When it comes to rumours of Apple building an electric car, company boss Tim Cook is not afraid of pouring fuel on the flames. Speaking on stage during a question-and-answer session, Cook said the entire car industry is ready for "massive change" that will be far more than just an evolution on what has gone before.
Although refusing to officially comment, Apple is widely believed to be working on a car under the working title of Project Titan. The car is expected to be electric and have some autonomous driving features, similar to the cars produced by Tesla. Insiders claim the iPhone-maker will begin selling its car at the end of the decade.
Speaking on stage to Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerard Baker, Cook said: "We'll see what we do in the future. But I do think that industry is at an inflection point for massive change. Not just an evolutionary charge."
When first asked about a potential Apple car, Cook asked Baker: "Did you have too much to drink this evening?" before moving to discuss the industry more broadly.
In the short term, Cook says Apple's strategy is to give customers "an iPhone experience in the car," referring to CarPlay, a system for placing an iOS interface on the dashboard screen of a car. Beyond this though, Cook sees room for technology to take a much more central role in the car industry.
Cook went on: "Software becomes an increasingly important component of the car of the future. Autonomous driving becomes much more important. And so a lot of the major technologies in the car shift. Electrification, etc – they shift from today's combustion engine-centric kind of focus. And so it would seem like there will be massive change in that industry, massive change."
Cook is believed to have approached BMW and shown interest in using the electric i3 car as a starting point for its own vehicle. Apple is also understood to have contacted a private test facility in California where autonomous cars are developed by a range of other manufacturers and component suppliers. A number of high profile hirings from the motoring industry increases the likelihood of the rumours being true.