- This is only for experimental self-driving vans shuttling employees. It will have drivers to take control on demand.
- Initially Apple planned self-driving vehicle where 4 seats face each other, sunroof material that gives less hit, electrically tinted windows and holographic windshields.
- Project was abandoned because they realized "designing and building fundamental parts of a new car was not simple".
- Apple tried to partner with someone who can do manufacturing while they do design. BMW, Mercedes, Nissan - all rejected that offer.
- Ive was charged with design. Tim Cook drives BMW so he wanted to partner with them.
- VW accepted the offer because they have been beaten a lot. They will supply basic components while Apple will add others.
It surprises to me no end that a company with $100B in funds, vast experience in supply chain and ability to suck up virtually all talent is struggling so badly at a technology that is over 100 years old while Tesla with its shoestring budgets leap frogged all established players. Goes on to show that leader at the top makes all the difference in the world.
Kudos to NYT for doing investigative journalism.
Their supply chain experience is for completely different parts. The suppliers for computer and phone parts are not the same suppliers as those for engine parts, wheel parts, etc.
Apple wouldn't just need to hire the right people - they'd need to build out the factories and supplier relationships and dealer networks and everything else from scratch. Recall that Tesla was founded in 2003, and what you look at now is the product of fifteen years of corporate development - and they're still not on the level of Detroit's Big Three.
Really, Apple would need to acquire a car manufacturer, but when you look at the market caps of various car companies - GM's is $53B, Ford's is $44B, Chrysler's is $34B, BMW's is $56B, and so on - buying a controlling stake in any one of them is doable, but constitutes using quite a lot of Apple's cash reserves. It goes to reason that there'll be opposition within Apple to using that much of the cash reserves on any one bet.
I don't like the idea of Tim Cook going to BMW just because he drives and likes BMW however... I think it's a bad way to make decisions.
No, I think that's OP and you reading too much in that tidbit. The original quote was this:
BMW was long Apple’s top choice, given its focus on
high-end but mainstream products, former employees said.
Many Apple executives, including the company’s chief executive,
Timothy D. Cook, also drive BMWs.
Also, Jony Ive is a car guy, he loves Aston Martins, Bentleys, Saabs and Land Rovers and have a huge collections of them. By your logic, it'd be a "bad choice" to consider Aston Martin simply because Jony Ive loves them :)
Tesla's autopilot is a PR move to try to raise more capital. They are not and will not be a serious player in driverless cars.
What they've got is a system doing object detection. Object detection is actually one of the easiest parts of driverless cars. Planning and interaction end up being much harder and requiring a lot of data, none of which Tesla has collected. (Also, in practice you need lidar and a fully mapped road, neither of which Tesla has; we're at least a decade from the top players who are actually collecting large scale urban / suburban data from dropping the map requirement, and there's really no reason not to use lidar as the price is dropping so quickly. Both reasons Tesla's "we've got lots of data" claim are BS...)
To play devil's advocate - somehow I drove myself to work today, and the hardware I'm running is just two moderate resolution limited field of view cameras. Not an expert, but from first principles it should be possible to pilot a self-driving car with cameras only, given enough processing power and a smart enough agent. Maybe those last two aren't there in 2018 though.
This sounds like a fallacy (not sure which one). Just because you can do it does not mean a machine can. There are things that babies can do that machines can't (in 2018).
I'm not saying it won't be possible at some future date after some hypothetical breakthroughs, but we are far from it presently.
Keep the "pedantry" name calling out of this.
Lidar range is more than double visual range, in practice.
When figuring out collision avoidance paths for an object you actually end up approximating some np hard problems to find a path that won't have collisions and won't be too "careful".
This ends up being fairly computationally intensive, and adding the extra time significantly improves your planning. Doubling compute time tends to beat doubling your training dataset in terms of system quality, at this scale.
Extra time also turns a number of situations from "guaranteed kill" to "we can avoid the accident", because the car is traveling really fast and those extra seconds can be used to brake, find a new path, etc.
In visibility impaired situations, lidar and vision have different constraints and ways they fail, and the intersection of the two can significantly improve scene understanding ( see waymo's snow demo ).
In a lot of cases, path planning can be dramatically improved by having maps. If you're going into a curve and know the shape of the road, you can preload that and spend your time on more important tasks like object detection and path planning.
Etc etc etc.
