Is Tesla the New Apple?

Is Tesla the New Apple?

This past week marked the 40th anniversary of Apple, and it also marked the availability of one of the most sought after pieces of technology. Not the new iPhone SE, but rather the Tesla Model 3. In a scene reminiscent of the early days of the iPhone, across America well-to-do early adopters lined up to put a $1,000 deposit down on Tesla's $35,000 electric car for the masses.

I've driven a Tesla, the $100,000 Model S, and I can certainly appreciate it. I just bought an SUV; but if I were in the market for a new sedan, I would probably plan to spend $25,000. So $35,000 minus a $7,500 Federal Tax Credit (for the time being) would put the Tesla in my price range. Speaking of range, the 215 mile range is probably acceptable, combined with Tesla's Supercharger network. Wired has a good article explaining why you probably will spend a lot more than $30,000 on the Tesla Model 3, which reminds me of the iPhone, given that the impracticality of the entry-level 16 GB configuration leads many to spend more for more storage space.

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Tesla Model 3

Inside the Tesla, there are a lot of similarities to Apple as well. There are no buttons on the dash, just an oversized touchscreen tablet. It's great for navigation, but think about how often you use tactile feedback to turn the volume up or down, etc. Without physical buttons, it could be dangerous changing radio stations, adjusting the air conditioning, etc. Then again, with voice control that may not matter. And someday, thanks to Tesla's Autopilot self-driving capability, maybe they will get rid of the steering wheel altogether!

Of course, any mention of Tesla and Apple would not be complete without discussing the inevitable Apple Car. While Tesla has more experience, and is now heading down market, it is expected that Apple will produce a high-end model, eventually, just as Tesla did initially. All of this is happening at a time when younger folks find less need to own a car in the first place. With Uber, Lyft, ZipCar, and public transportation, owning a car may not be necessary for many. Which reminds me of the Apple Watchconundrum, too. With a smartphone, who needs a watch?

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP,,, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.