Apple’s changing auto design without even having a car out

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Apple car truck
We're pretty sure the Apple Car won't look like this. Not a chamfer in sight.
Photo: devastatormonstertruck.com

We haven’t even gotten an official announcement of the Apple Car yet, but it looks like the company is still working its way into the automotive industry.

That’s according to the staff at car news site The Drive, which placed Apple’s chief design officer Jony Ive and CEO Tim Cook on its list of “The 10 Most Influential People in Automotive Technology.” They didn’t top the list, however; that would be crazy. But they did place higher than some people who are actually in charge of real vehicles that people are driving around right now.

But The Drive backs its decisions up pretty well.

The list of 10 includes such clear choices as Tesla’s Elon Musk and Google’s John Krafcik, who top the list at second and first, respectively. It even throws in some interesting picks like Kazunori Yamauchi, designer of Gran Turismo, the incredibly realistic, driving-sim video game series. He’s in there at Number 5.

But just below him on the list is Jony Ive, the man whose promotional voice-over work has gotten us all knowing a beveled edge when we see one. But as far as we know (officially, anyway), he’s never designed a car. So why’s he in there?

“With smartphones having displaced wristwatches for many, a late-model iPhone is the best-designed thing they own,” the entry says. “Moreover, its cleanliness and iconoclasm leads the tech pack. The best car interiors reflect that aesthetic beautifully.”

So maybe that’s a bit of a stretch; we don’t know. Consumer-tech design has definitely gotten cleaner over the years, and we suppose that we could thank Apple for that.

How about Tim Cook, though? He’s in third place below Musk and Krafcik, and again, we don’t even know what the Apple Car is going to do.

“Tim Cook has become a competent, if quieter hand [than co-founder Steve Jobs] at the helm of the world’s largest company, one whose reach — with Apple Carplay, Apple Watch-based car apps, and rumors of electric vehicle collaborations — extends ever deeper into the car world.”

CarPlay is a framework in iOS 9 that lets you plug your iPhone into select vehicles and control a variety of functions like calls, music, and navigation from your dashboard. It’s definitely a cool way to integrate your phone’s functionality with your car’s. But we aren’t sure if it quite qualifies Cook as an automotive influencer. But that’s fine; it’s not our list.

We’d like to see the actual Apple Car first, please.