back to article Apple chief Cook cooks up rumours after BMW car talks, factory tour

Apple has reportedly been having secret confabs with car maker BMW – with scuttlebutt suggesting the companies flirted with the idea of a possible hook up. According to Reuters, Cupertino boss Tim Cook visited BMW's headquarters in 2014 and higher-ups at Apple were apparently taken on a tour of the facilities at the car …

  1. J. R. Hartley

    BMW & Apple

    Shit sandwich

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BMW & Apple

      or

      BMW design and build really useful things

      Apple design gadgets, but make nothing, just get Samsung and Foxcon to do the hard work for them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BMW & Apple

        Designing the hardware and software is harder work that mass producing someone else's design. Why do you think engineers make more than people who work on an assembly line?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BMW & Apple

          You think that designing and building a car like a BMW is simple?

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: BMW & Apple

      What's so interesting about this? BMW cars, among many others, use Apple Car Play.

  2. x 7

    lets not forget that BMW used to make bubble cars

    1. Tim99 Silver badge

      @x 7

      lets not forget that BMW used to make bubble cars

      and before that they made some of the most advanced fighter aircraft engines available.

  3. thomas k

    BMW was careful not to show off too much

    They probably heard about that tour of Xerox Parc Place.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BMW was careful not to show off too much

      Would you trust ANY Americans in your factory? Look at what the NSA is doing to German companies and politicians.

      Apple are great at taking other people's hard work, sexing them up a bit, then gettting someone else to actually build it. Taking ideas is the first part of the process, BMW are rightly to be concerned.

      Hey Apple, have you thought of cutting out the middle-men, just go straight to the NSA and ask them to give you BMW's blueprints?

      1. Stumpy

        Re: BMW was careful not to show off too much

        "Hey Apple, have you thought of cutting out the middle-men, just go straight to the NSA and ask them to give you BMW's blueprints?"

        ... where do you think the NSA got them from in the first place?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BMW was careful not to show off too much

          It goes both ways. If Cook talked too much about Apple's plans and gave BMW ideas that hadn't occurred to them, Apple could end up losing out. When companies are talking on this level about a future market that doesn't exist today but will be worth trillions in a couple decades they're going to be careful about revealing too much in their area of expertise. On the other hand they have to reveal enough that they are seen as a viable partner.

          If Apple chooses to pursue the self driving car market, they aren't going to want to design every part in the whole car. Just like they don't design the cellular radio chip in the iPhone but leave that to the experts at Qualcomm. They could hire a bunch of smart people and design their own, but there is no advantage for them doing so. Their "value add" for a car will be in the software and the way the car is controlled by the "driver". Obviously they'll want to put their own spin on the design (it would be interesting to see what Jony Ive thinks a car should look like) but they don't want to design all the parts, only specify what they want and leave it up the experts who know how to design windshields, seats, air conditioners and whatever.

          Trying to do everything yourself from the ground up takes a long time - just ask Elon Musk, Tesla was founded in 2003 and has yet to sell its quarter millionth car despite hefty government incentives in the US. They will need a partner to be successful - as will Google and any other Silicon Valley (or Redmond) company that tries its hand at this market. Though maybe Google will follow the Android model and design self driving software and give it away free to all the automakers, with the requirement it has a cellular connection and GPS so it can blast ads at the passengers as they approach businesses. "Perkins is just ahead, tell your car to stop at Perkins now and we'll give you a Grand Slam breakfast for all four passengers for the price of two!"

        2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: BMW was careful not to show off too much

          Wouldn't it be far easier to jost go out an buy an i3? Pull it apart and bingo you get the plans.

          I've seen all sorts of 'competitors' vehicles at research labs of a couple of car makers I've visited over the years.

          The plans are one thing but the way they are made is the big ?????

          1. Grikath

            Re: pulling it apart.

            And not knowing which design decisions were made to get to the actual object(s) of interest, you'd still be none the wiser, other than being able to copy any mistakes they'd have made....

