The phantom that is the future Apple car has been haunting auto headlines since the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that the tech giant is developing a "Titan" electric van project.
More reports have surfaced that cite anonymous sources, Bloomberg reporting this week that an electric vehicle could be in production as soon as 2020; however, Apple has yet to comment on the likelihood that an iCar will hit the market in the future.
While a viable Apple car could just be a product of the rumor mill, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is a threat to the auto industry either way as cars become more connected.
Even if it doesn't have a physical car in the works, Apple and other tech companies are integrating themselves into the car industry with software, something auto executives are beginning to see as a conflict.
"We've taken iOS and we've extended it into your car, your home, into your health," Apple CEO Tim Cook said at a recent conference in San Francisco, as quoted by Automotive News. "All of these are really critical parts of your life, and none of us want to have different platforms in different parts of our lives. We want one seamless kind of life. I think that's huge for our future."
Apple's CarPlay, software that puts iPhone capability into a car's infotainment system, is being integrated into various car models starting this year.
Ford CEO Mark Fields recently pointed to the growing threat from Silicon Valley as Google looks to offer a self-driving vehicle and software becomes a greater influence on car buyers' decisions.
"There are others who we never thought five years ago would be competitors for us," Fields said at auto conference in Bochum, Germany, as quoted by Reuters.
His fear is that cars will become shells for software similar to the way buyers choose between a phone that runs iOS, Android or Windows.
"Guess what, they are looking at our industry, not taking anything for granted, they are questioning tradition and they are knocking down walls. I want to make sure Ford doesn't end up like the handset business," Fields said.