Apple May Be Buying McLaren, But That Doesn’t Mean The iCar Is Coming

By: 09.21.16

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McLaren is best known to the public for their McLaren supercars and Formula One vehicles, but the brand’s interests go much deeper. McLaren has its fingers in everything from toothpaste manufacturing to, weirdly enough, high-end catering. And it’s about to get even more interesting, now that rumors are going around that Apple is considering buying McLaren.

Despite the odd image of the iPhone and the McLaren F1 sitting next to each other, it makes more sense than you might think. McLaren’s supercars are flashy, but the real prize for Apple would be McLaren Applied Technologies. McLaren’s automotive expertise has spun out over the years into a number of other fields — ranging from solar panel engineering to data and electronics work for drilling platforms to the complex electronics sitting under the hoods of virtually every vehicle racing in NASCAR and Formula One events. McLaren has more in common with aerospace giants like Boeing than it does with automotive manufacturers like Ford.

Rumors have gone around for years that Apple is working on a car of some sort, of course, although nothing has ever come of these rumors. McLaren’s key ability, and why it’s so popular, is that it’s very good at building and refining systems, using data and electronics to constantly improve and address problems before they start. It doesn’t matter if the goal of the system is better clams at your party or ripping around a track at record-breaking speeds. Buying a company like McLaren just to build a car would be thinking far too small, and Apple’s leadership wouldn’t buy a company to waste its strengths. That isn’t to say Apple might not introduce a car, or more likely a control system for cars, if it does buy McLaren, but make no mistake: If this sale goes through, Apple has far more in mind than just putting another self-driving car on the road.

(Via The Financial Times)

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