Steve Jobs was considering building an Apple Car as far back as 2008, the year after successfully launching the iPhone, according to a new interview with Nest CEO and iPod co-creator Tony Fadell.
Speaking with Bloomberg TV’s Emily Chang, Fadell says that he and Jobs enjoyed “a couple of walks” (Jobs’ favored way of taking meetings), talking about a possible Apple vehicle.
During these long walks, Jobs and Fadell discussed issues such as, “If we were to build a car, what would we build? What would a dashboard be? And what would this be? What would seats be? How would you fuel it or power it?”
Jobs decided not to proceed with the project at the time — but it demonstrates that a possible Apple Car isn’t a business Apple is just considering getting into now.
Back in 2008, Jobs saw potential for an Apple Car to come along and disrupt the status quo because, “the Detroit auto industry was almost dead.”
In the same interview, Fadell also describes his relationship with Jobs, noting that:
“It was very professional. There were times when it was friendly. I wouldn’t say we were friends, per se, you know, in terms of, like, hanging out. But it was very friendly [although] it was tough at times. But it was a great mentor kind of relationship at times. And there were other times when he’d call me on my crap, or I’d call him on the crap sometimes. He didn’t like that. But mostly he was, you know, like, very focused on the product and wanting to do the right thing, focused on the customer.
So our relationship was always — whether we were fighting or being friendly it was all about the best thing for the customer and the experience, which was what I loved to have. And that I would never trade that for anything. If there isn’t tension then there’s not creation. You need to have creative tension to really change things. It was a dramatic relationship.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard people say Jobs was interested in the car industry. In an interview with J. Crew CEO and Apple board member Mickey Drexler, the former Jobs confidante said that, “Steve’s dream before he died was to design an iCar” — while also boldly stating that an Apple-built vehicle would capture, “probably 50 percent of the market.”
I guess we might find out soon enough. Or by 2020, at least.