The big question on everyone’s lips at the moment with Apple is “What next?” for the giant whose share price has fallen from grace in the last few months. The company issued a record $17bn of bonds yesterday to raise money for future ventures even though it has a mammoth cash pile that the likes of Cyprus would be jealous of. The problem is the money can’t be moved back to the US due to the serious amount of tax that they will incur in doing so, as most is held overseas.
At first glance it looks worrying, but I really don’t think they have anything to worry about. After the high-profile bodge-job they made with the new maps and the subsequent firings at the company to repair the damage, the company is left with trying to fix the issue and coming out with new ideas and products to sustain their reign at the top.
Apple have begun creeping into the car market, with signings like Ferrari and Bentley using the personal assistant Siri to aid driving assistance. According to multiple sources close to the project, Apple plan to move aggressively into the in-car integration space within 2013. As more and more companies offer accessories for the car, Apple have moved away from creating accessories trying to cash into their products doing it natively, slowly removing market share from everyone else. The company has always been concerned with 2nd rate accessories being used with their products they have concentrated so much to perfect.
Apple is apparently working with car makers to update car centre consoles to work with iOS devices. The iPhone could be plugged into a car using a redesigned version of Apple Maps which would appear on the car’s built-in display in a mirror format. The benefit with this is that user will always have access to updated maps controlled by Apple and the millions of developers who could create apps for it using API’s and external info. Currently, the best offerings are from companies like Dension, which are good, but still a little limited due to the car manufacturers not properly teaming up with them. The big problem with the stock systems that come from the car manufacturers is the fact they are poorly updated and limited. Our state of the art cars, too frequently have not caught up with the advancements in tech, so mostly disappoint when you use the control system.
Apple announced at WWDC that it is working with car makers on the Eyes-Free Siri system, including BMW, Toyota, Audio, Honda, and Land Rover. It is likely that Apple is talking to the car makers to take advantage of the new Maps which they will hopefully release in June along with Siri’s car-integrated offerings.
One of the most interesting moves at Apple is the fact that the meticulous product visionary Jonathan Ive is now heading up software. He has already promised to make a complete overhaul of the look and design of iOS which some would say is overdue. The company is rumoured to be trying to finish iOS7 for June’s preview at WWDC, but no release date has been set as yet.
Apple seems to have always had an interest in the car market, with Eddie Cue now sitting on the Ferrari board of directors and Steve Jobs reportedly wanted to take on Detroit with a car design of his own….imagine that, the iCar!
This will be a very interesting sector for Apple to get into as there is so much scope for improvement and not forgetting the famous Apple-esque refinement that some of the luxury brands are missing.