A portrait of Apple's co-founder Steve Jobs is seen on a BMW car as people wait for the release of Apple's new iPhone 5S and 5C, near the Apple Store at Tokyo's Ginza shopping district September 19, 2013, a day before the phones go on sale / Reuters

The vehicle will be electric, but not initially self-driving, reports claim

Apple has “committed” to working on a new car and could release it in four years, according to reports.

The electric — but not initially self-driving — car has been given the go-ahead, according to the Wall Street Journal. Apple has been mulling the possibility for more than a year but has now been given permission to massively bulk up its team and start working properly on the vehicle, according to the report.

Apple has long been rumoured to be working on such a vehicle, which reportedly has the internal codename Project Titan. The rumours have been further stoked by Apple’s huge new hiring push, bringing experts in areas including driverless cars and batteries, many of which have been hired from traditional carmakers.

The company will be hoping that the skills that have made the iPhones and other devices such a success — such as batteries and design — will also help create the new generation of cars. As electric and driverless vehicles approach, both traditional carmakers and computer manufacturers have both looked to gain a foothold in the new industry.

The company already has 600 people working on the car, according to the report, and the decision to commit to the project will see that team tripled. Though some of those employees include self-driving car experts, that functionality will likely be introduced after the car is released, according to the same report.

 

It still isn’t clear whether Apple will make the car itself, or design it and then have it made by a third-party, like an existing carmaker. Apple tends to take the latter approach with its computing devices, but most other car manufacturers have their own factories.

The Wall Street Journal report points out that 2019 is an ambitious release date for the new car, which would have to go through a huge array of tests and approvals that aren’t needed for smaller devices like phones. But the “ship date” could refer to the time that the company’s engineer approve the new product, the report says.

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