Although the Apple Car is only a rumor at this point, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Chief Design Officer Jony Ive have landed spots on The Drive's list of The 10 Most Influential People in Automotive Technology (via Patently Apple). The Apple executives join well-known automotive industry individuals like Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, and Uri Levine, founder of popular crowd-sourced driving app Waze.
The main reason behind Ive and Cook's appearance on the spot seems to be the Apple Watch's ability to communicate with vehicles, similar to the recently launched Bentley app, with tentative references to the company's rumored ongoing work on the ultra-secret Apple Car. Jony Ive ranks sixth on the list, with The Drive referencing his influence on Apple's "cleanliness and iconoclasm" as a leader of the tech industry, and a potentially disruptive force in the car industry.
With smartphones having displaced wristwatches for many, a late-model iPhone is the best-designed thing they own. Ive’s work—via Apple’s blockbuster conferences, whose videos he narrates—introduced words like “chamfered,” “beveled,“ and “anodized” to a general American lexicon. Moreover, its cleanliness and iconoclasm—well illustrated in this scene from Legally Blonde—leads the tech pack. The best car interiors reflect that aesthetic beautifully.
Three spots up, Tim Cook came in third on the The Drive's ranking, which calls out the Apple CEO for guiding the company into support of various automotive-related software and, potentially, hardware, including Apple CarPlay, various Apple Watch compatible car apps and the rumored electric vehicle collaborations. Because of this, the site believes Apple's reach now "extends even deeper into the car world."
Steve Jobs was more than a whip-cracking captain—his turtleneck, New Balances and enthusiastic presentations were the face of the company. No one envied his replacement. Still, Tim Cook has become a competent, if quieter hand at the helm of the world’s largest company, one whose reach—with Apple Carplay, Apple Watch-based car apps, and rumors of EV collaborations—extends ever deeper into the car world.
There has been a steady stream of rumors surrounding the Apple Car for a few months now, the most recent of which point to Apple's plan to purchase "large expanses of real estate" for the project. A couple hundred Apple employees are suggested to be working on "Project Titan," which is believed to be electric-powered, potentially self-driving, and launch in 2020 at the earliest.