Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, January 20, New Media Special Telegram According to a report by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun on January 12, recently, some media reported that as a research and development result of the”Project Titan”, the United States Apple will launch the long-awaited electric car”AppleCar” in September this year. The so-called”Project Titan” refers to the autonomous vehicle research and development plan proposed by Apple. It is also reported that Apple will jointly build cars with Hon Hai Precision and Hyundai Motor, which are commissioned iPhone manufacturers.
Although there were reports two years ago that Apple is considering withdrawing from the competition in the development of electric vehicles, Apple has not commented. Regarding this report, Apple is also silent.
Even if the above rumors are true, it is still unknown whether AppleCar will appear in the form of a concrete vehicle or provide a software system including entertainment and experience services. However, considering that the company has released a series of technical achievements for electric vehicles including on-board batteries and electronic keys in recent years, participation in vehicle manufacturing should be a high probability event. The same conclusion can be drawn from the trends of Taiwanese companies undertaking Apple’s outsourcing business.
The report pointed out that once Apple starts building cars, it may have a major impact on existing car manufacturers:
First, this may turn the automotive industry into a business model similar to smartphones. Opportunity. The existing automobile industry usually adopts a vertically unified business model in which all links of R&D, production, and sales are handled by a single car company, which is often referred to as the”pyramid” model. However, the challenge that Apple brings is reflected in the horizontal division of labor. For example, Apple’s smartphones were developed in Silicon Valley, and then subcontracted. For processing companies in Asia. In other words, Apple is trying to influence the entire industry as a car company that does not own factories and machinery.
Factory and equipment are the most important factors that determine the performance and quality of automobiles-this is the golden rule that the automobile industry has been pursuing since its inception. However, under the background that the performance of the car is more determined by the software control system rather than the hardware quality, the significance and economic rationality of car companies’ huge tangible assets have also begun to shake. Once Apple’s business division model is on the right track, its competitiveness will shift to the side”without tangible assets”, and Japanese companies may face major tests by then.
Second, from another perspective, the entry barriers for the automotive industry still seem to be relatively high. The number of parts of electric vehicles is only one-third of that of fuel vehicles, and the complex processes such as fuel combustion to generate heat to drive the engine are no longer required for electric vehicles.
Many people tend to think that companies engaged in commissioned processing are all over the world, and the opportunities for startups to enter this industry have increased dramatically. However, IT giants with strong investment capabilities, especially Apple, which has a total stock market value of 9 times that of Toyota Motor, have entered the automotive industry. There are not many companies that can match it, not to mention venture capital companies, even the entire automotive industry.
In other words, the competitive landscape of the auto industry will form a battlefield between Toyota and other traditional car companies with surviving physical strength and major players such as Tesla and Apple. The reorganization and elimination process will also be further accelerate.
Third, the impact on the economic structure. The automotive market has entered a mature stage on a global scale, which is different from the iPhone era, which has expanded the smartphone market several times. If Apple wants to grow in the hardware field, it has to grab the market from existing car companies, which means that the new competition will be a zero-sum game.
I am afraid that what Apple covets is not the real world. Its ambitions extend from the hardware field represented by automobiles to the entire cyberspace. At the beginning, Apple may only provide equipment and services to help people enjoy music and entertainment in the car, and then expand to reproduce the real world in the virtual world, use blockchain technology for travel data transactions, and use digital currency for settlement And payment services. In the end, the above economic activities gave birth to an economic model in which Apple and users share prosperity in the virtual space.