Many people were scratching their heads this week week after hearing news that Apple may be interested in purchasing McLaren Automotive, a tiny high-end automaker that specializes in race cars.
But dive a little deeper into the possible matchup and it becomes clear that McLaren may be the only carmaker that makes sense for Apple.
McLaren has the benefit of being nimble, focused on high-tech, an expert in lightweight carbon fiber and tuned in to the art of aerodynamics.
Apple has never officially said it's working on its own car, but it has hired a slew of experts working in the field of autonomous and electric cars for the secretive Titan project, although a New York Times report this month said Apple had laid off dozens of employees in its car unit. If Apple is still moving forward with its car plans, a McLaren purchase would accelerate that move.
"Getting into McLaren would give Apple engineering and carmaking competency at the pointy end," said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen. "This is about gaining research and development knowledge, not about buying a carmaker with mass-production capabilities."
It would make reasonable business sense. In just six years, the separate road-car division, McLaren Automotive, has gone from a startup to generating a consistent -- if small -- profit on annual sales of around 1,500 cars costing upward of $1 million.