The nice thing about being a tech giant with nearly limitless access to funds is that you don’t have to constrain your interests to just those things that have proven profitable in the past; if Google kept its focus locked on search and advertising, we wouldn’t have Android, self-driving cars, or balloon-based internet. Similarly, Apple’s success is allowing the company to branch out in new directions, and going back about a year now we’ve been following reports that the company appears to be developing its own electric car. Apple’s been characteristically quiet about its automotive efforts, declining to even tease where this development effort may be headed. But at a shareholder’s meeting today, Tim Cook gave us the closest we’ve gotten yet to comment on Apple Car rumors, as he responded to an audience question.
Asked about Apple Car plans, Cook responded, “Do you remember when you were a kid, and Christmas Eve, it was so exciting, you weren’t sure what was going to be downstairs? Well, it’s going to be Christmas Eve for a while.”
We probably should over-analyze an off-the-cuff response like that, but we see at least two thematic that may be worth paying attention to.
For one, Cook’s comments may suggest that despite all the rumors going around, we’re still pretty much in the dark when it comes to Apple’s secret car research, and our expectations for what sort of product comes out of it may be off.
Then there’s that “a while” business, which could be seen as confirming reports that we’re still years and years away from any Apple Car being ready for commercial sales – one estimate gave us a 2019 date, and even that may be optimistic.
So while this doesn’t tell us much, and doesn’t even confirm that work on an Apple Car is underway, it’s still maybe the closest we’ve come to that – and that’s something.