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There have been rumors of an Apple iCar for much longer than five years. But it was five years ago that there was enough heat under them for a German newspaper to report that Steve Jobs and Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn had met to discuss the idea. A year later another German outlet printed a photo of a VW concept (pitured) alongside an iPhone, and a columnist in the New York Times kindly asked Steve Jobs to save Detroit.

But did the iCar ever really exist as more than an idea? Mickey Drexler is the CEO of J. Crew and sits on the board of Apple Computer, and at a recent conference in New York he said that Steve Jobs' "dream before he died was to design an iCar." Drexler doesn't say when Jobs had this dream, whether it was just before he died or so long ago that it could substantiate the ancient rumors. No matter, Drexler said "He never did design it."

The edited video of Drexler's comments is posted below. And know that this doesn't mean the rumors, nor the iCar itself, are dead.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 25 Comments
      stevefazek
      • 2 Years Ago
      http://onscreencars.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/the-homer.jpg
      Stew
      • 2 Years Ago
      It would have been an interesting thing to see. Mr. Jobs had a vision for a product and stuck to it, he wouldn't accept 'we can't do it because...." However, with cars you have compromises, as long as you want to sell it as road legal. Pesky crash protection, emissions certifications, etc.
        The Wasp
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Stew
        Apple products have compromises too, they just are very successful at putting the focus on the differentiators instead of the compromises. One things for sure, if Apple/Jobs designed a car, you wouldn't hear them bitching about how safety regulations add so much weight cars cannot be efficient/perform well. They would get it done (...or maybe find a legislative loophole).
      stuckonthebridge
      • 2 Years Ago
      Steve Jobs dreamed of designing a car? I doubt there would be much designing involved on his part. It would be more like "Hey, I want this, MAKE IT" and all the engineers and designers do all the hard work while Mr Jobs takes full credit, much like all of Apple's products.
        stevefazek
        • 2 Years Ago
        @stuckonthebridge
        you forgot the temper tantrums and laptop throwing
        breakfastburrito
        • 2 Years Ago
        @stuckonthebridge
        Truth be told, not one of those designers or engineers would have made the iPhone, without Jobs telling them to do it. love him or hate him - he made things happen.
        breakfastburrito
        • 2 Years Ago
        @stuckonthebridge
        Truth be told, not one of those designers or engineers would have made the iPhone, without Jobs telling them to do it. love him or hate him - he made things happen.
      DanDaMan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Waiting in line to buy an icar? Or worst waiting in line to get it fixed at the Genius Garage? No thanks Steve!
      Myself
      • 2 Years Ago
      Apple pairing with VW? Boy, folks at Wolfsburg must be desparate for attention to come with such a crap. Pairing with VW would devaluate Apple brand.
        1STH
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Myself
        WRONG. VW gets aesthetics right...unlike whatever you likely drive.
          Matt
          • 2 Years Ago
          @1STH
          Lol. VW owns some of the greatest looking cars on the road. Awesome ignorance, myself.
      The Wasp
      • 2 Years Ago
      Certainly there are many things Apple could teach to the automotive manufacturers -- for example, you don't need 'the best' product, you just need to convince consumers that the product is unique and there's nothing like it (nothing even worthy of being discussed in the same sentence). That would be quite tough in an established industry when the existing players already have longstanding reputations and consumers often have multi-generational buying habits. I imagine the most Apple-like brands/vehicles would be Saturn (rip), maybe Subaru or the Fiat 500. I say Saturn because it had a kind of quirky personality and a bit of environmental compassion [wrapped up in a much larger company]. I say Subaru because the brand has existed for a long time as an alternative kind of car -- aside from being consistently AWD (99% of the time), they're not really much better/different than the competition...and loyal buyers are okay with that. And the Fiat 500...this one is a bit of a cheap shot. For most people, the car sells on appearance/name alone.
        Camaroman101
        • 2 Years Ago
        @The Wasp
        selling a car is quite a bit different and more complicated than selling a phone or mp3 player
          rlog100
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Camaroman101
          With the quality of some of the auto manufacturer's marketing campaigns that are allowed, their bosses must believe otherwise.
          The Wasp
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Camaroman101
          That's certainly true -- however, I think there are a significant number of people who would like buying a car to be as simple as buying a phone/mp3 player. Lots of people really don't care what's on the inside or how the machine works, they just want it to look right and perform the basic tasks well.
      Nacon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ew... just no.... No. God no. That's what VW is for, ok? Just leave auto market alone unless you got some better MPG or even Gas-free clean energy to prove of something worthy on highway speed.
      M
      • 2 Years Ago
      All of the competition also runs on 4 wheels, we must sue the crap out of them. Oh, wait... Enough already!
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Polly Prissy Pants
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can see it now - a $90,000 Scion iQ. It's revolutionary!
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        pixelaided
        • 2 Years Ago
        Not a fanboy, but I've heard this one before. The Mac: It seems absurd now, but there was a time when some critics thought the Mac would be a complete failure. They considered the mouse-driven interface "Useless." Ponder that one for a bit. "Awkward," "Not easy to learn," and of course, "Costs too much" were other 1984-era complaints leveled at Apple's latest creation. The iMac: "No floppy drive?!?" was the echoing cry among the tech world in 1998. Add to that the iMac's hermetically-sealed case and not particularly upgrade-friendly components, and once again, tech critics and build-it-yourself users who had been used to beige towers predicted the iMac would never catch on. The iPod: Let's go back to October 23, 2001, and get Slashdot's now-famous opinion of the just-announced iPod: "No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame." The comments that follow are even better. "I don't see many sales in the future of iPod." The iPhone: Tech critic John Dvorak said of the iPhone, "I'd advise people to cover their eyes. You are not going to like what you'll see." A former CEO of Palm said, "We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in." And who could forget Steve Ballmer of Microsoft, perhaps the best-remembered critic of the iPhone: "There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." Ballmer claimed Apple would be lucky to get 2-3% cellphone marketshare. http://www.tuaw.com/2010/03/10/dont-trust-the-critics-four-apple-products-they-thought-would/ Yes, a car is different. I get it. But with the right partner, who knows? The company has show to be a wee bit innovative.
          alex-pl
          • 2 Years Ago
          @pixelaided
          All of the opinions you wrote were pretty rational, and it took some cult following in certain groups to propel Apple to position they have today. To get in car business they'd have to get a proper partner that has experience in selling exquisite and premium cars, BMW and Porsche comes to mind. But then, do anyone really see Jobs' Apple in as equal or lesser partner in joint venture?
      Lavell Riddle
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wait isn't it already an i car? Just its designed by BMW... (I know I know bad taste)
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