A few days ago, a Reuters report revived the old rumors about Apple building an electric, self-driving car, and the first thing on everyone's mind was Tesla.
There's no direct connection, but Apple seems like the company that could offer an interesting competitor to Tesla's smart electric vehicles, especially in a future in which AI and battery expertise may turn out to be more important than a tradition in building gas-powered cars.
On Tuesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that he was thinking along the same lines as well.
"During the darkest days of the Model 3 program, I reached out to Tim Cook to discuss the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla (for 1/10 of our current value). He refused to take the meeting," he tweeted.
With "darkest days," Musk is referring to the troubles Tesla had with ramping up Model 3 production, which almost drove the company to bankruptcy. The issues that Tesla had were well documented, but the fact that Musk wanted to talk to Apple about acquiring Tesla is new.
Musk also commented on some rumors surrounding Apple's (possible) upcoming car project. In an answer to another Twitter user, who shared some excerpts from Reuters' report, Musk said that monocell batteries — which Apple allegedly is looking into — are "electrochemically impossible." As for Apple looking into lithium iron phosphate battery tech, Musk said Tesla "already uses iron-phosphate for medium range cars made in our Shanghai factory."
In any case, the deal never happened, and now Apple will have to face a far stronger Tesla — if the company ever does really starts mass-manufacturing cars. Reuters' report mentions 2024 as the possible launch time for Apple's car, and there's plenty that can happen before now and then.