Computing giants Apple are known for their iconic and forward-looking product design, so it was a big disappointment for motorists and dreamers alike when, late last year, the plug was pulled on their plans to develop an Apple car.
It seems the project will continue in a different guise, with Apple’s IT experts concentrating on the development of a self-driving system which will eventually find its place in a vehicle designed by an established car manufacturer – if all goes to (the new) plan.
It’s a massive loss for those of us who fancy the latest Apple designs, but a great opportunity to imagine what might have been – so that’s just what the people over at Click Mechanic have done, creating five imaginary Apple car designs inspired by classic Mac hardware from the past thirty years. Think of it as the Batmobile meets desktop computing.
The journey begins in 1984, when Apple released the Macintosh 128K. The angular, off-white design of the iCar Macintosh responds to those clunky early desktops that you occasionally still see in an office storeroom or Dad’s utility room. They have that sturdy look that causes IT managers and home computing nerds alike to think: “I won’t throw it out just yet, it’s sure to be useful again some day.”
Blended with the sporty look of that forward-thinking decade, it cannot help but call to mind a sexier version of the disastrous Sinclair C5.
Skip forward to 1998 and the splash of color we enjoyed with the iMac G3. Snub-nosed and smooth as a pebble, the iCar G3 is available in shades of blueberry, lime, tangerine, strawberry, and grape – and of course, you can see the engine through the back window.
The headlights are modeled on the G3’s banging front-facing speakers.
Power Mac G5
From the plastic 128k to the glassy G3, Apple have always managed to capture the zeitgeist in terms of chassis material.
They did it again with the anodized aluminum alloy of the PowerBook G4 in 2001.
Power and strength likewise characterize the vehicle the G4 has inspired, the Power Mac G5 car.
The MacBook Air is an enduring classic that continues to evolve. Lightweight and adaptable, the vehicular version borrows that clean, speedy look – although rumors that Apple have removed the CD drive from the car stereo are sure to be controversial!
As the Air user likes to flit from café to meeting room to conference center, so the driver of the iCar Air will be very much the guy or gal around town as they take those hard urban corners at an impressive pace.
Which brings us right up to present day and the jet-black glass of the iPhone7. Minimal to look at, the outsider can only imagine the engine and tremendous range of features so neatly hidden within that hyper-modern exterior.
We would be thrilled to sit behind wheel.
Apple products not only reflect the time they inhabit – they lead the way for competitors and imitators to follow, as great architects always have. So be sure to study these exercises in wishful thinking closely for a hint at the kind of machine we can expect to see next from the biggest tech company on Earth.
G. John Cole is a technology writer and digital nomad. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in Norway. Follow him on Twitter: @gjohncole