The Apple Car Is Coming Sooner Than You Think

Now we know what fanboys will drive to wait in line for the iPhone 9.
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Now we know what fanboys will drive to wait in line for the iPhone 9.
Ford 021C concept car

The Wall Street Journal has gotten Apple insiders to dish on the company's plans for a car, and the word is that they're aiming for a 2019 ship date. Of course, there is long time for delays to accumulate, and advanced new cars from newcomers don't have a record of on-time arrivals (ask Tesla), so we'll call it 2020 to be safe.

Apple's car project is code-named "Titan" and the company currently has 600 people assigned to the team, the paper said. Speaking on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, "We look at a number of things along the way, and we decide to really put our energies in a few of them." That sounds like a non-denial denial. But it leaves wiggle room in case Apple changes its mind about this.

The Journal applied some good old-fashioned journalists' shoe leather to the Apple story, poring through public records from San Francisco's GoMentum Station, which is an autonomous car testing facility at a former Navy weapons station. The paper found emails from Apple requesting testing time there, and other emails to the California DMV about a meeting to discuss the state's newest regulations for autonomous vehicles.

One of the people appointed to Project Titan is DJ Novotney, an Apple veteran with a reputation for getting products shipped. This was a key metric to late Apple founder Steve Jobs who famously quipped, "Real artists ship!"

We don't know a lot more about the Project Titan car except that it probably  won't look like our Apple green photo car. That's a Ford 021C concept car dating all the way back to the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show. But wanna know a secret about it? It was designed for Ford by Australian industrial designer Marc Newson. Who Apple happens to have hired last year, and who voiced strong opinions on car design in this Wall Street Journal profile.

Photos by Ford Motor Co.