A new report today from Taiwan is banging the drum loudly that Apple's Project Titan is alive and well and finally moving to a new phase according to various supply chain sources including automotive.
Apple has reportedly been, on an ongoing basis, continuing to poach Tesla and other car factory executives and research and development engineers. More interestingly, the Digitimes report states that "Apple has also announced in recent months that it would be opening a plant in the U.S. and begin preliminary talks with the observing global auto electronics supply chain." I must have missed the memo on that development.
Digitimes further noted that "It is worth noting that in recent months, the automotive electronics and other related supply chains have been rumored to be Apple's low-key promotion of the Apple Car program, with some component manufacturers saying that apple Car plans have not stopped, and have been moving frequently, including the continued poaching of Tesla and other car manufacturers and research and development engineers, rapidly pulling up research and development technology and accumulating the power of electric vehicle patents.
According to the report, Apple has been developing production plans and has begun evaluating global vehicle electronics supply chain upstream and downstream to further assess whether it meets the current stage of the technical specifications, quotations and future technology growth momentum.
At present, supply chain component makers are saying that the Apple Car model is similar to a Tesla model. If this is an area of interest to you, read the full Digitimes report here.
Some of what the report is claiming is rather interesting, though at times the report veers so far off the track that I'm not sure if the writer is speculating or keeping to what Apple's supply chain is actually revealing.
While TSMC and Hon Hai are huge Apple supply chain partners that happen to be expanding into the automotive industry, it's not been established if Apple is working with these partners in a meaningful way at this juncture.
True, TSMC has published a webpage covering "TSMC's Industry-leading Automotive Electronics Platform" that could assist in Apple's plans for an Apple Car – And Foxconn announced an expansion of its automotive business in October.
More specifically, the October Bloomberg report further noted that Foxconn announced "its first electric vehicle chassis as well as a software platform that is aimed at helping EV makers deliver models to the market faster. The company also outlined plans to release a solid-state battery by 2024 that could potentially displace the more commonly used lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles."
Revelations regarding Apple's Project Titan from a patent's perspective is non-stop weekly. That's a lot of expensive engineering work with a purpose in mind.
For now, however, while the news from Digitimes is both interesting and note worthy, I think it'll take a series of more solid reports on the advancement of Project Titan for us to begin seeing a definitive move by Apple into operating or involving itself in an actual car plant. That's just a step too far at this point in time to take seriously.