While Apple CEO Tim Cook didn't directly answer questions at a this week's shareholder's meeting of whether bidding on Tesla was in the iPhone maker's future, there are plenty of reasons why analysts say it could be a smart move for Apple if the company has ambitions to dive deeper into the automotive world.
"Tesla has gone a long way toward being a real car company in such a short time. This is a timely and very expensive process to get that far along," Karl Brauer, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, told ABC News. "If Apple was interested in going that route they could shortcut things tremendously if they purchased Tesla."
Apple announced earlier this week that every major car brand has committed to delivering Car Play, Apple's system that lets drivers sync up their iOS devices with infotainment systems in their cars. Cook dodged a question about purchasing Tesla, according to the Wall Street Journal, by saying he hoped Musk's company would get on board with Car Play.
The questions come as Apple has been reported to quietly be exploring automotive technologies, leading some to wonder if an Apple Car could be in the pipeline.
A lawsuit filed in Massachusetts federal court last month by A123 Systems alleges Apple poached five of the lithium-ion battery maker's employees, fueling speculation the iPhone maker could be working on an electric car. Apple has declined to comment on the pending litigation.
Apple is sitting on a mountain of $178 billion in cash, which would be more than enough for the Cupertino, California, company to acquire Tesla. While it may just be a pipe dream for Apple and Tesla fanatics to see their two favorite brands unite, Brauer said Apple's history of innovation makes the move a real possibility.
Not only will Apple's worth give it a competitive edge, but the company also has the advantage of employing a brain trust of some of the best designers and user experience experts in the world. Couple that with Tesla's employee base and it could be a winning combination.
"It would be fascinating if Apple went this direction because it's such a leap from anything they done," Brauer said. "I think they could still just be investigating. But ultimately, I think the fact they didn't have anything like an iPad or Apple Watch ten years ago says something. They have a history of breaking out of their wheelhouse."