Back in the days, before the iWatch, iPhone, and iPod, Apple was teaming up with a renowned car manufacturer to producer an innovative and futuristic vehicle. In documents acquired exclusively by The Lemon, Apple founder Steve Jobs was reportedly working on an “iJeep,” an SUV that was intended to revolutionize not just the segment, but the entire automotive industry.
Even if you consider yourself to be quite the Jeep fanatic, there’s a good chance that you’ve never heard of the brand’s project. That’s probably because the company kept these plans under wraps for so long, as they were fearful that another car brand might swoop in and attempt to team up with Apple. Unfortunately for all sides involved, the project barely made it past the testing phase.
Why didn’t the vehicle end up seeing the light of day? While many pundits assume that Steve Jobs’ death ultimately led to the project being put on indefinite hold, automotive expert Ima Smart, who claims she got an exclusive look at the car back in the early 2000s, has a different explanation.
“It might have been the worse vehicle I’ve ever seen,” she recently told The Lemon. “It sucked. Jeep already tries to cram in as many accessories and amenities as possible, and so does Apple. When you combine these two similar mindsets, it predictably leads to disaster.”
For starters, the two sides couldn’t agree on whether they wanted the Jeep to run on traditional fuel or electricity. The two sides ultimately came to a compromise, although it might have been for the worse. Jeep included one of their standard V6 engines beneath the hood, although the system wouldn’t activate until the vehicle’s electric motor had run “out of fuel.”
How were owners supposed to charge their iJeep? A simple USB cord would do the trick, as the vehicle’s exterior was adorned in a number of ports. While an ordinary Apple product can only be charged on one wire, Jeep and Apple cleverly designed their iJeep so it could accommodate multiple USB cords.
The result? Meh. Drivers needed to utilize each of the 50 exterior USB ports if they wanted to fully charge their iJeep in less than 12 hours. Furthermore, based on customer studies, the two companies found that consumers weren’t too keen on having to purchase yet another USB cord. Furthermore, the brands were relatively worried about the “Family Cord Fiasco,” a recent trend that has seen close-knit families viciously battle over a USB cord. If one member of the family was required to use 50 cords, it’d presumably lead to chaos.
To make matters worse, the electric engine didn’t seem to work all that well. Drivers could view the electric motor’s charge via a little battery icon on their iPad dashboard (an inclusion we’ll get to later). However, even if the battery icon indicated that there was still more than 10-percent battery life remaining, the system would slow down to dangerous levels before suddenly shutting off completely.
Adding to the issues was the electric engine’s penchant for heating up to dangerous levels. Similar to many of Apple’s other products, the electric motor would climb the temperature scales in a variety of different scenarios: brutally hot summer days, cold winter mornings, an ordinary spring day. Apple hasn’t seemed to figure out this issue on their smaller products, so many weren’t surprised when they failed to work it out on their hulking engine.
“Apple’s products are revolutionary, but they’re usually built poorly,” explained Apple expert, Al Pull. “I appreciate the ambitious endeavor, as we all do. However, I don’t see how people couldn’t have expected this project to fail based on Apple’s products alone.”
The lucky few who actually got to ride behind the wheel of the iJeep were equally unimpressed. Sure, the technology was appreciated, but these drivers found that many of Apple’s most appreciated offerings didn’t necessarily translate to a vehicle. For instance, the ability to access Siri on your smartphone is always nice, but the iJeep was designed so Siri will constantly be listening. This led to several annoyances, as occupants couldn’t hold a conversation without being interrupted by one of Siri’s prompts.
Speaking of technology, the vehicle was admittedly equipped with a number of innovative features. For instance, the driver information center that’s usually included behind the steering wheel was replaced by an iPad, as was the center “infotainment system.” While test drivers appreciated the opportunity to choose their desired application, they found that the annoying all-hearing Siri consistently opted for FaceTime.
Finally, the biggest gripe from test drivers was the listed price. While these individuals were partially impressed with everything that the iJeep had to offer, they weren’t so enthralled with the value. Similar to many of Apple’s products, the iJeep was a bit overpriced, as the brand estimated that the vehicle would go for more than $700,000.
“Considering Apple made the product, I’m not shocked it was overpriced,” said Smart. “However, no one in their right mind would purchase a $700,000 car.”
Some consumers disagree. Brad “Bromano” Romano, a current freshman at Duke, said that he’d happily own an iJeep, citing its rarity and ability to appeal to millennials. When asked how he’d afford the SUV, Romano explained that his wealthy parents could easily pay for it.
“With cash,” he elaborated.
Unfortunately for all of us, it doesn’t seem like we’ll ever get a chance to appreciate the iJeep. While the endeavor was considered to be a “passion project” for Steve Jobs, no one within Apple has shown much interest in the vehicle since his death. Similarly, considering the success of their current crop of vehicles, Jeep hasn’t shown much interest in picking up the project.
So how did the The Lemon come across these details… and why? Unfortunately, it’s not a particularly interesting story. Former homeless animal attorney Hugh Janus broke into Apple headquarters and stole some documents from a safe. Janus clearly didn’t think about his actions, as he happily handed over the documents to The Lemon. Subsequently, we notified authorities, and Mr. Janus returned to jail.
However, without his valiant efforts, we’d have never known about the iJeep.