Earlier this week, news broke that the 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera would carry Apple (AAPL) CarPlay, rather than Google’s (GOOGL, GOOG) Android Auto. MotorTrend’s Senior Features Editor, Jonny Lieberman, first reported the news after a visit with Porsche in Germany last month.
At first, you might think that Porsche’s decision to install Apple CarPlay rather than Android Auto was probably motivated more by money than anything else. However, money apparently had nothing to do with it.
According to Lieberman, at the “deep background seminar” he’d attended, Porsche explained that the reason for choosing CarPlay over Android Auto was simply because Apple’s product required only one piece of data: whether the car was moving or stationary.
Conversely, Google’s Android Auto arrangement would require Porsche to hand over quite a bit of data about the vehicle. Details such as speed, temperature, throttle position, and RPMs would be collected and delivered to Google HQ. “Basically Google wants a complete OBD2 dump whenever someone activates Android Auto,” Lieberman said.
What Is Porsche Worried About?
The issue here is not the protection of Porsche’s customers’ personal data, but rather the protection of its own proprietary intellectual property. So, to be clear, this isn’t Porsche making a statement or taking a stand in today’s post-Snowden anti-spying world.
Instead, Porsche is simply looking to prevent Google from collecting performance data about the latest and greatest 911 Carrera. Obviously, there’s nothing to prevent the Mountainview goliath from snagging one of the vehicles when they’re finally on the market, but at least Porsche can stop the mass collection of data from all of them at once.
Is Google Really Competing With Porsche?
In a way, yes.
Google’s self-driving prototype car couldn’t be further from Porsche’s turbocharged 911 Carrera. The Google Car (yes, that’s its name, and no, it doesn’t have a cool code name) “looks like a Roomba, and sounds like one, too,” according to Alex Davies, a Wired journalist who was recently invited for a ride in one.
While Google’s prototype most definitely won’t be stealing any 911 Carrera customers, the data that would have otherwise been collected if Android Auto had been installed in the 911s might have allowed Google to further advance its self-driving car project.
That would have given Google an even further edge over Porsche, which has been quietly working on its own autonomous driving system since 2011, dubbed InnoDrive. By no means as advanced as Google’s project, Porsche’s InnoDrive is apparently making impressive progress.
Apple CarPlay allows Porsche to provide next-generation infotainment features in the 2017 911 without the risk of divulging mass performance statistics and related data about one of the most sought-after sportscars in the world.
Bottom Line for Porsche and Apple CarPlay
At this point, Google’s lead in the race to develop an autonomous vehicle is so large that only the LED tail lights of its Roomba-esque little car are visible. However, that doesn’t mean that Porsche won’t ever be a formidable competitor. Indeed, the decision to install Apple CarPlay as opposed to Android Auto shows the forward-thinking mentality of Porsche management.
AAPL investors won’t likely see a giant bump in Apple stock prices when Porsche’s 2017 models arrive. But, the presence of CarPlay further reinforces the established correlation between AAPL and wealth, success, and enviable status. That, in and of itself, is another notch in Apple’s belt that will continue to support AAPL stock.
As of this writing, Greg Gambone did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.