Apple & iAuto Rumors Suggest Possibilities

There's talk that Apple may buy supercar maker McLaren.

The rumor mill and news feed has been humming with headlines about a potential deal.  Some report discussions are underway, and others say McLaren denies those reports.

However, there seems to be more fire than smoke. According to a recent report from the Financial Times:

The California technology group, which has been working on a self-driving electric vehicle for more than two years, is considering a full takeover of McLaren or a strategic investment, according to three people briefed on the negotiations who said talks started several months ago.

However it shakes out, it's not such a stretch to think something like that has been on the minds of Apple executives for a while. 

We've already seen how Apple has transformed the way we work, live, listen to music, and connect via the cloud. It has reshaped the computing world and glued us to our handheld devices. Getting behind our steering wheels is not so far-fetched, especially now as converged technology is packaged under the Internet of Things umbrella; car makers and technology companies need each other if they want to wow end-users.

Apple has already laid some ground work in this direction. The company is said to be building an electric car or an electric self-driving car (the rumors about that “top secret” project seem to go either way). And, let's not forget that just a few months it invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing.

And, McLaren isn't your ordinary, every day car maker. It owns the McLaren Formula One team, and makes cutting edge race and luxury cars that run on advanced technology and electronics. The engineering expertise stacked into one of their cars and the amount of real-time data these cars churn out about the driver, the raceway conditions, the tires, the engine and gas usage is eye candy for any technology company.

As TechCrunch points out, it may not even be the fancy cars Apple is salivating over; it may be the company's consulting arm, McLaren's Applied Technologies (MAT) that Apple is lusting over. MAT has successfully taken the best practices from the racing industry and applied them to other sectors, including healthcare monitoring, airport scheduling and professional cycling, according to the report.

McLaren also has innovated in the areas of car materials, propulsion design, system integration and one-off manufacturing process, and has a driving simulator, noted The Guardian. Access to this know-how could influence how Apples moves ahead with its car designs and strategy.

Even if this deal doesn't grow through, the likelihood of seeing cross-industry partnerships will increase. Mobile technology, connectivity and data collection is shaping many industries and fostering greater interdependencies.  It's just a matter of time before we start hearing more match up like these.

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