Whether we're talking about existing products like Apple's infortainment intermediating CarPlay, or rumored products like a full on Apple Car, they'll be competing for attention and usage with other software companies like Google and Android Auto, and with manufacturers and their own in-car offerings. Apple's usual strategy is to fight on the experience level — to make a product that solves real problems and engenders real delight. Could that same strategy win inside the car, or inside the car industry? Sam Abuelsamid:
It's all about the total user experience and overall Apple has executed that better than anyone else in the markets in which they have chosen to compete. They aren't perfect by any means, but they have an amazing track record.
So we have an industry where user experience is critically important but the incumbent players have done a decidedly haphazard job of executing. On the other hand, we have a company that believes that executing on user experience is an absolute necessity to maximizing profitability.
Now Apple wants to enter this entirely new field of endeavor at the same time that the market is changing in a way that may well make its entire user experience-centered model, utterly irrelevant.
Sam worries, rightly, that cars-as-a-service — and their ride-share apps on our screens — will commoditize the industry to the point where Apple will see little to no value in entering it. What place is there for Apple in world of ubiquitous, potentially autonomous Uber- and Zipcar-like services?
Right now, at least, Apple seems to be gearing up for a future where their customers enjoy the best experience regardless of who owns — or rents — the screen.