Proof Apple is Working on a Car Buried in Financial Figures

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

“I peg odds of Apple selling its own electric car to be at least 80 percent,” reported Neil Cybart with the website How does he know this? By digging through the company’s finances, that’s how.

Cybart has been keeping tabs on Apple’s research and development expenditures and, in short, they’re through the roof! The Cupertino, California-based tech-giant is on track to blow through $10 billion in 2016, roughly a 30 percent jump from last year.

Obviously, $10 billion is A LOT of money, but without context it’s a meaningless figure. Putting it in perspective, Cybart reports that Apple was spending roughly $3 billion on research and development just four short years ago.

Additionally, spending increases in recent years have been outpacing the company’s revenue growth. Curiously, all of this news has gone largely ignored by both Silicon Valley and, more importantly, Wall Street. Perhaps Apple’s historical secrecy has something to do with this, remember, they’re more secretive than the CIA, rarely, if ever, tipping their hand. Of course, the firm’s $233 billion cash hoard it has socked away may have blinded financial analysts as well.

But what could Apple be working on that would cost so much? Cybart postulates that increased research and development expenditures could be required to keep its product portfolio fresh. With laptops, iPhones, iPads and beyond, the company’s lineup is more diverse than ever.

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Heavy expenditures could also indicate Apple is hard at work preparing new hardware or software offerings for customers. But in either of these cases it probably wouldn’t cost $10 billion, though that spend could result in some seriously nice ear buds or the best streaming-video service known to mankind.

In all seriousness, a logical explanation for all of this is that Apple is making a major push to create something new, possibly in a category outside its wheelhouse. This is where the oft-rumored Project Titan comes into play.

Apple has long been a technological pioneer, introducing new and exciting products since it was founded in the mid-1980s. Its finances could indicate that they’re looking to pivot, that is, move to participate in a completely different industry than they’re in today, and the automotive space seems ripe for disruption these days.

Tesla has tried mixing things up, with some success, but could Apple of all companies really knock everyone out of the park? Quite possibly. Cybart noted that cars could become the company’s future, and a profitable business unit at that.

Apple could end up spending $14 billion on research by 2017 or 2018. That’s an UNHEARD of figure for the technology business and even the automotive industry. Clearly they’re working on something big. What do you think Apple is spending all this money on?

Discuss this story at our Apple Car Forum.


Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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