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Yui Mok/PA Wire

More details are emerging of Apple's plans to develop a car

The plans are gathering pace.

IT LOOKS LIKE Apple is developing a car, as hard as that might be to believe.

Tim Bradshaw and Andy Sharman at The Financial Times are reporting that Apple is recruiting experts in car technology and vehicle design, who are working in a top-secret lab.

“Sir Jonathan Ive’s team of Apple designers has held regular meetings with automotive executives and creators in recent months, in some cases trying to hire them. Recent recruits to Apple’s team include the head of Mercedes-Benz’s Silicon Valley R&D unit,” the paper said.

This is just the latest report to bolster the idea Apple is developing its own car. Here’s a quick recap of the story to date:

And now, the FT quotes someone who has worked closely with Apple in the past on car systems saying the following: “Three months ago I would have said it was CarPlay … Today I think it’s a car.”

It would be surprising if Apple made a car since Apple makes its money selling personal computers like the iPhone, the iPad, and the Mac. It will be selling the Apple Watch, it’s most personal computer ever, as the company calls it.

apple watch tim cookRobert Galbraith / REUTERS

A car is not a computer. And unlike those other gadgets, a car has a longer upgrade cycle, and crappier margins.

However, Steve Jobs had expressed interest in building a car. He told a New York Times reporter he would have loved to take on Detroit with an Apple car. Former Apple board member Mickey Drexler said Jobs wanted to make a car.

Apple quarterly profits Yui Mok Yui Mok

Apple’s current executives have a deep interest in cars.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of internet services, is on the board of Ferrari. Phil Schiller, Apple’s SVP of marketing, is really into cars. His Twitter bio reads, “Apple, Sports, Cars, Science, Scuba, Drums, Photography. It’s racing season!” The tweet he has pinned to the top of his profile isn’t an Apple product, but a photo of a Porsche.

Last year, Vogue profiled Ive. In that profile, it quoted Ive’s good friend Marc Newson talking about cars:

“Shit we hate,” says Newson, includes American cars. “It’s as if a giant stuck his straw in the exhaust pipe and inflated them,” he adds, “when you look at the beautiful proportions in other cars that have been lost.”

Newson now works part time at Apple, and he has designed cars in the past.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is not known as a car guy, but he did hint that Apple is working on things nobody was aware of. In September, he said , “There are products that we’re working on that no one knows about. That haven’t been rumored about yet.”

- Jay Yarow

Read: First computers, then phones – now Apple is getting in on the car business >

More: Apple is spending €750 million on one of the biggest solar energy farms in the world >

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