This is absolutely not a domain for intuition and thought experiments. The pragmatics of the industry are highly intricate and responsive to constraints that are only visible if you've worked on this stuff.
There is something in the middle between your pairs of eyes and your decision making that makes you understand what is actually going on around you: perception/cognition.
If this was so simple as you put it (and in particular just by throwing algorithms and processing power at it), several problems would be trivial by now and we all already would have our personal digital assistants... I mean the real deal.
Well knowing I sound like "dismissive grampa" right now, and yes, we have come far and it is impressive, but I sometimes feel like us nerds/hackers/software guys tend to considerably underestimate most problems, and as consequence the intelligence and efforts of those that came before us.
Smart enough is also pretty hard, especially for edge cases. For example, imagine driving on a highway and there's a discarded grocery bag flying around. Based on the flying pattern, it's pretty easy for you to identify such an object if you've seen one before. For a deep neural network, if it hasn't seen enough examples of such objects, it'll fail to classify it properly. What will a self driving car do if it sees an unknown object in front of it while driving at highway speeds?
Look at who's at leadership positions at VW, look at the hierarchies of these old German companies. You're just looking at the money. These companies are too big to fail for the German government.
They're so comfy sitting in those chairs. They know something is wrong, but they don't really feel the heat. In the back of their minds they're just waiting for retirement and want to change as little as possible from the status quo. If they do and something goes wrong, they catch the blame. If they don't and things go wrong, their predecessor is to blame.
That won't stop them from talking about innovation and change all day long though.
In the end I won't tell you trust me, I know, I spent two years in such a place, but I can tell you that once you start changing your perspective the entire madness starts making sense.
The investment for manufacturing a modern car are huge, and you need someone like Musk no Cook to take on the challenge of starting from scratch, and the supplier market for car part is entangled into cartel like behaviour, which will be very hard to break by an outsider.
Tesla still hasn't demonstrated that they are capable of building a mid-range car profitably. And with the ongoing low production numbers for the Model 3 it seems like running a profitable company that mass produces cars is a lot harder than Tesla thought.
Maybe they just want to get into cars but also not burn money in a massive way. Like Tesla is doing.
That's not true at all. Tesla is currently failing at engineering cars, manufacturing cars and their automated driving tech is actively killing people.
And what they aren't failing at, spectacularly succeeding in fact, is in marketing. They are a household word; their cars are considered the top of the heap as electrics go.
Rejected rightly so. That’s pretty smug of Apple. Seems they are forgetting about “design for manufacture”. I can see some hooty tooty Apple “designer” interacting with a group of grouchy, old automotive engineers.
“Initially Apple planned self-driving vehicle where 4 seats face each other, sunroof material that gives less hit, electrically tinted windows and holographic windshields.
- Project was abandoned because they realized "designing and building fundamental parts of a new car was not simple".“
This is the attitude of Silicon Valley. Ignoring the “fluff” for some grandeous bullshit. They’d have a holographic windshield that crashed and rebooted constantly. Tesla is learning this the hard way, as they can’t even get their body panels to fit correctly. And I’m supposed to trust them with self driving?
Time will tell, I wish Apple the best in any regard. While I personally do not trust self-driving cars fully as a developer (software can and does fail for any given reason, and even car components aren't reliable / long lived enough in some cases, anyone else have that pesky tire air light come on recently? You'd think that sensor would just work kinda thing...) I don't mind some of the tech that could be created out of it, like warning a driver when they're trying to shift to a lane with a car too close for comfort, and other things. In other cases I wish we had self parking cars be much more common, some people just do not park right at all.
Many of my friends had a 4 and used it for years and none ever complained about reception issues. (They did complain that the button broke after years of use, a real issue of the 4, fixed in the 4S, but with no media frency behind it.)
Who are you to decide what is an issue to people? The phones never got fixed (which would be the only fair way to fix this beside giving the money back). It was most definitely an issue for me and I'll never buy Apple until they swap the broken phones or give buyers all their money back.
It makes no difference if other phones did it as well. That is an extremely poor excuse.
It's a match made in heaven.
Who else made software that runs the engine in cheat-mode when under emission test, which is what VW was caught doing?
Google Maps's Moat - Justin O'Beirne
Only then fix Siri and then try your hand at an automated car. Maps and Siri will not kill someone. But honestly if Apple can not figure out maps or Siri how on Earth would they do a car?
