February 17, 2014
Move Over iPhone, Apple May Be Working On iCar And More
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Many teenagers likely know Apple for its iPod and iPhone. But for those who were born after 2001 it is likely that they don’t know of a time when Apple had been a struggling computer company that turned things around and became the most valuable company on the planet thanks to its game-changing devices.
However, what goes up traditionally must come down. Yet, Apple hopes to avoid this pitfall as it looks toward the road ahead. It faces increased competition in the smartphone and tablet space – the latter a market it practically created. To this end the company could diversify into other markets, including automotive and even medical devices.
SF Gate, the website for the San Francisco Chronicle, on Sunday reported that Apple is thinking bigger, much bigger than just a continued roll-out of the next iPhone or iPad. The paper reported that Adrian Perica, who heads mergers and acquisitions at Apple, has been committed to a campaign that has allowed the tech giant to snap up search engines, data analytics firms, mapping software and motion tracking chips.
These seemingly unrelated technologies could be pieces in a larger puzzle that offers a glimpse at Apple’s future plans.
Perica was hired away from Goldman Sachs in 2009 and since that time the company has quickened its acquisitions pace. The paper reported that the company disclosed via a regulatory filing that it had spent $525 million on deals in the final quarter of last year – or roughly double what it had spent the entire previous year.
One piece could see Apple looking to get into the driver’s seat and put consumers in a sort of iCar as Apple’s Perica reportedly met with Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk last spring. This sparked off rumors that Apple was considering an acquisition of the electric car company.
Apple’s move into greater partnership with the auto industry has been widely reported, and last June Apple unveiled iOS in the Cars at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June. However, Apple is not alone in partnering with the auto industry, as Google also has deep ties with companies including Audi, Toyota and notably Telsa Motors.
Neither Tesla nor Apple responded to the Chronicle for comment.
It isn’t just autos that has Apple rolling forward. SF Gate further reported Apple could be exploring the world of medical devices, notably sensor technology that could prevent heart attacks. Tomlinson Holman, an engineer who invented the THX and 10.2 surround sound formats, is now working with the tech giant to develop ways to predict heart attacks by studying the sound blood makes while it flows through the arteries.
Apple has successfully rebounded from its low point in the 1990s but the company faces increased competition in a number of categories, including smart wearables.
“Apple must increasingly rely on new products to reignite growth beyond the vision (of late founder Steve Jobs),” Bill Kreher, an analyst with Edward Jones Investments in St. Louis, was quoted via SF Gate. “They need the next big thing.”
Whether that big thing is autos or medical devices, Apple appears to be covering all bases.