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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The background and seniority of the executives it is recruiting suggest that Apple may be trying to build a car, the newspaper said, citing sources. Apple recently hired the head of Mercedes-Benz's Silicon Valley research and development unit, Johann Jungwirth, according to a LinkedIn profile.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/13/apple-car-idUSL4N0VN69S20150213

After Musk suggested Tesla may be worth as much as Apple in the near future, perhaps Apple decided it might make it's own EV? I suspect it's more interested in making a simple, kick-butt infotainment system instead, something the car makers in general seem to have trouble executing.

Apple could offer to work hand-in-hand with a car company to do something far grander in scale. Imagine Apple's software and hardware design sensibilities scaled up for a complete takeover of a car's cabin: the instrument cluster, the seat heaters, and everything in between. Alternatively, Apple could be going head-to-head with suppliers like BlackBerry's QNX division, which basically offers turnkey operating systems for the dashboard.
If you're Ford, GM, Volkswagen, Toyota, or another major automaker and Apple approached you about a partnership of that magnitude, you'd have to at least consider it, right?
http://www.theverge.com/2015/2/13/8034713/apple-car-auto-carplay-dashboard-future

Apple has apparently had this in the hopper for a while: the report claims that Tim Cook signed off on Titan nearly a year ago, giving ex-Ford engineer and current Apple exec Steve Zadesky a team of 1,000 staff from across a variety of departments in the company. In recent months, company staff have visited contract manufacturers that could potentially build a car (or components of a car) on Apple's behalf; one company that WSJ names is Magna Steyr, which has built cars for Mercedes and BMW in the past, among others.
 

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I can't remember the source but I recently heard the Tesla had been hiring a lot of Apple folks. The Apple hirings could be for better infotainment/phone integration. Heaven knows this area needs MASSIVE help!
 

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I read that article about tesla stealing apples employees. Its not really that true. About 150 ex apple people went to tesla. Apple has 66k employees in the USA alone.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
WSJ is reporting:
Apple has several hundred employees working secretly toward creating an Apple-branded electric vehicle, according to people familiar with the matter. They said the project, code-named “Titan,” has an initial design of a vehicle that resembles a minivan, one of these people said.
Apple may decide not to proceed with a car. In addition, many technologies used in an electric car, such as advanced batteries and in-car electronics, would be useful to other Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad. Apple often investigates technologies and potential products, going as far as building multiple prototypes for some things that it won’t ever sell. Any product would take several years to complete and obtain safety certifications.
 

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I read that article about tesla stealing apples employees. Its not really that true. About 150 ex apple people went to tesla. Apple has 66k employees in the USA alone.
Yes this is certainly a case where numbers don't really tell the tale. If those 150 people worked at Apple stores and simply moved over to positions in Tesla showroom stores, who cares? But if those 150 are upper exec/tech folks, it is big.
 

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I can't remember the source but I recently heard the Tesla had been hiring a lot of Apple folks. The Apple hirings could be for better infotainment/phone integration. Heaven knows this area needs MASSIVE help!
Here's the story: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-05/want-elon-musk-to-hire-you-at-tesla-work-for-apple?hootPostID=de0ad9b7516e2035719f23156d73bf51
And a good recap: http://www.macrumors.com/2015/02/05/apple-tesla-employee-poaching/

The company [Tesla] has hired at least 150 former Apple employees, more than from any other company, even carmakers. The former Apple staffers work in many areas of the 6,000-employee automaker, including engineering and law. “From a design philosophy, [Apple] is relatively closely aligned,” says Musk, Tesla’s co-founder and chief executive officer. Apple declined to comment for this story.
And the best part for employees

While Tesla has had success recruiting talent from Apple, Musk says that Apple has hired "very few people" from the car company despite offering $250,000 signing bonuses and 60 percent salary increases to its employees.
 

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As infotainment systems in cars become more complex with internet connectivity, touch screens, downloadable apps?? voice commands etc. I would expect the lines between automotive tech and portable device makers to become even more blurred. The collaboration seems more like Apple working on in car connectivity applications and such, rather than attempting to build a car. Looks like a typical click bait headline to me, and it seems to have worked as me reading this implies lol!!
 