Here is a great link that breaks it down compared to Google Maps. When did Apple decide the goal no longer is to be the best?
Do not even get me started on Siri. I find this defense of Apple baffling? Why is it acceptable to do a poor job at a product?
I'm aware (and I'm sure Apple is aware) that Google Maps has more features. AFAIK Apple has never in their history thought that having the most features makes their product the best.
I'm also unsure Apple wants Maps to "beat" Google. My understanding is that based on a requirement for data from users as part of the licensing of Google Maps, Apple felt they're had to create and ship their own default maps app to preserve customer's privacy and default experience. That doesn't mean they're are against customers opting into a Google product.
Most other products have a plateau where adding more features ceases to make the product better.
Apple Maps definitely has improved a lot since when it was introduced in 2012.
I'd say Apple Maps did its job well... It got Google to release Google Maps FOR iOS.
I guess they can get away with it because iOS isn't a monopoly, but I think it's a dumb move on their part.
I am old and been an Apple fan for a very long time. So I just do not get when it became acceptable at Apple to have poor products? They use to strive to provide the best and most importantly the best user experience.
If I can say take me to X and my mapping takes me to X that is the ideal user experience. Versus with Apple I say take me to X and it wants to take me to Y which is 300 miles away!
Saying take me to X and it tells me that it will be closed before I get there is a far better user experience.
And please do not tell me it is because of no access to data. Read their privacy agreement.
For some odd reason it is now acceptable and even defended for Apple to provide poor products.
Now if they do self driving vehicles and they kill people are we going to say well it is good enough? Or say well that is because they do not have data?
Here is a great site that lays out how Apple Maps is NOT closing the gap but instead the gap is growing. Why on earth does this not bother Apple?
This isn't true at all. When I was in Japan recently I was so grateful I owned an iPhone with Apple maps, as Google maps could never send me to the correct location, and Apple maps got it right every time.
You are mischaracterizing Apple maps. Try it for a month. That one blog post that everyone cites here doesn't tell the whole story. Also, I get significant peace of mind knowing that I'm not being fed POI data based on who is the highest bidder the way things work in Waze and GMaps.
None of this is a reflection on Apple's abilities in Data Science in which they've done some outstanding work on with (a) differential privacy with iOS and (b) FaceID.
And just because the Maps and Siri teams have issues of there own doesn't mean Apple has to stop everything they are doing until it is fixed. They can walk and chew gum at the same time.
Where Apple fails miserably is search, and local place names. Apple Maps data will often show results in a different country instead of whatever I meant to search for in my city. Trying to find businesses if you don’t know the full official names is practically impossible.
Apple Maps works great if you know the official address, but it’s pretty much useless for anything else.
It's still not quite up there with Google Map's location knowledge, but it's certainly not the often-innacurate mess it once was.
The big difference I see now days comes down to how quickly the data is updated. To test this, take a newly opened (or closed) restaurant or store and compare Apple and Google's knowledge of the location.
Google tends to have it almost immediately, presumably because Google provides tools for the business owners to enter the information directly. But Apple's knowledge can lag behind by a few weeks, or more for more obscure things. This is presumably due to their dependence on third-party data providers like Yelp.
It will just do crazy stuff. Ask for something and want you to drive, literally, to something 300 miles away. It is easily confused when you use something by it's name.
But trying to use Apple Maps on holiday in Europe was almost useless.
Then so many other things. Google Maps will tell you if the place will be open or closed when you will get there for example.
Apple use to stand for providing the best products. The best user experience. Somehow that has been lost and become acceptable to do a poor job.
Same with Siri. It is just an awful user experience compared to using the Google Assistant.
Guess my question is why is this acceptable? Look at their privacy agreement and you approve them collecting all kinds of data so that is not it. Heck Apple even forces you to accept them collecting data on people you interact with in the US.
"When you share your content with family and friends using Apple products, send gift certificates and products, or invite others to participate in Apple services or forums, Apple may collect the information you provide about those people such as name, mailing address, email address, and phone number. Apple will use such information to fulfill your requests, provide the relevant product or service, or for anti-fraud purposes."
I am tired of Apple getting a pass on offering a poor user experience. What they use to be all about.
Also, with regards to the blog link, why would you care about how detailed the buildings on the map are for daily use? And Google will tell me if something will be closed by the time I get there. But it's usually wrong for me.
