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Gurman: if the Apple Car project had worked, ‘it would have been incredible’

In his latest “Power On” newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says if the abandoned Apple Car project had worked, “it would have been incredible.” 

Based on everything he had heard about the design and features, “it would have wowed consumers and stood out in an increasingly crowded EV market.” Here are some key highlights from his report: 

The Apple car’s circa-2020 design resembled the Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle (pictured) — a futuristic van with rounded edges — but it had dark black windows with an adjustable tint. There was all-glass sunroof, a pure white exterior and whitewall tires with a black center. The front and back were identical, so it would always look like you were driving forward. It looked like no other mass-produced vehicle — and was optimized for full, Level 5 self-driving.

Though the car’s interior changed several times, the general idea was a minimalist interface — combined with seats you’d normally see on a private jet or a limousine. Inside, it felt like you were essentially in a “contoured bubble,” I’m told. This incarnation of the car could comfortably accommodate four people, with the seats being able to shift between normal chairs, recliners and foot rests.

Many of the car designs included a giant TV in the center to show videos and handle FaceTime. Other variations added iPad-sized displays suspended from the roof to access frequent controls. Apple even went as far as devising a special air-conditioning system that would push the flow of air along the sides of the cabin — like some modern, high-end airplanes — rather than into the passenger’s face.

That wasn’t the only vision for the Apple car. An earlier design dreamed up by the legendary Jony Ive looked like a modern reincarnation of the 1950s Volkswagen microbus. It was dubbed the Bread Loaf internally. The second version was an evolution of that and looked nearly identical to the 2017 Volkswagen ID Buzz prototype.

A third variation of the Apple car kept the same overall design, but had a far more dramatic front — like a wedge pointed downward. The fourth version was the model that looked more like the Canoo and brought fresh excitement to the project in 2020. 

The car’s last major design — still a variation on the original Bread Loaf idea — traded in a sliding van door for gull-wing doors like on a Tesla Model X. Even more so than with prior iterations, it wasn’t designed for a traditional driver: The vehicle featured a front and back with such dramatic pinched curves that there was little room for front or rear windows. When Apple ultimately decided to switch from Level 5 autonomy to something around Level 2, the company needed to add back a steering wheel and pedals, as well as front and back windows. By the end, the car had two seats facing forward that could swivel

This info from Gurman is from the free edition of “Power On”. If you like it, consider subscribing to—you’ll receive the newsletter earlier and get exclusive access to a Q&A section.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.