The Road Not Taken: Apple's Missed Chance on Tesla's Electric Dream

By Kevin Armstrong
Apple Bows out of EV Race
Apple Bows out of EV Race

In the high-stakes game of technological innovation and market disruption, Tesla has come out on top despite the odds. Meanwhile, Apple Inc.'s recent decision to cancel its electric car project, Project Titan, serves as a poignant reminder of what might have been. What would’ve happened if Tim Cook met with Elon Musk?

Given its success, it’s easy to forget where Tesla came from. Still, when Apple fails to pull it off, it reflects on the potential strategic missteps of tech giants when faced with groundbreaking opportunities.

Apple's Missed Chance

Apple decided not to make electric cars, even though it had the money and history of shaking up markets. This choice shows they didn't want to stray too far from what the company is good at, even if it meant missing out on a big opportunity. But what did they leave on the table? Apple has some of the brightest minds and the resources to create the unimaginable. Yet Apple’s wonder team could not figure out how to get the technology right and the price point under $100,000 even with razor-thin margins.

Again, that shows what Tesla has been able to do. Not only building amazing cars but also reconstructing the manufacturing process, developing battery technology, and turning the automotive world on its head. Many of these pieces were already in place when Musk was in his “darkest days” with Tesla. Model 3 was a challenge that almost killed Tesla, and Musk claims he has PTSD from the experience. However, he was ready to hand all that technology, knowledge, and manufacturing to Apple for a bargain price.

The Road Not Taken: Apple's Strategic Pivot

Despite its vast resources and history of disruptive innovation, Apple's decision to shelve Project Titan suggests a reluctance to venture too far from its core competencies, even in the face of a potentially market-defining opportunity. While pragmatic, this pivot away from electric vehicles may be viewed through the lens of history as a missed chance to redefine another industry.

It evokes the question: Could Apple have mirrored Tesla's success in revolutionizing the automotive industry had it embraced the same level of audacity and vision that Musk demonstrated? The answer is yes, but Apple reverted to its core strengths, which it has had obvious success. Perhaps it would've continued if the company were more desperate and needed a product to drive the stock price up and rattle the tech world. But Apple is doing just fine without cars.

While this could be considered a win for Tesla and other EV manufacturers, which have avoided a significant new competitor on the field, it may be a bit of a setback. Apple, like Tesla did, would’ve brought a refreshing take to the automotive industry. We can only imagine what the company had in store. Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy. An Apple car would’ve helped that mission.

Tesla Is Removing Steam Gaming in New Model S and Model X Vehicles

By Karan Singh

Tesla is no longer including Steam support in any of its newer Model S and Model X vehicles, according to messages received by customers who are awaiting deliveries of the flagship vehicles.

Tesla previously introduced the Steam beta to newer versions of the Model S and Model X refreshes which had 16GB of RAM as part of the 2022 Holiday Update. This update didn’t support slightly older vehicles with only 8GB of RAM, but a retrofit was available for $2,000 USD.

Tesla No Longer Supporting Dedicated GPUs?

The Cybertruck also did not receive a dedicated graphic processing unit (GPU), with many people noting that they did not have access to Steam on their Foundation-series Cybertrucks and GreenTheOnly later confirmed the Cybertruck did not include a GPU. The Cybertruck also shipped with only 8GB of RAM, matching the Model 3 and Model Y MCU 3 versions based on AMD Ryzen chips.

This could be an indication that Tesla is phasing out the GPUs, as well as the larger RAM packages that came bundled with their top-end vehicles, likely due to cost-cutting, hardware streamlining, and optimization.

Tesla is removing Steam support on newer vehicles
Tesla is removing Steam support on newer vehicles
Randall

Future of Steam Support

While the AMD Ryzen RDNA-2 APUs that are built into every Tesla MCU are quite powerful and very capable of rendering 3D or 2D graphics when in mobile configurations, there has been a distinct lack of Steam support on other vehicles, due to the 8GB of RAM.

Given the removal of GPUs from the flagship vehicles, there is also a chance that the RAM on newer Model S and X vehicles will also be facing a reduction similar to the Cybertruck. The Steam Beta could very well be on its way out.