I remember when Apple approach was to be the best.
To be fair to Apple, tehy are very responsive if you report. I quite often use the in-Map tool for reporting a problem with a location and these days get a 'Its been fixed' within a few days or a week.
It has now been long enough for them to get it better and worries me that it is just now acceptable at Apple.
Siri is nowhere near as bad as you suggest. You are exaggerating to make a point.
Assistant is all about UX and the Apple of the past would do everything they could to be the best. I mean way better versus so far behind.
They have had plenty of time now to make Apple Maps better. Here is a great comparison.
Why is this acceptable?
> Apple of the past would do everything they could to be the best.
Sigh... Which Apple? Scott? Jobs I/Markkula? Sculley? Spindler? Amelio? Jobs II? You are aware that this all started before 2007? The Performa series, released under Spindlers watch, were arguably the lowest point in Apple's history. So let's not get too hyperbolic about the state of Siri, which is considerably better than you allude to. As to accuracy, Google links into the biggest search engine in the world, and Google seem to be ethically challenged when examining that data.
> They have had plenty of time now to make Apple Maps better. Here is a great comparison.
That is subjective. Objectively, Apples maps are significantly better than they were upon release 6 years ago. As I already pointed out, Google have a 7 year head start in an area that is neither parties core business, so good enough is all they need to be. Google Maps are useless to me as they cannot find my address. Apple maps can. For me, in and around London, Apple's maps have been objectively better than Googles. YMMV.
As to the article; building footprints make for better mapping? That's, like, your opinion man...
They strived to provide the best UX.
It is very disappointing to see.
>“Relative to Google Maps, Apple Maps estimated trip times were on average 8% longer (i.e worse) and Waze estimates are 3% shorter (i.e. better),” Grabowski writes. “Using Apple Maps, I on average arrived 1% faster than initially estimated, versus 2% slower with Google Maps and 11% slower with Waze. In other words, Apple sandbags its estimates so that users on average arrive at the predicted time or slightly sooner. Google and Waze are overly optimistic in their predictions and thus their users arrive later than expected.”
Depends on where you are. Goole maps are surprisingly poor in parts of London.
For some reason it is now acceptable to provide a bad user experience and Apple Maps is a perfect example compared to Waze or Google Maps. But the gap is increasing.
It is the same with Siri. So will it be acceptable if an Apple self driving cars kills people?
I just do not get the excuses for Apple? Why have they moved from what they use to stand for?
Apple has the ability to collect all the same data as Google but actually more. Apple actually forces you to agree to them collecting data on people you interact with.
I quote from the agreement.
"When you share your content with family and friends using Apple products, send gift certificates and products, or invite others to participate in Apple services or forums, Apple may collect the information you provide about those people such as name, mailing address, email address, and phone number. "
I get Apple is great at marketing but lets work in reality.
My issue is NOT that the Apple services are sub par but rather when did it become acceptable at Apple to have second rate user experiences?
Why are they given a pass?
Heck they can collect who you associate with. I quote from the document.
Historically been a big Apple hardware user but have to admit less and less. Most being replaced by Google hardware. Do carry both a Pixel 2 XL and a iPhone now as just could wait no longer for Apple to fix their products.
Replaced my Mac with a Pixel Book also for example. As well as our AirPort Extremes with Google WiFi.
I find it baffling that it is now acceptable to have poor products. The Apple that I loved for so many years NEVER settled for being good enough.
Some of your examples make sense but why replace your Airport with a (data mining built-in) Google WiFi? Why not a known good provider like e.g. Ubiquiti? I use their Amplifi and it works great, no "cloud" crap and their brand is reputable.
As you can see Google agreement in reality is more limited than Apple. Google does not collect personal data from people you interact with that have not agreed like Apple.
That was my point.
BTW, have Google WiFi and a fantastic product. Replaced our AirPort Extremes and highly recommend.
What I also love is Google provides a dashboard on everything they collect all in one place and you can remove or download if you want. I am in the US and really wish Apple would provide the same transparency as Google.
I tend to be for little government but if Apple is not going to do it on their own like Google then think government should consider forcing them to.
“Apple TV service will share viewing data with networks, report claims”
Read more at http://www.trustedreviews.com/news/apple-tv-service-will-sha...
