A spate of rumours over the weekend have suggested Apple is preparing to spent $75 billion on Tesla Motor Cars, giving it a sudden and enormous role in the future of cars.
But before we go any further it's important to add the necessary dose of scepticism. Jason Calacanis -- the tech insider who reported the rumour most visibly -- is a well-known investor and market analyst. He confesses that he has no proof that Tesla is being bought by Apple, and readily admits that a lot of this is based on speculation.
Despite this, the speculation isn't entirely founded on the hopes and dreams of a man that openly admits to owning two Teslas and around $3,000 annual spend in Apple products.
In his blog post, Calacanis lists a wide variety of reasons for the possible deal. He says Apple could use its own software for the Tesla's digital dashboard: "You could charge $50 to $150 per App for the dashboard of a car — people are used to paying a bucketload to upgrade their car hardware."
In this reporter's opinion... that's nonsense. People won't pay $50 for a car app. And with Carplay essentially moving Apple's ecosystem to the car anyway, what would be the point?
"Self-driving cars will be in the market in 7-10 years in a major way (you’ll test one in the next three years, of course), which means that with Apple and Tesla’s combined progress in this market, they could have the entire line refreshed and ready for a makeover for the coming driverless revolution."ADVERTISEMENT
"Apple’s Tim Cook very much wants to pursue the kind of “our-shoring” (I made that word up), that Elon has mastered. In fact, Apple wants to build an all-renewable energy production facility in Mesa, AZ (anyone know the latest on that?), and they are building the Mac Pro (the sexy black mini-cylinder) at their Texas facility."
Calcannis also said that Cook is "obsessed" with renewable energy and is already building a $850 million solar plant.
"Tesla is going to take the 5-inch thick battery from the Model S and plant it on people’s garage walls, according to reports, so that they have enough battery power to last a week. This means they could charge their batteries by solar (Solarcity! Elon is chairman!) for rainy days, or they would charge their battery at night when there is cheap power and take load off the grid (making electricity even cheaper)."
So what's the reaction been to the news? Well some news organisations are angling this as a sign that Apple won't be buying Tesla, it'll be rivalling it.
Apple has assigned hundreds of staffers to an electric-car project in a challenge to Tesla and GM http://t.co/Kff1UoXHNA— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) February 16, 2015
Or looking at it from another angle, Tesla doesn't see itself as a company to be bought by Apple, rather that Elon Musk sees his company as being the only one capable of reaching Apple in terms of size.
Finally, the LA Times suggests a more cautious approach highlighting the teething problems that Tesla are having to fight through just to get into a state of profitability.
If you're one of those people who think Apple is going to build a car, look at the production challenges Tesla has: http://t.co/Kaij7R7can— Craig Hockenberry (@chockenberry) February 15, 2015
Meanwhile Apple blogger and e-celeb John Gruber said he's sceptical but admits the companies do at least share a "commitment to excellence in design and experience".
With Tesla set to lose over £100m this quarter, the initial reaction is to suggest that it's still slow progress for Musk's prized possession. However if Apple did ever buy Tesla, it wouldn't be for a business model, it's for the pure technology that exists within that company, and in that respect, Tesla is one of the most valuable automobile companies in the world.