Have you heard? Apple has hit platinum unicorn, becoming the world’s first trillion dollar company.
Worth over a trillion dollars and with $285 billion in CASH lying around, it seems that Apple has several fortunes worth of “I have no idea how to spend this much money.”
Well, lucky for Apple, we have a few ideas!
APPLE’S MOBILITY MELODRAMA
It’s been an open secret that Apple has been trying to get into the mobility space for years. Apple car rumors have been swirling for as long as we can remember. How close are they? Have they given up?
Frankly, we don’t car!
CAR: A MOBILITY DINOSAUR
They are 4-6 TONS of metal and glass that only carry at most a few hundred pounds of payload. They spend most of their time parked and unutilized. The require billions in oil and infrastructure. And the one thing they’re supposed to be good at, getting us from point A to point B quickly, they also do not do. Since cars are so big, when everyone has a car, everyone sits in traffic and stops at stoplights. So a vehicle designed to go 90 mph is almost always averaging speeds way, way slower. Oh and they pollute like nobody’s business, kill 1+ million people each year, steam up the planet with CO2 emissions, and…well, isn’t that bloodly enough??
Electric cars and AV solve some of these issues. But fundamentally, neither automation nor electrification can solve the car’s insanely terrible form factor. Not even Elon can save it in the long term.
And in the age of climate change, diminishing natural resources, global urbanization, and with many cities already starting to ban their use, the car will collapse under its own weight.
APPLE, THE DISRUPTOR
Apple needs to remember how it became so dominant.
Steve Jobs’ maniacal attention to detail, marketing prowess, exceptional design, yes. But disruption was a huge part of the equation.
With the iPod and iTunes, Apple disrupted the entire music and CD industry. And with the iPhone and iPad, they disrupted the desktop computer.
Apple famously doesn’t do something first. But when it does, it is polished and it is with enormous vision.
TIME TO DISRUPT MOBILITY
If you’ve been following along so far, our idea should now seem obvious.
Since Apple has been trying, and so far failing, to get into the mobility space, since the technology they’ve been trying to develop so far, the car, sucks, and since there are new, disruptive mobility options that are just now showing their true promise, Apple should get into the little electric vehicle game.
The explosion of electric scooters, electric bikes, and other types of little electric vehicles has only just begun. Their introduction in various markets have already disrupted the 1-2 mile car sharing game, forcing Uber and Lyft to buy or invest in electric bike/scooter sharing companies.
Additionally, Google Ventures and Alphabet, Apple’s arch rivals, have also thrown their hat in the ring with a sizable investment in Lime.
By this point, it should be painfully obvious that Apple should get into the little electric vehicle market.
A FEW ITEMS FOR APPLE’S MOBILITY SHOPPING CART
Here are a few recommendations we have for Tim Cook:
Segway: Yes, Segway is just finishing off a giant funding round. Probably poised to become the 21st century Ford, it’s still definitely worth considering!
- Visionary founder who saw the little electric vehicle disruption coming twenty years ago. He didn’t get the form factor right, but his fundamental analysis was on point
- Patents, patents, patents. Segway has lot of ‘em
- Sleek design, meticulous engineering of all of their products
- Scooters, self balancing wheels, and electric unicycles
- End-to-end control: Segway developers it’s own technology, software, and hardware, as Apple does
- Segway Robotics: little electric vehicle autonomy and 1st/last mile delivery technology
- Feel good story of buying back an American company that is now Chinese-owned
- Their founder has said that he is setting his sights on disrupting the car
- Great user experience (something that Apple prides itself on), both in-app and in the real world.
- California based startup
- Mobility as a service, buying Bird would bag one of the leading dockless electric vehicle sharing companies that has just gone international
- A founder/CEO Rob Cotter with the rare combination of deeply original foresight, a trove of domain expertise, and incredible mastery of execution, and a Jobsian, purpose-driven design methodology
- An iconic mobility machine with incredible engineering
- When winter comes, dockless bike/scooter sharing companies are going to want to have weather protected pods in their fleet
- Light electric delivery vehicles, for the ever-growing online retail market
- Software and hardware integration
- The Model 3 of electric bikes
- A strong European market
- Incredible industrial design with invisible integrated batteries, over-the-air software updates, a wealth of anti-theft features
FLYING WAY PAST THE $1 TRILLION MARK
With Segway, Bird, VanMoof, and Organic Transit, Apple would have a trove of various little electric vehicle form factors (electric scooters, self-balancing wheels, bikes, pods, and delivery vehicles), a built-in network of little vehicle sharing, and little vehicle autonomy and delivery capabilities.
When the car is but a distant memory, used (like horses) for very niche purposes by the super rich, for road trips, or for joy rides, little electric vehicles will be the primary mode of urban mobility.
If Apple so chooses, it could be poised to absolutely dominate the mobility space over the next century and fly way past their current $1 trillion dollar mark, by getting into the multi-trillion dollar global micro-mobility space!
During Anna Wintour’s interview at Wired 25, Apple’s Jony Ive reflected on technology and its unintended consequences such as the ways technology can change human behavior and communication for the worse, where he (surprisingly) gave this poignant statement about automobiles:
“The way our environment and context affects the way that we relate to each other.
And so I think when you’re face to face with somebody, there’s a whole set of behaviors that are acceptable.
…I noticed how people’s behavior deteriorated when they were behind the wheel of a car, and people were generally ruder and less polite.
The more you remove people, I think communication can become very transaction and perhaps not the kindest.”
Given this important observation, and given all the other unintended consequences of cars we listed above, it is even more important that Apple abandon Project Titan, likely a car-centric project, and embrace human scale, human friendly micromobility in a major way.
A heavyweight such as Apple would add major momentum in helping humanity act better, live better, as well as help us avert climate change, clear our polluted skies, stop unnecessary energy wars, solve traffic, and save millions from car crash deaths.