Is really bothersome with Apple. I would like the ability to instead remove my data so they can not share it.
Plus still really bothers me that Apple handed over all their user data in China to the government.
"Campaign targets Apple over privacy betrayal for Chinese iCloud users"
Versus Google decided to leave China instead of giving up their users data.
I am more into the facts versus narratives and marketing.
> We collect information about your activity in our services, which we use to do things like recommend a YouTube video you might like. The activity information we collect may include:
And within that list is:
> People with whom you communicate or share content
I think this one little bullet point is way more vague than Apples and less limiting.
Apple privacy agreement allows them to collect data on my wife, kids and others I interact with.
I am pretty OK with my data being at Google. But NOT ok with data being collected from people I interact with.
Then on top Google has their dashboard in the US with everything they collect in one place and the ability to remove or download.
We have nothing like it in the US with Apple and that really bothers me. What data do they have on my kids or friends since I interact with them?
I carry both an iPhone and a Pixel 2 XL. But several of my kids have iPhones so when on holiday will share my location in iMessages but have no idea what Apple is doing with the data. No transparency like Google.
Then the entire thing where Apple handed all their customer data over to the China government have a huge issue with. I like Google approach where the China government tried to hack Gmail accounts and Google indicated not acceptable and left the country.
Seems like Apple was willing to give up their users data for the mighty buck.
To be clear I do NOT think it is acceptable to be collecting data on people I interact with! These people should be able to control if their data is collected and their control of it getting collected should be respected!
Some might not want Apple collecting it and I should never get to say it is OK for others.
My brother for example is very, very against any company having his data. He does not use an iPhone. Do not think he uses any Apple products.
Apple does use OpenStreetMap data but they barely update it.
Share-Alike: If you publicly use any adapted version of this database, or works produced from an adapted database, you must also offer that adapted database under the ODbL.
This pissed me off so much it drove me to getting a pixel 2 so I could use google maps with android auto and I am 100% happy with the decision. I tried the htc one and samsung galaxy s2 a few years ago but found them clunky and slow so i switch back to the iphone. The pixel 2 though is just as quick and intuitive as my iphone was except now I get first rate support for google services. I totally recommend you try it out.
Edit: I just got a call on my pixel 2 and it said it was a suspected spammer so i ignored and unsurprisingly it left some foreign language voicemail. Thinking about it now, I'm surprised that is the first spam call I have received since switching 2 weeks ago as I use to get those usually every day on my iphone. So extra bonus for those that hate spam calls, it looks like the pixel 2 does some pretty good spam filtering for you.
Siri may not be perfect but she’s pretty darn good and, frankly, the only trustworthy assistant on the market.
IMO, navigation is a different story. I think navigation is one area where the up-to-date accurate information matters, and it seems Google has advantages in this part, thanks to Waze and its massive geo data. Also, Apple navigation UI really needs some critical improvements, like first-person perspective.
Google has picked up some “Wazy” over-aggressive routing tendencies and over optimizes at times. I think they have the problem of having too much actionable information about traffic and not enough about the road. Neither google or Waze groks traffic lights in particular.
For one route I take, if there is a 5 minute traffic jam, it will always reroute me onto a path that has long traffic lights and left turns that add 10-15m to the trip.
Apple reroutes around accidents and closures typically.
It got to the point that I'm double-checking all Gmaps directions on other services. And if I know area well enough, I don't need Gmaps at all..
But my issue is the bigger picture. I just do not get why it is acceptable at Apple to provide a poor user experience with Siri and Apple Maps compared to competitors?
Another problem is Google still can't get house numbering correctly. They just don't care and get be off by 0.5km in some developments. What is worst, they don't tell they don't know exact location. They pretend to guesstimate it and sometimes it goes really wrong.
Sometimes their guesstimation messes up the address itself too. For example, recently I was looking for XYZ square #123. They routed me to XYZ street #123 instead. Which was in a different neighbourhood.
All in all, neither Google nor Apple beats old good Garmin and local mapping with UI brought straight from early 00s.
Both Apple and Google and care about smaller markets or less visited locations. If 90% of their customers are happy 90% of time, I guess that's enough for them :/
It is all about providing the optimal user experience which was something really important to Apple in the past.
Why not try to provide the best user experience? Well that is how Apple use to be. Siri and mapping are important applications that are all about user experience. They should have been in the wheelhouse of Apple to innovate and provide something way better than anyone else.
