Dozens of Apple employees, led by experienced managers from its iPhone unit, are researching automotive products at a confidential Silicon Valley location outside the company’s Cupertino campus, the people said.
Jonathan Ive's team of designers has apparently been having regular meetings with automotive executives and engineers of late. In some cases, the company has tried to hire them. For example, Apple hired away the head Mercedes-Benz’s Silicon Valley R&D unit.
Notably, we just reported on an Apple employee that claimed the company is working on something that will 'give Tesla a run for its money'.
"Apple's latest project is too exciting to pass up," the person said. "I think it will change the landscape and give Tesla a run for its money."
The wild speculation is that Apple could be working on a car to rival the self-driving vehicle that Google has developed. Some believe it's merely an advanced software platform for vehicles that will expand on CarPlay.
In response to the rumors, a senior industry figure told FT: “It’s one thing to draw pictures but it’s a quantum leap to manufacture things, and Apple doesn’t even manufacture.”
However, people familiar with the background of engineers and executives being hired by Apple say it really might be a car. “Three months ago I would have said it was CarPlay,” said a source. “Today I think it’s a car.”
As we noted earlier, "Steve's dream before he died was to design an iCar."
Let us know what you think in the comments!