One of the more fascinating rumors surrounding Apple these days rests on whether or not the company will ever roll out an Apple-branded electric car. Undoubtedly, Apple has been spending lots of R&D resources on its electric car initiative, but whether that research will actually result in a car remains to be seen.
That said, there were some interesting rumors in the news this week. First and foremost, a report surfaced indicating that Apple was potentially interested in acquiring McLaren, a company that most people know as a purveyor of expensive sports cars and incredibly fast Formula 1 race cars. That rumor naturally got the Apple blogosphere going, but it wasn’t long before a McLaren spokesperson came forward and denied the report.
That aside, The New York Times published a report this week indicating that Apple was also in talks to potentially acquire Lit motors, a startup that developed a self-balancing electric scooter.
Interestingly enough, these recent Apple car rumors may ultimately signal that Apple is finding building a car to be much more challenging than it initially anticipated.
The New York Times adds:
Inside Apple, employees recently described the company’s efforts to build a car as a project lacking vision and in complete disarray. The recent layoffs, followed by Apple’s pursuit of talent and expertise from outside companies, are part of the company’s effort to “reboot” the project, said people with knowledge of the layoffs.
Apple is trying to revise its approach to making a car at a time when technology companies are accelerating efforts to bring self-driving cars to the mainstream. This month, Uber started its pilot program for driverless cars in Pittsburgh, giving customers a chance to summon an autonomous Uber for the first time.
Funny thing is Apple might have been better off acquiring Tesla a few years ago—back when the company's share price was markedly lower. While some believe such an acquisition would still make sense today, Tesla's market cap simply doesn't make that acquisition a viable option for Apple. What's more, there's a strong chance that Elon Musk would never decide to sell.
All things being equal, those early reports that suggested an Apple-branded car would be on the road by 2019 or 2020 now seem impossibly optimistic.