Here is a great link that just lays out how much worse the user experience with Apple Maps compared to Google Maps.
Does Apple think this is acceptable?
It’s not fair to say that Apple are slacking when an amazing experience depends of solving incredibly hard computing problems that have nothing to do with product design. They’re competing against Google, a company whose entire mission is to organise and data and turn it into products.
The issue is how large of a gap. But I would also challenge Apple Maps is #2. I would put Wave as #2 and Apple a distant #3. Here is a great breakdown to show how far behind Apple really is.
It is even worse with Siri.
BTW, the goal is UX.
I just do not get why things changed such that it is acceptable for Apple to provide second rated UX.
Same with Siri.
UX is user experience. So me being able to just say a business name and the app tell me if I can get there before close and send me to the actual place is UX.
Versus having to use addresses in Apple Maps to get it to be accurate and even then not so much.
Compared to what? A cat? Siri is worst-of-class technology in terms of voice-based assistant.
I carry both Apple's latest phone and Google's latest phone, and it would never occur to me to use Siri for a voice task other than "set timer" (so it buzzes on my watch too).
It's true that Apple is the only company playing this game that I might trust with an in-home always-connected assistant appliance like HomePod/Alexa/Google-whatever, but since Siri utterly sucks, I do not.
I do not get why it is acceptable now for Apple to provide an inferior user experience? Why do people defend it?
If people really need it broken down here is a great link.
On Siri it seems like people finally agree that Siri is horrible compared to the Google Assistant. Also why acceptable?
This is about self driving cars. Apple cars kill people will that also be acceptable? Why?
For better or worse that's the road Apple chose.
Think you might be surprised of what data Apple is able to collect. The one that most bothers me is quoted here.
Apple is great at marketing but was hoping we could have a discussion on reality.
Apple has access to all the same data. Plus Apple even takes the right to collect data on people you interact with. I quote
Wish we could end this narrative that is just not true. Heck Apple told the TV networks they would share your viewing data on the Apple TV.
"Apple TV service will share viewing data with networks, report claims"
Google will target ads in some cases but they are not giving your data away to a third party.
Plus Apple handing over all their users data in China has to be the biggest privacy betrayal example with any big tech company in the US. Have we ever had anything else like it?
Ironically China gov was hacking Gmail accounts and Google instead chose to leave China.
I get marketing but hope on HN we can use reality instead of marketing narratives.
But at this point, I think the only ways to catch up is to gobble up a few AI powered startups with their cash.
If this fails, I don't think 'Apple has little experience with building AI-driven software' will be a prominent reason. It would in a simulated world where Apple was not allowed hire any expertise, acquire any companies or technology and spend none of its cash, but could only divert the engineers who worked on Siri to this project. Sure. But that just isn't the case.
They don't. Android was an acquisition and so was Waymo.
Now, many years later and with normal amounts of turn over? That's a different question all together.
What they bought likely doesn't even exist anymore in the current code base.
Additionally, the origin of iOS is based on Apple's acquisition of NeXT.
Is good enough for the cast majority of users but not as slick and quite as feature rich as the competitors? Sure.
But the privacy angle means it’s the only game in town as far as I’m concerned
Apple keeps that history tied to a unique user identifier for six months but doesn't let the user see it.
A bit? The gap is large and only getting larger by the year.
Google has been working on understanding humans for 20 years and building global scale services. It's no coincidence that it is moving much faster than Apple in this space.
VW have significant experience of producing cars for other manufacturers, and put a lot of effort into developing reusable "platforms". They are super popular in Europe- hitting the exact sweet spot between practicality and desirability (Top Gear described the Golf as "the car that everybody buys with their own money"). The forthcoming ID range is perhaps the strongest lineup of EVs in any manufacturer's pipeline. They need more traction in the US, and it therefore makes sense to partner with the arguably coolest US corporation.
But jokes aside I wouldn't be so sure about this. DHL has famously chosen StreetScooter instead of VW to built their last-mile fleet and the top brass in VW were also famously upset about this.
Also sales of the first gen Golf EV weren't even of the same order as sales of e.g. the LEAF - perhaps because VW insisted on keeping diesels alive longer than it made any sense.
They're still making way more money than the leaf on Diesels. Giving up on your cash cows is the most misguided business advice I've ever seen.
