Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) ? Putting out its own car?
I don't think so.
Marketwatch's Matthew Lynn -- in his London Eye column yesterday -- offered up seven surprises of 2013. Yes, many of the predictions are beyond outlandish, but one in particular was a real puzzler.
"What Apple needs is a whole new industry to conquer with its mix of design brilliance and marketing flair," he writes in suggesting that the world's most valuable company will drive into the auto market next year.
Well, I was surprised to find an iCar reference earlier this month in our own Foolish archives. Doug Ehrman referred to the iCar in a headline for a story about General Motors (NYSE: GM ) moving to incorporate Siri in a couple of its models next year.
Now, that particular story is simply referring to Apple's technology in cars. GM's nod to Apple will find the Chevrolet Spark and the Sonic incorporating iOS 6 features beyond merely just Apple's Siri voice-activated digital assistant. The assumptions end there. No one outside of Lynn seems to be suggesting that Apple is about to get behind the wheel of automotive manufacturing.
However, what if the suggestion isn't so crazy?
It was easy to dismiss the ridiculous forecast, but then we get to Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) . Apple and Big G have become fierce competitors these days, with each company trying to top the other. We know that Google has turned heads with its fleet of self-driving cars that it uses to offer digital street mapping images. The search giant dreams of the day when it can commercialize that technology.
Well, what if Apple beats Google to the punch? It can happen, and the big-ticket nature of cars would be a big driver in pushing Apple's stock higher in 2013.
Is it likely to happen? No way. Apple's safest path here is to continue to work technology deals with leading automakers. However, an Apple car would certainly turn even more heads than the Google Earth cars driving about. Why not? There won't be a lot left for Apple to do to raise the bar once it finally puts out its TV. If apple wants to drive new business, why not bet on the driver?
There's no doubt that Apple is at the center of technology's largest revolution ever, and that longtime shareholders have been handsomely rewarded with over 1,000% gains. However, there is a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Apple, and what opportunities are left for the company (and your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.