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Couldn't Apple (or Google) just buy Tesla?
Apple likely could buy both currently.... but its probably best to wait for Tesla stock to drop if they don't fix their sales problem by the end of q1. If they miss q3 sales of the X they are going to be in a world of hurt
 

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I have no actual knowledge of what Apple is doing, but I understand Apple well enough to make an educated guess:

The nature of Apple's fortune comes from two abstract ideas: (1) make money off of other people's work; as in the iTunes music store, the iOS App Store and the Mac App Store. (2) make money by creating hardware for the subscriber business model; as in the iPhone. I think with an Apple EV, they're targeting idea (2).

The convergence of the electric car, the self-driving car and the concept of transportation as a service is creating a perfect storm. The lower maintenance of EVs reduces the operational costs of a fleet. The self-driving car eliminates the payroll costs of drivers; and maybe reduces insurance costs by replacing driver error (always happening) with engineering error (able to eliminate when found). If Apple works out the self-driving car technology, they could easily buy any of the car-sharing services and be in business selling pre-teens a ride to wherever their parents aren't.
 

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I have no actual knowledge of what Apple is doing, but I understand Apple well enough to make an educated guess:

The nature of Apple's fortune comes from two abstract ideas: (1) make money off of other people's work; as in the iTunes music store, the iOS App Store and the Mac App Store. (2) make money by creating hardware for the subscriber business model; as in the iPhone. I think with an Apple EV, they're targeting idea (2).

The convergence of the electric car, the self-driving car and the concept of transportation as a service is creating a perfect storm. The lower maintenance of EVs reduces the operational costs of a fleet. The self-driving car eliminates the payroll costs of drivers; and maybe reduces insurance costs by replacing driver error (always happening) with engineering error (able to eliminate when found). If Apple works out the self-driving car technology, they could easily buy any of the car-sharing services and be in business selling pre-teens a ride to wherever their parents aren't.
I've worked around Apple for years. I think the best way to describe Apple's business model to say it creates tightly integrated ecosystems and extracts the value through hardware sales. Apple will only enter a market where the ecosystem is fragmented and customer experience is low. The auto market is certainly fits that description.

Yes, Apple makes money on the iTunes store, but it is a tiny portion to what they make in hardware sales. The iTunes store, App store, software sales, professional services combined was only 11% of total income. The iPhone alone was 68%.

 

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Conspiracy Theory Time

It is HIGHLY unlike Apple to be running a R&D project in the open with vans that can be traced directly back to Apple. That's just too fishy. Patents and trademarks on actual future Apple products are almost always done under shell companies so Apple can keep the product a secret. Apple is crazy about secrecy and this is just too out in the open.

There are also WAY too many leaks to the press that are redirecting the Apple project back to a car and not software or integrated systems. Apple would be executing employees on the front lawn for such leaks. The only leaks at Apple, Chinese manufacturing partners withstanding, are purposely leaked.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Apple car isn't a clever deception so Apple can gain leverage in a larger negotiation. With $184 Billion cash on hand, Apple can buy anything it wants. My money is on Apple is positioning itself for an acquisition and that acquisition is likely Tesla.

All the chatter about Tesla and Apple employees moving between the companies would be the right message for boards of both companies to hear. They would reasonable conclude that company cultures are compatible. Also notice the lack of chatter about Google and Tesla employees, which would be more likely. That's just too perfect to not be directed communication.

Also notice the chatter about the Apple car being leaked in the financial press -- not the automotive press or the technology press. Apple appears to be leveraging itself to be seen as a threat to Tesla shareholders. Notice all the chatter about a van. A van would be seen as direct competitor to Model X. That threat would give Apple leverage in negotiating share price.

Notice that all this news "leaked" right after the Tesla quarterly report. TSLA is at the lowest it has been in years and had a horrible quarterly profit. Apple appears to be striking while Tesla is down.

Everything I see just keeps pointing back to Tesla. Apple and Tesla have acknowledged acquisition talks previously, but that was when TESA was sky high. Now would be the time to hit.