You should use the money from your cash cows to innovate. And wishing for more innovation on the EV side would be nice for advertisement mostly. EVs just aren't mass market yet.
It's good to have the EV knowledge ready when you need it. So far I would agree with you. But how many EVs you sell has little to do with how much you know about the technology.
Was that cash cow worth a global scandal, billions lost in unsaleable inventory(hundred thousands) and fines($25bln) though? I mean - they lost roughly two years of net income here and had several executives land in prison.
Nissan on the other hand invested roughly 20% of that($4bln) to develop the LEAF.
Perhaps giving up on diesels before it was too late constituted sound advice after all?
I mean it's kind of like asking GM if it was worth it to not update their ignitions after they found out they were faulty and killed a few people (and got off easy because US company ;)). It's not a problem with ignition switch technology itself, but just this case of bad management decisions.
You can invest 4bn in EV technology, that would be smart, but those 4bn have to be made somewhere. In this case you can make this with Diesels and reinvest in EV. This is not some SV startup that will just waste its investors cash reserves until it goes broke.
Sure - but sooner or later there's a time.
The people who wouldn't give up their buggy whip manufacturing capability didn't win in the long run. (Or for more recent examples perhaps - serial/parallel ports, floppy drives, or removable phone batteries...)
Diesel passenger cars had a brief window of regulatory and technological advantage. Those started to close (eg: the tightening NOx regs and the tech and infrastructure improvements for electric cars), so the players in that game needed to change (eg: Mercedes' BluTec urea injection), get out of the game (like Toyota stopping diesel car sales in EU), or cheat (like VW chose to do).
My guess is - over the long term, Toyota's strategy will end up the best out of those choices...
What’s you definition of mass market?
So worldwide production of vehicles is around 70million per year. VW group is making 10 million of these.
Assuming lower competition (because newer market), the worldwide market for EVs would have to be around 30-40 million vehicles per year to support a company the size of VW. EVs are currently at 1.1 million vehicles sold per year.
So the better alternative is to keep selling the cars you know how to make until it becomes unprofitable. Right now your EV market is so tiny that basically you could just research it and not even sell the cars and still be ready for when they actually constitute a big enough part of the market.
Norway is currently at 37% of all new vehicles sold, San Jose is at 13% "on the road", 20% of americans are going to go electric for their next purchase (http://www.ktvu.com/news/ktvu-local-news/electric-vehicles-i...)
The market for EVs is kind of sort of there already.
Any reason this is substantial news? People choose other vehicles over VW all the time, it's normally down to price.
> perhaps because VW insisted on keeping diesels alive longer than it made any sense.
Anything to back up this statement? They seem to have been doing well lately (https://www.ft.com/content/6e31d4e2-fb5f-11e7-9b32-d7d59aace...)
Yes, because they've already conquered a decent part of the market:
> Anything to back up this statement?
Um, diesel scandal? People in jail? Brand image hurt? Isn't this enough?
Reference: I‘ve owned two VWs and an Audi.
Also: Independent from current market value and imagining the law wouldn't exist they'd still have to pay quite a surplus on the market value and then have major trouble in handling a company of that size.
(Edit: oh I missed that the law has been changed since the Porsche takeover story ...)
Spend some on moon shots, making OS X dominant, start a cloud hosting company, consumer cloud
Something history will say and Apple lost their lead because they did nothing with their cash, just like we have hind sight stories about Sony, Kodak, IBM, AT&T/bell and that rail road company
The bottleneck is coordination.
You start off with a few people reporting to a few bosses... all the signals are strong. Stupidity is minimized.
As a company grows, the distance between top and bottom stretches. It’s like nerves getting stretched thin and unused... eventually the signal is severed.
That’s the bottleneck for pretty much every big company. Apple can’t throw 5 billion at another moon shot because they are barely in control of the 5 billion dollar projects they are already running.
If they had another VP-ready candidate they could throw $5 billion at, they would already be doing that. Between wearables, AR, IOT, and AI they have plenty of well specified goals that are core to their product line.
That "biggest" claim is based on a Cnet article, which is based on a ZeroHedge article, and they just state it as a self-evident fact, that Bridgewater is the "biggest" hedge fund.
And it's again not clear that Braeburn is a hedge fund. (It's very composed of many smaller funds anyway, each with different risk profiles.)