The other possible alternative would be an updated Steam Beta that supports 8GB of RAM, and does not require a powerful GPU, as people may not do too much hardcore gaming on their vehicles.

Gaming Alternatives

Some gaming applications still live on in Tesla’s Arcade Mode, including the ever-popular Cuphead, Sky Force Reload, and Vampire Survivors. We previously discussed Tesla’s lack of Google Casting and Apple Airplay, but a fantastic alternative would be providing HDMI pass-through support on the Glovebox USB-C port.

Imagine being able to connect your phone to Tesla’s displays and gaming on a much larger 19” screen (screen size comparison) as seen on the Cybertruck.

The Future of Tesla Compute

Elon Musk mentioned in the 2024 Tesla Earnings Call that the unused compute power of Tesla vehicles not being driven was equivalent to a larger computing system like Amazon’s AWS. One idea floated by Musk was to use the computers of parked vehicles to conduct inference, data processing, and other tasks – selling the compute capabilities of vehicles to external organizations, while also paying back the owner.

Tesla Releases FSD v12.4: New Vision Attention Monitoring, Improved Strike System With Update 2024.9.5

By Not a Tesla App Staff

Tesla has just rolled out its latest FSD software, v12.4 to employees. Elon Musk announced that this update would be available to employees this past weekend, with plans to release it to the public in small numbers later this week.

Surprisingly, the new update is version 2024.9.5, which is likely based on the earlier 2024.8 branch and not Tesla's latest 2024.14. The spring update (2024.14) brings various new features such as a new media player, a new parked visualization, Audible support, and a Preview of Sentry Mode events, among others.

However, FSD v12.4 brings its own excitement with two new major changes.

Vision-Based Attention Monitoring

The release notes show a new Vision-Based Attention Monitoring feature that replaces the steering wheel nag as Musk previously mentioned.

However, as we predicted, Tesla will still leverage the steering wheel to detect attentiveness when the cabin camera is inconclusive.

The car can only rely on the vehicle's cabin camera, and therefore remove the steering wheel nag under certain conditions:

  • the camera is not occluded

  • there is sufficient lighting

  • the driver is looking forward

  • the driver is not wearing sunglasses

  • the driver is not wearing a low-brim hat or another object that covers their eyes

If any of these situations occur, or if the vehicle doesn't have a cabin camera, then the vehicle will continue to use the steering wheel to determine driver attention.

Tesla is careful to state that images and video from the cabin camera are not saved or transmitted unless you enable data sharing.

Updated Strike System

With FSD v12.4, Tesla has also updated its Autopilot Suspension feature which is designed to enforce the responsible use of FSD.

The current system lets the driver receive up to five strikes (three strikes for vehicles without a cabin camera) before Autopilot and FSD become unavailable. If that happens, then FSD is unavailable for one week. Strikes are only removed once the driver has accrued five strikes, or when Tesla wipes out strikes for everyone, which happens about twice a year.

The new system is more gracious about removing strikes. The vehicle will continue to issue strikes whenever the driver isn't paying attention, however, now the vehicle will gradually remove strikes for the driver after a certain period of time.

Tesla states that one strike will be removed for each 7-day period the driver goes without receiving a strike. So if FSD gets disabled due to strikes, the driver will still go one week without FSD, although now strikes are removed on an ongoing basis. This new strike system is expected to apply to vehicles with and without a cabin camera.

Other New Features

Other new features are expected in FSD 12.4 as well, which we outlined in our look at Tesla's FSD v12.4 article.

They include a focus on improved driver comfort by reducing the amount of hard braking, automatically seeking a parking spot when arriving at a destination and more. Driver interventions are also expected to be drastically reduced with Musk stating that Tesla expects to see a 5-10x improvement in interventions.

Eligibility

Unfortunately, due to FSD v12.4 being on branch 2024.9, it's expected to only be available to owners on update 2024.8 and below, which includes everyone currently on update 2024.3.25.

If no major issues are found with FSD v12.4, we could see it start to roll out to the public later this week.

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