Apple Inc has lent weight to speculation that the tech giant might be developing an electric car or a self-driving automobile after it registered domain names Apple.car, Apple.cars and Apple.auto.
The Cupertino, US-based maker of iPods, iPhones, iPads and iWatch has always ignored media queries on developing a possible iCar but the domain registrations hint at its ambitious plans.
Domain registry site WHOIS, which keeps track of the people or companies behind web addresses, shows that Apple registered the domains through sponsoring registrar MarkMonitor Inc. last month. However, none of the sites is currently active.
The domains could also be related to Apple CarPlay, which was introduced in 2013. The CarPlay system allows owners to use iOS in their cars by connecting their iPhones to the car stereos, and control functions such as texting, navigation and music via voice commands or by using the touch screens or steering-wheel buttons in the cars.
According to several media reports, Apple is more interested in having its own Apple Car than just getting into the car infotainment segment. The car project was rumoured to be approved by CEO Tim Cook in late 2014 and the company could launch an electric vehicle in 2019, as per the reports.
The technology blog site MacRumors, which reported on Friday that Apple has registered the new domain names, said that Apple has built a team of engineers hired from Tesla, Ford, General Motors and others to work on the project codenamed Project Titan.
If true, Apple will compete head-to-head with Elon Musk-led electric car maker Tesla Motors and Google. While Tesla is extremely popular in the electric car segment, search engine giant Google has been pushing for the self-driving car for long.
It’s not clear yet whether Apple Car would be fully autonomous, like the self-driving car Google is developing. Nevertheless, Apple’s Car plans will surely give jitters to carmakers as the company is known to be a disrupter in whichever segment it ventures into.