According to Whois records at DomainTools, it looks like Apple has registered the Apple.Car domain name. The domain name has a creation date of December 9, 2015, but it appears the company took possession of it just yesterday.
The .Car domain extension is operated in a partnership between the XYZ (Daniel Negari’s company) and Uniregistry (Frank Schilling’s company). The partnership also operates the .Cars and .Auto domain name extensions. It looks like Apple also secured the Apple.Cars and Apple.Auto domain names as well.
As of right now, Apple.Car, Apple.Cars, and Apple.Auto do not resolve.
Although there has been frequent speculation about an Apple car or Apple jumping into the automobile market, I don’t think people should look into these domain registrations very much. Apple owns quite a few non-resolving new gTLD domain names. The company likely acquires these domain names for brand protection and defensive purposes more than anything else. For instance, Apple appears to own the 5 following non-resolving new gTLD domain names (among many others):
.Car, .Cars, and .Auto domain names became available for brands to register during the Sunrise period that began on December 9, 2015. The early access period to register domain names in these three extensions begins on January 12, and these extensions become available for anyone to register beginning on January 20.
It is a smart move for Apple to protect its brand by registering these domain names in advance. It saves time and money on legal fees. It will be interesting to see if Apple ever uses Apple.Car, Apple.Cars, or Apple.Auto in the future, especially if the company enters the car market.