The Apple Tesla iCar is not so far fetched now, is it? It’s long been a vision of many Apple watchers that the iPhone maker could buy the electric car maker and build the ultimate mobile device.
Wall Street analysts like Colin Gillis of BGC Partners has said that Tesla is just the kind of forward-thinking, growth company, product category that Apple needs. CEO Tim Cook’s company has not had a world-altering hit product since the iPad in 2010, and since then it’s been all about incremental upgrades to hardware and fresh software, but no new product line on its balance sheet. There has not been a new iDevice to follow the Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad with billions in fresh quarterly revenue.
Apple is expected to release a watch, but while that prospect used to cause some excitement, now Apple fans are not sure that a $250 wearable gadget will be enough to restore that supersized growth.
Apple's stock is in a bit of a rut as analysts wonder whether the company is just gliding like Microsoft last decade. Shares are down almost $200 from their 2012 peak.
That’s why reports this week that Cook and Tesla’s Elon Musk have been in discussions has reawakened Apple enthusiasts who have been waiting for the next big thing—an Apple leap that does more than add a half-inch to the iPhone screen.
Here are some ideas that could lead to billions in sales at Apple, or enough to move the needle at a company that already generates $60 billion a quarter and has $160 billion in the bank.
1. Apple Tesla car
The electronic car maker is more valuable than it’s ever been, with its shares at all time highs with its stock above $210. That still only makes the company worth $25 billion, or just a little more than WhatsApp, and Apple has makes that much in profits in half a year. So it can afford the futuristic car company, and who wouldn’t want to drive an iCar? Apple has enough money to start its own bank to help customers with financing, as well.
The only luxury cooler than a car made by Apple would be an apartment designed by Jony Ive, the industrial designer behind the iPhone. “What about an iHome Apartment building in San Francisco and New York City, fully wired with all the latest apple gear,” Gillis said. “Apple could rent them as fast as it could build them.”
3. Apple TV
Apple already has a set-top box to stream movies and shows, and it continues to enhance the software and the content offerings. Still, many expect the company to build a flat-screen television with all this software built in and a high-definition Retina display. Still, Apple needs to go further to conquer the living room, and could take a cue from Hulu, Amazon and Netflix by producing its own shows and movies.
4. Video Games
Apple already is a major force in the game industry with its mobile devices doubling as mini-game consoles. Reportedly Apple is getting ready to upgrade its TV box to deliver games, but it could take a bigger approach, perhaps buying a new gaming startup like OUYA or Oculus VR.
5. Apple Bank
Payments are a strong suit for Apple with all the iTunes accounts connected to credit cards of users. Cook has signaled even stronger interest in the area, and reportedly wants to eventually to let users pay at stores using the iPhone. A company like Square, started by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and valued at about $5 billion, would boost Apple’s payment ambitions.
6. Apple Messenger
Apple missed its chance to buy Twitter before it went public and swelled to a $30 billion valuation. So no social media acquisition. How about a messaging company, like Facebook buying WhatsApp? This is the latest mobile gold rush and there are any number of players to pick from—even after WhatsApp sold for $19 billion, Microsoft scooped up Skype for $8 billion, and Viber sold for $900 million. Apple has always wanted a network that could circumvent phone companies, and messaging apps, whether voice or text based, could connect users over the Internet.