Apple reportedly places order for Apple Car self-driving chip

The rumor: Apple has contracted a Korean chip maker to manufacture chip modules used for self-driving, according to The Elec (71.4% accurate).

The report…

  • The Korean chip maker, OSAT, is manufacturing test modules that will be used on the Apple Car’s processor…which will be dedicated to self-driving functionality
  • OSAT will not create the final chip, they are only for testing purposes
  • Apple has done something similar in the past with the M1 processor: contracted OSAT to build components for testing, then TSMC manufactured the final tech

Ian’s Take: While the Apple Car is undoubtedly many years away, this is real evidence that they are still working on the project and testing a self-driving function. This project is shrouded in mystery, so any concrete information is fascinating.

Apple Car likely 5-7 years away

The rumor: Apple is actively developing a self-driving vehicle, but it won’t hit the road for years to come, according to Mark Gurman (89.1% accurate).

  • “Apple Inc. will take at least half a decade to launch an autonomous, electric vehicle because development work is still at an early stage” Gurman says
  • In previous years, the project had been more focused on only developing self-driving technology
  • Other reports pegged a launch as early as September 2021

Our take: With Gurman’s wildly good track record, I take it he has the best pulse on the car project out of anyone. 2025-2027 is realistic, 2021 is not.

Apple Car battery tech is “next level,” production in 2024

The rumor: As expected, while Apple’s car project is still in development, it isn’t coming anytime soon, according to Reuters (not yet rated).

  • The battery is reportedly a monocell design, which “frees up space inside the battery pack by eliminating pouches and modules that hold battery materials”
  • A person familiar with the battery technology described it as “Next level…like the first time you saw the iPhone.”
  • Apple Car is said to feature LiDAR sensors to guide the self-driving system
  • Production delays could push the project until 2025 or later

Our take: Great story from an extremely reputable source that rarely, if ever, publishes Apple scoops like this. Apple’s battery tech is way more advanced and further along than I expected, but again, don’t expect this car before 2024 at the earliest.

Apple Car may debut in September 2021

The rumor: Apple’s top-secret, highly-anticipated car project is just under a year away from being announced, according to Economic Daily News (EDN, 36.8% accurate).

  • The report says that Apple Car production will be ramping up in the second quarter of 2021, with Apple planning an unveil in September
  • Early rumors suggest the car will be all-electric and including self-driving capabilities
  • Other analysts have suggested that a 2023-2025 timeline for Apple Car is far more realistic

Our take: EDN is the lowest-rated source that we track on our leaderboard. They’re consistently more wrong than right, and with no other source with any slight of credibility suggesting the same 2021 release date…this feels so wrong. Maybe they’re referring to some major update to CarPlay, or something else car-related?