Apple aims to release its first car in 2019, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal's Daisuke Wakabayashi. The company is referring to this as a "committed project" internally, the report says, and plans to triple the number of people working on it. The initiative, being called Project Titan, consists of 600 people. Although many reports have suggested that Apple is working on a self-driving car, the company's first vehicle likely won't be fully autonomous, writes Wakabayashi, citing people familiar with the company's plans.
While Apple is said to be targeting a 2019 launch, it's possible we'll have to wait a little longer. As the report notes, building a car from scratch is complex, and those familiar with Apple's plans were skeptical that the company would be able to hit that deadline.
The report comes after Apple had met with officials from California's Department of Motor Vehicles to discuss the state's autonomous vehicle regulations. The Guardian reported in August that Apple had begun seeking facilities for testing autonomous vehicles.
The Journal first reported that Apple had planned to develop its own electric car in February. Since then the company has made high-profile hires, including Fiat Chrysler's Doug Betts and autonomous-vehicle researcher Paul Furgale. In February, an Apple employee sent an email to Business Insider saying that Apple was working on a project that would "give Tesla a run for its money."
At this point for the record, it is worth mentioning a bit of Apple’s Car history. In early February, a mysterious van leased to Apple was spotted driving around Bay Area streets. The van had a camera rig attached to it with multiple cameras, leading to speculation that Apple was using it to develop a product similar to Google Street View. More outlandish speculation ranged towards the possibility of a self-driving vehicle, but it was later determined that the vans have drivers.Just days after the van was first spotted, an Apple employee emailed Business Insider, suggesting Apple was working on a project that would "give Tesla a run for its money." The source said that Tesla employees were "jumping ship" to work on a project at Apple that was "too exciting to pass up." That tantalizing hint led several media sites to dig deep into Apple's plans, and in mid-February, Financial Times learned that Apple was recruiting automotive technology and vehicle design experts to work in a "top-secret research lab." That piece highlighted Apple's hiring of former Mercedes-Benz Research and Development exec Johann Jungwirth, and pointed out Apple's efforts to research automotive products.
Financial Times and other media sources speculated that Apple was perhaps developing an advanced software platform to build upon what it introduced with CarPlay because a full-on car project sounded unbelievable, but just hours later, The Wall Street Journal launched a figurative bomb. Apple is indeed working on creating an electric vehicle, said the site, a project that it started exploring last year.
In March of 2015, Apple expanded the trademark coverage of the "Apple" name and Apple logo in Switzerland and Mexico to include vehicles, but various other trademark applications over the years have included protection under International Class 12 (covering vehicles and their accessories) so it is not clear if the new trademark expansion is related to the Apple Car.