Image: Jason Ralston Image: Jason Ralston

The world’s biggest company can become a lot bigger if it carves itself a profitable slice of the global car industry. That it has been planning to do this was just about the worst kept secret in Silicon Valley. But listen carefully, there is a rumour that it is . . .

The rumour has been sparked by something we know. There have been jobs cuts at Apple, and the job cuts have related to its car project.

If press reports are to believed, Apple’s car project called project Titan, has faced titanic problems, with staff reportedly frustrated to the point of despair over the company’s changing policy and direction.

The snag for Apple is that it has this reputation for the highest quality and beautiful design. If the Apple car is anything less than stunning, it will get a slating, and shares may well suffer.

But for any company, ensuring a launch car is stunning is a massive ask.

And now talk is that the company is focusing on working with car makers, providing the technology for autonomous driving systems.

If the rumours are to believed, Google/Alphabet has had a similar change of heart.

But there is a car that is stunning, and its owners need a lot of money to get the scale they need for this car to fall in price such that it appeals to a mass market. And that company is called Tesla.

Apple is one of the few companies in the world that could afford to buy Tesla, and pump in the billions of dollars required for the car development to reach the next stage.

There is another issue. There is a growing feeling that we are heading to an era in which Uber type models converge with autonomous cars, and hardly anyone owns a car. If this scenario does indeed evolve, then it may be awful timing for a new player to enter the car market.