Might Apple be looking to get into the electric car business?
Speculation is swirling over reports that Apple’s chief of mergers and acquisitions met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk; an NBC Bay Area source reports seeing Apple executives at the Tesla plant in Fremont less than two months ago.
The SF Gate reports Musk met with Apple officials in Cupertino last spring, right around the time analysts suggested Apple buy Tesla.
Neither company is commenting, but plenty of others are.
Some experts think Apple may be trying to expand outside of iPhones and iPads, but others believe the company may be talking about teaming up, possibly adding Apple's operating system to the electric cars, or to invest in Tesla's future battery factory.
Last fall, Musk talked about plans to build a gigantic factory to supply lithium-ion batteries to all his cars. An analyst recently told an Albuquerque newspaper that Tesla is considering building the factory in New Mexico.
Why would a partnership between the two make sense? Well, Apple could use a new, sexy market or two to break into. Television is coming along slowly, if it’s coming along at all – same for wearables.
Tesla is currently making the hottest, sexiest, best-selling gadgets out there – and they already come with what looks a lot like an iPad inside.
Why doesn’t the deal make sense? Tesla has always been independent, and CEO Musk has waved that flag a lot.
As an independent company, it’s hard to fault Tesla’s performance: profits, new models on the horizon, stock price at an all-time high. Also, Tesla already has high-profile investors in Toyota and Mercedes Benz, who would doubtlessly have a say in another company coming in.
Enderle Group Analyst Rob Enderle, who watches tech like a hawk, said he’s intrigued because “both firms need advanced communications technology, advanced battery technology, and improvements in charging.”
Enderle points out both companies are already known for their storefronts and that Musk might just be the "Steve Jobs" that Apple needs.