Consumer electronics manufacturer Apple, and German automaker BMW are reportedly looking to collaborate on unspecified future projects.
Both companies are trying to court the other, due to their similar innovative approaches to manufacturing.
According to an article by Reuters, executives from Apple, including its CEO Tim Cook, visited BMW’s headquarters last year in order to meet with representatives from the automaker.
In addition, the Apple delegation also visited BMW’s Leipzig plant, where it manufactures its i3 electric vehicle.
Apple was reportedly impressed by BMW’s innovative approach to manufacturing, and noted similarities with its own non-traditional production methods.
During the visit, BMW also allegedly expressed willingness to license some its parts to Apple in the future.
The information regarding this low-key visit first came to light in Germany’s Manager-Magazin last week.
Apple’s automotive ambitions
Despite this visit however, BMW and Apple have not signed any major deal or announced any official collaboration, likely due to Apple’s own automotive ambitions.
Rumours that Apple has been working to develop an automobile have been around since at least 2014, however recent moves by the company have lead to many publications now extensively covering this topic.
Primarily, the reports suggest the company is working on an all-electric vehicle, with significant autonomous driving capabilities.
Apple’s visit to the i3 EV factory in Leipzig lends credence to this, and also shows why BMW is reluctant to engage in a more extensive collaboration.
The company fears that it will be forced into the position of a mere parts supplier through this deal and would thus stand to lose significant brand value.
Instead, BMW looks to be hedging its bets on the fact that its own electric vehicles will be easily able to compete with any hypothetical vehicle built by Apple into the future.