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Is Apple about to start fully concentrating on cars instead of smartphones?

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Has anyone got an 800,000 square foot factory going spare? Something geared up for research and development on autonomous cars? Asking for a friend...

This is essentially what Hudson Pacific Properties Inc CEO Victor Coleman let slip in a call to investors, reports the Wall Street Journal, stating that Apple is eager to buy up some research space in the San Francisco Bay Area to develop its long-rumoured self-driving car project - and they're not alone.

"We’re seeing the Toyotas of the world, the Teslas of the world, BMWs, Mercedes," said Coleman. "Ford now is out in the marketplace looking for space. I haven’t even mentioned the 400,000 square feet that Google’s looking to take down and the 800,000 square feet that Apple’s looking to take down for their autonomous cars as well."

Now, 800,000 square feet isn't a lot of room for a car factory - Tesla has a 5,500,000-square-foot monster in  Albuquerque, New Mexico. But Apple isn't interested in building a car just yet - the space they're looking to occupy is for research and development purposes. 

Apple is still yet to publicly declare its interest in building its 'iCar'; rumours started circling after the company hired car specialist Doug Betts - former global head of operations at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in July 2015. Then in August, Germany's Manager-Magazin disclosed details of a meeting between Apple and BMW, in which Tim Cook examined the German automaker's factories and enquired about mass production techniques.

Add in Coleman's latest comments, and it would suggest that the Californian tech giant is seriously keen to push into the new, competitive world of autonomous cars. While Apple has no background in car manufacturing, their concerning slow down of smartphone business could be putting pressure on the company to branch out into new fields in search of new revenues.

Heck, if it worked with the iPhone, what's to say it won't work for the iCar?

[Via: Wall Street Journal]

(Image: Rex)

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