That said, yes, Apple's cash is absolutely not just sitting in Tim Cook's basement.
If you'd try to take over VW you'd need to put significantly more money on the table. (if the majority shareholders were at all willing to sell).
IIRC in the aftermath several analysts stepped forward saying the entire approach was flawed and was extremely unlikely to work out from the outset; Porsche committed some strategic mistakes later on in the process, which did not improve things.
A search on the phrase get confirming news like this:
I think what Steve Jobs said about focus is important though. The company needs to focus on it's core strengths and innovate in these markets. http://www.casestudyinc.com/apples-four-quadrant-product-gri...
Not a good heuristic, as that describes the Apple Watch.
(Though it wasn't derivative; its contemporaries existed almost exclusively off the back of a torrent of leaks about the future Apple product. Competitors knew about it long before it was launched and raced ahead with their own junk.)
(Also I don't think the Apple Watch is boring, but it is niche. The particular niche I am fascinated with is healthcare. It's possible that within a decade or two, their Watch product could be highly disruptive.)
Who knows where they will take ar and self driving? I would like to see what they come up with... they certainly have enough money to find out.
Vehicle electronics packages and AR would seem to be two areas that could benefit from refinement as the underlying technology becomes available.
One of the next iPhones will have eye tracking and high quality 6dof (positional) tracking. Those two features basically turn your phone/iPad into a hand held portal into AR/VR.
The hand held form factor will be at least as big as the HMD form factor... probably bigger honestly.
Apple has prototyped this kind of experience with Pokémon Go. There is no company better positioned to take the AR market than Apple. In all likelihood your next iPhone will be the world’s dominant AR platform.
This is not fanboying... I think industrial AR and HMDs are very interesting. It’s just clear to me that Apple has the audience in both users and app developers to deliver both sides of this marketplace much faster than anyone else. And it’s also clear to me that handheld has major advantages over HMDs that will especially affect the consumer market.
If Apple releases an AR headset, you can bet it'll basically be Google Glasses, but good.
But now EVERY major car manufacturer is hot for self-driving vars. Intel, NVidia, Waymo, Uber, Lyft, countless startups etc. I can’t see how Apple can contribute here something meaningful, or make money, I think they should drop the project.
A lot of SV companies only know software. And in software it's easy to fix bugs on the product later. Something that's impossible for mechanical things. That's why they all think it's easy to build your own car.
A car is fairly simple, but mass producing it, and getting all the suppliers to work together properly is hard.
Car manufacturers on the other hand have the tendency to treat software like hardware, because the leaders come from hardware. This leads to cultural problems with creating software.
What's hard is (a) building lots of cars as Tesla is finding out and (b) building a perfect self driving car. Now Apple is one of the best companies in the world at manufacturing and as we've seen with FaceID they have a strong grasp of integrating neural networks into commercial products.
So I would never underestimate Apple of all companies.
More about Torc Robotics, founded by Virginia Tech autonomous vehicle competition team:
I can see why a self driving car appeals to Apple since Apple's expertise is integrating software and hardware in a high quality way but I don't see this as something the need to do to not be left behind.
Amazon is working on it.
I am not saying it can't be done. But Apple has been quite bad at machine learning so far.
Wait for someone to walk in the door with a design that Philips rejected?
Instead, Apple has signed a deal with Volkswagen to turn some of the carmaker’s new T6 Transporter vans into Apple’s self-driving shuttles for employees — a project that is behind schedule and consuming nearly all of the Apple car team’s attention, said three people familiar with the project.
This is more like "we give up, but will do a symbolic project so we don't look too stupid."
This is harder to do than the web/mobile crowd thought. This is hard real time high-reliability, like avionics. Google/Waymo gets this. Most of the others don't. So far, Tesla, Uber, Volvo, and Apple have failed. Not sure about Cruise yet, but I saw one of their vehicles get stuck behind a double-parked car in SF and the human had to take over.
There's a difference between a product and a company by the way.
It's a good match in terms of synergy, but I don't see it doing much to grow the customer base of either company even if it might grow the revenue per customer. A term I've used for it in the past is "choir mining" where you keep squeezing your existing customers.
Not sure about US, but here in New Zealand they don't work so well.
I try Apple Maps ~once in 6 months, They are definitely getting better and better, but still no comparison to Google Maps.