Your smartphone and your car could someday come from the same company. The Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 13 (subscription required) that Apple has assigned "several hundred employees" to work on an Apple-branded vehicle.g
The news comes less than a year after Apple unveiled its CarPlay automotive multimedia platform. One source told WSJ that the project, code-named "Titan," will result in a car that resembles a minivan. The newspaper notes that Apple often creates prototypes of new technologies and products without ever building them, but sources indicated that the project's scale and seniority suggest the company is serious about it.
Still, it could take years to bring such a car to market unless Apple is already far into development or has a deal with an established automaker to share parts or a platform. It often takes an automaker five years and more than $1 billion to develop and market a car from scratch; that's including everything from factory tooling to certifying through a swath of federal safety standards. That's before it's even crash-tested by third parties.
Apple has the money to do it, having reported $178 billion in cash as of late 2014, according to WSJ. An Apple car wouldn't be the first to emerge from California's Silicon Valley. Tesla is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., about 10 miles from Apple's Cupertino offices. It builds the Model S in Fremont, just across the San Francisco Bay. And Google, which introduced a small fleet of self-driving prototypes in 2014, is headquartered in Mountain View — just minutes from both companies.