Apple's biggest competitor is Google. Apple has no answer to Google's automotive experience. I think they are trying to buy it.
 

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Yes this is certainly a case where numbers don't really tell the tale. If those 150 people worked at Apple stores and simply moved over to positions in Tesla showroom stores, who cares? But if those 150 are upper exec/tech folks, it is big.
OMG, Tesla is doomed if they are hiring former Apple Store "Genius" people........
 

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Tesla showed that a Silicon Valley company can build an electric car. If Apple is indeed building a car, and they don't make it silly looking, I'd be first in line to pay way too much for the car. Alas, this comes from an Apple fanboy who already has 70+ vintage Apple devices in his basement including an original 128K Mac, an Apple ][plus, //e //c and IIgs, a Newton MessagePad and eMate, and a large number of Macs (my favorites are the short-lived blue Dalmatian and flower power iMacs.)
 

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Tesla showed that a Silicon Valley company can build an electric car. If Apple is indeed building a car, and they don't make it silly looking, I'd be first in line to pay way too much for the car. Alas, this comes from an Apple fanboy who already has 70+ vintage Apple devices in his basement including an original 128K Mac, an Apple ][plus, //e //c and IIgs, a Newton MessagePad and eMate, and a large number of Macs (my favorites are the short-lived blue Dalmatian and flower power iMacs.)
So, I'm not the only one with an Apple museum in their home. I to would have to admit I would line up for an car built by Apple.
One of the striking things about the Volt for me is how much more seamless and intuitive it is compared to any other car I've owned or driven. Very Apple like in other words. The personalities of the people that envisioned, engineered and build them show through in both. I haven't driven a Tesla yet but my bet is the same can probably said for those also. There's a secret sauce that Apple has in it's possession, Tesla has some also but I believe when GM built the Volt they discovered they have the secret sauce too.
 

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Alas, this comes from an Apple fanboy who already has 70+ vintage Apple devices in his basement including an original 128K Mac, an Apple ][plus, //e //c and IIgs, a Newton MessagePad and eMate, and a large number of Macs (my favorites are the short-lived blue Dalmatian and flower power iMacs.)
You truly are a geek Mr. ILninja :)

I think all the arguments are valid here, I like saltsman merrit loaded conspiracy and frankly i think its valid.
I just think that Musk - while clearly a smart businessman - in this case isn't thinking like a smart business man.
I think he's on a journey on many fronts, and no Apple money will interrupt his course.
If Musk and his Tesla was about money, Model 3 would be in stores by now, without the goofy doors.
 

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One of the striking things about the Volt for me is how much more seamless and intuitive it is compared to any other car I've owned or driven. Very Apple like in other words. The personalities of the people that envisioned, engineered and build them show through in both. I haven't driven a Tesla yet but my bet is the same can probably said for those also. There's a secret sauce that Apple has in it's possession, Tesla has some also but I believe when GM built the Volt they discovered they have the secret sauce too.
I love the VOLT, the new and refreshing ( seamless) driving sensation, but there is NOTHING intuitive about the center stack.
Its simply horrible.
I agree with you on one point - and i've stated that same a long time ago - If apple made that interface ( and took over the onstar :cool::p:D ) the VOLT would be a jewel.
 

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So, I'm not the only one with an Apple museum in their home. I to would have to admit I would line up for an car built by Apple.
One of the striking things about the Volt for me is how much more seamless and intuitive it is compared to any other car I've owned or driven. Very Apple like in other words. The personalities of the people that envisioned, engineered and build them show through in both. I haven't driven a Tesla yet but my bet is the same can probably said for those also. There's a secret sauce that Apple has in it's possession, Tesla has some also but I believe when GM built the Volt they discovered they have the secret sauce too.
I don't view the volt as apple-like. The center console has far too many buttons and knobs. If Apple designed it, the power button and doors would have fingerprint sensors, your iPhone or Apple watch can act as your key fob (no key required), the touchscreen would be a full ipad with apps, but not allow you to play games or do anything other than maps and key vehicular controls while moving, and there might even be some traditional knobs for volume, tuning, AC, heat similar to the digital crown on the apple watch.
 
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