Before Apple launched the CarPlay in 2014, it partnered with Volkswagen to integrate the iPhone into the Beetle. It was known as the iBeetle, and it came with a docking station for your iPhone — drivers could download a special Volkswagen app on the iPhone to access features such as engine diagnostics, fuel economy, navigation, and hands-free phone calls. Basically, the iBeetle was like driving a car with CarPlay before it was officially released.
But Apple’s relationship with Volkswagen didn’t just end with the iBeetle. After Apple’s partnership talks with Mercedes Benz and BMW to help it make a self-driving electric vehicle failed to materialize, it was Volkswagen that came to the rescue (via New York Times). Apple teamed up with Volkswagen to install its autonomous software in the Transporter T6 van for testing purposes, so it was only used to shuttle Apple’s employees.
Going by their relationship history, it’s possible that Volkswagen and Apple could team up again to make the Apple car. “Volkswagen is the most likely EV partner for Apple,” Daniel Ives, the managing director and equity research analyst at Wedbush Securities, told Bloomberg. Ives also said that Volkswagen could be an advantage for Apple since it’s making major strides in the EV market — and Apple’s car could be an EV. However, Volkswagen’s CEO is not sure if Apple will go ahead with its plan to make a car, but he’s certain it will expand in the car software market (via Reuters).