Morgan Stanley analysts Adam Jonas and Katy Huberty — who regularly follow Tesla and Apple — claim an autonomous Apple Car could save drivers a collective 400 billion hours of “non-productive” time each year.
“What is the value of 400 billion hours a year?” they write in a note to clients. “How much value could Apple create from this time or said another way how much are consumers willing to pay to recoup this time? It’s time to start thinking about… time.”
And we thought the Apple Watch was Apple’s attempt to focus on timekeeping!
Jonas and Huberty aren’t the first people to comment on how autonomous cars will free up time on the part of their users, but it’s definitely a valuable point to reiterate.
Much of the criticism from established car manufacturers has focused on the fact that electric cars are a typically low-margin product, compared to the high-margins Apple enjoys with a device like the iPhone.
By freeing up a collective 400 billion hours of time, however, Apple has an opportunity to come up with ways to profit from time that would otherwise be spent not engaging with its devices (with the exception of CarPlay). Sure, that’s easier to imagine for a company like Google which makes money from having its ads seen by users, but we’re certain Apple can come up with one or two ideas.
In all, the story reminds me of Steve Jobs’ famous insistence on reducing the boot time for the first ever Mac. As per Andy Hertzfeld:
“Well, let’s say you can shave 10 seconds off of the boot time,” [Steve said.] “Multiply that by five million users and thats 50 million seconds, every single day. Over a year, that’s probably dozens of lifetimes. So if you make it boot ten seconds faster, you’ve saved a dozen lives. That’s really worth it, don’t you think?”
Morgan Stanley’s analysts Jonas and Huberty go on to describe a potential Apple Car as “one of the most important moments in the history of transportation.”