Last week, a flurry of articles and blog postings—sparked in large part by a report in the Wall Street Journal—suggested that Apple is hard at work on an electric car that will compete with Tesla’s luxury models. According to the original Journal article, the Apple project—codenamed Titan—has been underway for more than a year and involves hundreds of employees. A separate report from Reuters, which cited an anonymous source in the auto industry, suggested that Apple is scoping out production methods and technologies necessary for manufacturing cars capable of automated driving. Check out the latest automobile-related jobs. Electric and self-driving cars have considerable buzz at the moment, thanks in no small part to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s showmanship, as well as Google’s very public interest in automobiles. But an Apple vehicle—call it an iCar, perhaps—would be a remarkable departure for a company that specializes in objects you either hold in your hand or place atop a desk. Even for a company of Apple’s size and resources, integrating a production line for vehicles would represent a titanic effort, with no guarantee of success. There’s also the possibility, of course, that Apple could use some of its titanic cash holdings to acquire Tesla, but the latter company’s investors might not agree to such a deal. If Apple does enter the electric-car market against Tesla, it could find itself in a somewhat unusual position: underdog.

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