weather.
° It will use the cloud for some AI processing.
° Apple might offer a remote command center that could assist drivers and control cars from afar during emergencies.
° Apple may also offer its own insurance program.
° Apple still hasn’t dialed in on a design for its first vehicle and the team is still working in a “pre-prototype” stage.