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The Apple Car was reportedly dubbed ‘the Bread Loaf’

A 2020 prototype of the so-called “Apple Car” was dubbed “the Bread Loaf” for its looks, according to a Bloomberg report on Wednesday.

In a deep dive into the costly project, which Apple canceled last month, the report described the vehicle as “a white minivan with rounded sides, an all-glass roof, sliding doors, and whitewall tires [that] was designed to comfortably seat four people and inspired by the classic flower-power Volkswagen microbus.”

The idea was to make it fully driverless, designed without a steering wheel and pedals but fitted with a video-game-style controller or iPhone app “for driving at low speed as a backup,” according to Bloomberg.

Dubbed “the Bread Loaf” by some working on the project, the intention was to launch the vehicle in 2025 with “a giant TV screen, a powerful audio system, and windows that adjusted their own tint.” The cabin would have featured “club seating like a private plane, and passengers would be able to turn some of the seats into recliners and footrests.”

The report also said that although Apple started work on the Apple Car in 2014, the idea to build such a vehicle had already been raised six years earlier by Steve Jobs. The Apple co-founder, who led the company from 1997 until shortly before his untimely death in 2011, announced to colleagues in 2008 that Apple “should have dominant technologies in all of the spaces in which people spent time: at home, at work and on the go,” according to Bloomberg.

The idea seemed particularly attractive to Jobs following the 2008 financial crisis. With U.S. automakers struggling to survive in the wake of the crash, Jobs apparently floated the idea of “acquiring General Motors for pennies on the dollar.” The idea was soon shelved, partly because Jobs wanted to go all in on promoting and improving the iPhone, which had launched a year earlier.

It wasn’t until six years later — with Tim Cook having taken over from Jobs as CEO — that Apple once again turned its attention to building an Apple Car.

Notably, before creating any prototypes, Apple also looked again at the idea of acquiring an automaker, this time Tesla, which in 2014 was still finding its way in the electric-car business and which then was worth a fraction of what it is today.

Despite a leading Apple executive meeting Tesla CEO Elon Musk a number of times to discuss the matter, Cook, who’d succeeded Jobs three years earlier, decided to end talks, possibly because Apple still wasn’t sure about its long-term ambitions for the project. A later collaboration with Mercedes-Benz was also called off.

Apple’s work on creating a vehicle, codenamed Project Titan, ultimately failed partly because of indecision on a variety of fronts, Bloomberg claimed. Some of those working on it had always thought it was doomed, reportedly calling it “the Titanic disaster.” Certainly, if Apple does ever to return to the idea of building a car, it won’t be under Cook’s stewardship.

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Trevor Mogg
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