            Apple aren't exactly known for automotive and motive power solutions, so they'd have to hire quite a team to be able to pull that one off, and avoid immedeate litigation.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: BMW was careful not to show off too much

            Why would Apple want to tear apart an i3? Do you think they bought a Blackberry and tore it apart before they built the iPhone? They don't want to build something like existing cars, but without the expertise of a car company to help them redesign the things they want to change (or tell them why something they want to change shouldn't be changed) let alone manufacture it they won't get far. Pretty sure they wouldn't be considering Foxconn to assemble these cars. They also need a dealer network, as Apple Stores will have to get a whole lot bigger if they wanted to sell cars out of them, and the Genius Bar will need to become a full fledged service center. They will need to rely on BMW's (or some other car company's) dealer/service network.

            BMW would make a good partner for Apple, but they aren't the only potential partner. Likewise, BMW may want to partner with someone who has more expertise in software and human factors engineering than they do, but Apple is not the only potential partner for them.

      2. John Miles

        Re: Would you trust ANY Americans in your factory?

        BMW obviously do as they have a plant in Greer, South Carolina

        1. Dazed and Confused

          Re: Would you trust ANY Americans in your factory?

          Unlike Apple who'd never make anything in the US let alone in Germany.

          Much better to pay someone else to make your stuff in the lowest cost production centre they can find.

          1. Tim99 Silver badge
            Gimp

            Re: Would you trust ANY Americans in your factory?

            @Dazed and Confused

            Apple confirms production Mac Pro production has started in Austin: Statesman.com.

          2. Dieter Haussmann

            Re: Would you trust ANY Americans in your factory?

            Apart from the Mac Pro which is made in USA. It would be impossible to make the popular products in the USA as you can't get the huge numbers of skilled workers into one place every day, because a) they don't exist and b) there isn't the accommodation or supply infrastructure.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @Dieter Haussmann - Building iPhones in the US

              If they built them the same way as they do in China, by having people basically assemble them by hand, what you say is true.

              I'm sure they could use robots to do the assembly, but that costs more (if it didn't Foxconn would use robots instead of humans in China) The supply issues could be overcome by shipping everything to the US, but obviously that would increase costs also.

              If "made in America" became an important consideration for electronics sold in the US Apple could certainly do it, and since they have high margins on iPhones it wouldn't hurt them nearly as much as competitors who operate on much thinner margins.

        2. ckm5

          Re: Would you trust ANY Americans in your factory?

          Not only that, but they recently announced it would become their largest factory..... Pretty much all the X vehicles are made there.

          1. P. Lee
            Facepalm

            Re: Would you trust ANY Americans in your factory?

            >Pretty much all the X vehicles are made there.

            <Offensive comment about the X series being pretend off-road cars for suckers deleted>

            Apple & BMW are both top-tier brands, but (apart from the X series) BMW do serious engineering. How long does a BMW last? How long does an iphone last? Do you think those two cultures are going to mix? You may as well call in Basil Fawlty to help.

            At least the Germans are unlikely to hook up the entertainment system to engine-management, and BMW won't suggest that the driver wear a pair of pink headphones with a big B on them.

            There's little synergy between consumer IT and cars. Bluetooth, wireless charging, NFC and external aerials are about as far as you want to go.

  4. x 7

    Apple and BMW?

    Well, they both make a model called the Mini

  5. Tromos
    Joke

    Keep well away.

    Be very wary of licensing stuff to Apple. Before you know it, they'll have invented it and be taking you to court for copying it.

  6. Nanners

    I don't get it

    why bmw? Mercedes is a much nicer car and manufacturer with plants in the U.S. Just makes no sense.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't get it

      Probably personal preference, Cook drives a BMW.

  7. Robert Grant Silver badge

    HERE Maps?

    Given Apple's farcical attempt at writing their own software, maybe they'll nab a licensing agreement from BMW to use HERE Maps instead.

    Can't wait for 2020, when all the Apple users are delighted with their local maps that don't require streaming, or whatever other thing we've had for ages turns out to be just the feature they always wanted, even though they didn't want it when it was only on other phones.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just add Rolex for perfect Brandgasm.

    I need a quiet lie down.

  9. NanoMeter

    Some car manufacturers got economic problems

    Apple might try to take over one of them.

  10. lee harvey osmond

    "light weight carbon fibre"

    Oooh no, oh dear me no, that would never do for the Apple iCar.

    Just like all the other Apple shiny, it will be ... machined from a single aluminium billet.

    If you can bend an iPhone by putting it inside your back pocket ... will you be able to bend an iCar by putting it immediately outside your back pocket?

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