Tesla CEO Elon Musk has publicly mocked Apple, referring to the Cupertino company as the "Tesla graveyard" in a recent interview with a German publication. Speaking to Handelsblatt, Musk revealed that Apple had earned the moniker after gaining a reputation for hiring people who had been fired by the electric car manufacturer.

When asked whether he was concerned that Apple had hired some of Tesla's "most important engineers," Musk replied: "Important engineers? They have hired people we've fired. We always jokingly call Apple the 'Tesla Graveyard'. If you don't make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I'm not kidding."

Musk also dismissed the Apple Watch, reportedly laughing at it when asked if he took Apple's ambitions seriously. But he went on to say that he believed the development of an Apple Car would make sense for the tech giant and welcomed its arrival.

"It's good that Apple is moving and investing in this direction," Musk said. "But cars are very complex compared to phones or smartwatches. You can't just go to a supplier like Foxconn and say: Build me a car. But for Apple, the car is the next logical thing to finally offer a significant innovation. A new pencil or a bigger iPad alone were not relevant enough."

The two companies have previously battled over staff, while speculation has also circulated about Apple acquiring Tesla with its massive cash reserves. Last year Apple hired Tesla's lead recruiter Lauren Ciminera to reportedly work on Apple's own electric car project.

The Apple Car, rumoured to be under development through the firm's secretive Project Titan, is expected to arrive in 2019 and to be sold at a cost of £36,000. A recent 68-page note by tech analysts Jefferies & Co claimed that Apple will use the car to compete against self-driving vehicles from rival firms like Google.