Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, has had some sharp comments to make about Apple recently, but the underlying message is that while Tesla has merely set the stage, it will be Apple that eventually shakes up the automobile industry. Big Time. And that's what, I thnk, has Mr. Musk worried and snarky.
The sensational, on the surface, news is what Elon Musk said about Apple hiring away his important engineers. Forbes told the story.
Important engineers? They have hired people we’ve fired. We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard.’ If you don’t make at Tesla, you go work at Apple.
However, all that is just a diversion. The deeper story is that while Tesla has been shaking up the automobile industry in terms of what we expect from a modern car: the buying experience, the electric car experience, the removal of "range anxiety," and the reduction of on-car emissions, it'll be Apple's turn next.
Early engineering schematic of Apple's secret electric car.
If you look at the new Tesla Model X, you'll see that, even though that model is rather expensive, Tesla is reimagining how a car should operate. See: "Tesla Model X: Getting behind the wheel of an all-electric, high-performance SUV." As with any expensive product, the new technologies work their way down to less expensive models in time.
But now Tesla is in a race against time.
If Tesla can achieve what we've seen so far with limited R&D funds, just think what Apple can bring to bear with its virtually unlimited resources and ability to attract and hire the best minds on the planet.
Tesla: a Glimmer of Things to Come
I suspect the new Tesla Model X (model P90D) is just a glimmer of what Apple will be able to achieve in a 2019 or 2020 rollout. What I believe is that there is a shift about to happen. It's no longer a matter of automotive experience by either Detroit, Germany, Japan or even Tesla. Rather the next generation of successful electric cars will be built by the company with the best engineers, best computers and software, best A.I. talent and the most amount of R&D money to spend.. Apple has all that.
That's why, in my opinion, Apple didn't buy Tesla. Why be shackled by a limited upstart who merely sets the stage when Apple can reach further, higher, and break onto the show with a much grander vision.
And that, ultimately, is why Elon Musk is so cranky lately. He knows the end is near. He launched the prospective next generation electric car with fanfare and class, but he was too early in time and too limited in what he could achieve. Now, he see's the handwriting on the wall, and it's called Tim Cook and Titan.
I'd be cranky too.
Next page: the tech news debris for the week of October 5. Much more on Apple and 4K UHD.