When news leaked that Apple could produce an electric car as early as 2020, lots of people had visions of driving a sleek, white, environmentally friendly automobile with a big iPad running down the center console. The number of employees Apple had already poached from Tesla and other car makers implied that Chief Executive Tim Cook had ambitions that went far beyond auto software like its existing CarPlay. Reports outlined the many ways that tech’s golden child could disrupt the car industry. Auto execs were put on notice: Apple the Unstoppable is coming for you.
The car rumor couldn’t have come at a better time for the company. At its current huge size -- the company generates $200 billion in annual revenue and has a $770 billion market cap -- Apple seemingly must go after ever-larger product markets to replicate the iPhone’s success and continue to grow.