Download your commute

Google Vehicle prototypeApple is a notoriously secretive company but the Wall Street Journal revealed (behind the pay wall) this week that the company have hundreds of engineers working on an electric car known as Titan. Apple are also apparently testing a self-driving car.

If they do launch a car (and that’s surely a BIG if, at this stage) it’ll be another example of Apple not inventing a product category but joining late and massively disrupting it. They did the same with MP3 music (think iPod), mobile phones (iPhone) and tablet computers with the iPad.

Commentators are saying that Apple should buy a car company and add innovation, rather than starting from scratch and take years to launch to the public. Elon Musk’s tech-darling, Tesla appears to be a brilliant fit – both companies are design focused, use batteries to their fullest, are innovators thinking about sustainability, and are aimed at mid-high end.

Regardless of what happens, it’s clear from the action of several camps that self-driving cars will become a reality. The component technical parts already exist. Google have already proven their car can self-navigate and the UK has it’s own version.

Given our vast commutes, the collective time we’ll all spend sitting in a metal/plastic cage twiddling our thumbs will be huge. Self-driving cars will ‘create’ more semi-free time in our days, albeit sedentary. Enter yet more technology; more screen time.

And by screen, don’t be thinking of using your puny phone when you’ve got that massive windscreen to take advantage of with a retina display on the inside. Email and Facebook would initially be thought of as winners but the sudo-Internet world of the App Stores will be the real victor.

You won’t type into a browser – incidentally, that URL was registered 10 years ago this month, easy to forget how young this amazing tech is. Your downloaded TV shows and movies will be watched through an app. Social is through apps. Video chat is through apps. Games are through apps. Apps rule in this new non-browsing Internet world.

It’s in Google’s and Apple’s commercial interest to increase our screen time (thus using more apps) and in lieu of programming us to sleep less, our journey minutes and hours are ripe for the picking. Especially when they can sell us the story in a lovely CSR bundle of road safety and fuel efficiency. That’s the very definition of a win-win.


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