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Would you drive a car made by Apple?

Apple has a knack for creating brand loyalty among its customers, but would that extend to its newest venture into the automotive industry?

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Apple's Stephen Chick displays the CarPlay program at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California in this June 2, 2014 file photo. First there were TVs, then smartphones, but as those two markets mature the world's top screen makers are looking to the auto sector to drive future growth, with car display volumes expected to almost triple by 2018. Manufacturers like South Korea's LG Display Co Ltd and Samsung Display are eager to boost their exposure to the sector, which promises bigger and more stable margins than their mainstay mobile and TV businesses.

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Apple is currently working producing an electric car, moving out of the realm of screen-based technology and into the world of automobiles, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Little is known about the project, which is code-named “Titan.” It might be self-driving. It might be electric. It might be a minivan. Or it might be all three.

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While the Apple Car is little more than a rumor at this point, it would appear that the tech giant is serious about it. The company has recently gone on a hiring spree, acquiring automotive technology and design experts to research at a secret lab outside its Cupertino office.

Last May, Apple announced CarPlay, its in-car entertainment system that connects to the iPhone.

But what is Apple’s motivation to build the cars themselves?

Well, it could be Apple’s competitive streak. Its rival Google has been working on a driverless car for years, which is estimated to be be ready to launch between 2017 and 2020. In 2011, Apple revamped its iOS Maps application to compete with Google's popular mapping software. 

Or maybe Apple is trying to compete with Tesla. The electric carmaker just invested a huge amount of money in finishing its Model 3 family car, a move that Tesla CEO Elon Musk thinks will make the company worth more than Apple in the next decade. And the two companies are in the midst of a hiring war, each stealing hundreds of employees from the the other.

“Apple hopes to put its stamp on the electric vehicle market in the same way it did the smartphone with its iPhone,” said a person familiar with the company's work told the Wall Street Journal.

However, Apple is not alone in thinking that cars may be the next frontier for technology. Sony recently invested 2 percent into a Japanese startup that is building driverless cars.

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So far Apple has declined to comment on the developing cars, but the Wall Street Journal article made the point that Apple frequently investigates technologies that it does not go on to sell. An electric car could fall into that category.


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