If you're a longtime reader of The Verge, Engadget, or any of a dozen other publications that have been following consumer tech for the past few years, you're likely familiar with Gene Munster, a research analyst with investment bank Piper Jaffray. Hoo boy, are you ever familiar with him! Apple Car Fans has the "exclusive" on new comments from Munster about the Apple's automotive ambitions, and you're going to want to tune in, because he's got the scoop.
From Apple Car Fans:
"There will be a car that you can see and order in 2019-2020," said Munster. "We don’t think it will probably be delivered until after that… maybe 2021." He added "an advantage of showing it early" will be "to hold up the market in anticipation."
And later in the report:
In terms of the most likely go to market price, Munster also has a strong opinion.
"If you look at the overall automotive industry Apple historically plays toward the high-end." The price when Apple starts selling it in 2020 or 2021 will be "around $75,000."
Sure enough, multiple auto outlets have written up the comments this week. The $75,000 number seems to come from thin air, damns the car to a Tesla Model S-esque niche, and doesn't consider the possibility that Apple is exploring alternative sales models — car sharing, ride sharing, so on. And that "2019-2020" prediction just echoes the latest reports in the media.
But here's the thing: if you've spent any time around tech journalists in the last decade, you'll notice that merely uttering the word "Gene" around them will elicit an involuntary shudder; perhaps even an F-bomb or two. You see, over the course of several years, this man put his heart and soul into singlehandedly willing an Apple television into existence. Something in his bones told him Apple could, should, and would start making giant flat screens that would totally upend the home entertainment business. And so the predictions came, quarter after quarter after quarter. Apple would launch it in 2012. Then Apple would definitely launch it in 2013. Then, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. And on every earnings call, you knew he'd ask Jobs or Cook or anyone who'd take the question when the TV was launching. (You can almost feel the eye-roll when Nilay proclaims that it's "GENE MUNSTER TIME" during a 2011 Apple earnings Q&A session liveblog.) It wasn't until last year that he finally threw in the towel.
On balance, I suspect Munster is a good analyst — he probably wouldn't be employed by a major investment bank after all this time if he wasn't, and he's made his fair share of predictions over the years that have come to bear fruit. But he is definitely best known for his hardheaded belief in the nonexistent Apple television, long after everyone else had given up on it and the tech media had basically stopped hanging stories on his quotes.
But the auto media hasn't had the pleasure of working with Gene. Get ready for a few solid years of this guy telling you stories about the Apple Car. My advice for readers and reporters alike is don't ignore him, but definitely don't trust him without a second source. You can start trusting him when that sweet 65-inch Apple 4K OLED shows up on your wall.