Editorial

5 Reasons Why Apple Buying McLaren Makes Sense

McLaren says the takeover isn't happening, but that doesn't mean we can't have some speculative fun.

If we weren't building up to the opening of the Paris Motor Show, it's almost certain that the news of Apple allegedly looking at buying McLaren outright would be the biggest news story of September so far. Even though McLaren has stated such talks aren't happening, we are slightly skeptical: when multiple sources claim the same story, the proverbial pinch of salt might not be strictly necessary. Plus, it's not like Apple wouldn't have anything to gain from taking McLaren under its wing. Here are 5 reasons why the takeover makes sense.

For starters, assuming a scenario where Apple definitely does end up buying McLaren, it likely wouldn't just be the car division that Apple would be interested in. The entire McLaren Technology Group, which covers everything from the F1 team and even he Woking-based company's involvements in the energy and pharmaceutical industries, would also be ripe pickings for Apple's business portfolio. Make no mistake, there's a lot of high end stuff tucked away behind the facade of the McLaren Technology Center, and - considering Apple's allegedly sitting on a cash pile in the hundreds of billions of dollars - it's probable in this possible chain of events that Apple would offer a lot in order to have access to that kind of technology.

McLaren's also a company that's associated with the ability to push through developments at a ridiculous pace. For instance, McLaren claims it can produce an upgrade for its Formula One car in 17 minutes, meaning it can churn out nearly 600 improvements to its F1 racer over the course of a week. That kind of development pace, if it's representative of what the rest of the McLaren Technology Group is capable of, would be ideal for a company that's aiming to get a foothold in the ever-evolving electric car market - which various reports over the years have claimed Apple intends to do.

Sticking to the F1 side of the McLaren portfolio, access to high-end simulation programs would also be highly valuable for Apple's car initiative. We're not suggesting the simulators used by Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button would be reconfigured for a presumed all-electric family car, but instead implying that high-end data analytics software would be ideal for use in developing a new car. Especially one that's set to adopt some form of driverless technology, as some reports are suggesting Apple is now leaning towards in its bid to enter the new car market.

All this access to advanced development tools would, of course, be a crucial aspect of getting a production-ready vehicle to market within a short(er) space of time. Such is the pace of technology advancements that you don't want your new car to be behind the curve (when we had a quick chat with McLaren's test driver Chris Goodwin at the Festival of Speed earlier this year, he did allude to the fact carmakers don't have much wriggle room to make improvements as you get closer to signing off the final production specifications), so being on top of the latest advancements should in theory keep the presumed Apple car relevant for a longer period of time.

Perhaps above all else, though, Apple buying McLaren wouldn't have a huge impact on how the latter's automotive division does its day-to-day business. For sure, there would likely be a fair bit more money flowing into McLaren's coffers, but Apple's focus on electronic appliances and (if the rumors are true) an all-electric mass market car wouldn't clash with McLaren's current product portfolio. By and large, McLaren would still be free in this scenario to develop the cars it wants to make without any interference from Cupertino. If anything, it's probably this little aspect that would reassure us the most if Apple were to buy out the McLaren Technology Group.

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