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Jan 23, 2020
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2013 Ford Fusion Energi, 2021 Mach-E First Edition (ordered)
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Apple is only a threat because they sit on a pile of cash. They don't have "critical mass" expertise yet to challenge Tesla.
Assuming they partner with a "legacy" manufacturer like Hyundai, then they don't need all of that expertise. They can handle the "user experience," which is what they know how to do, in theory. They never need to make the best possible of anything, they just need to make something perceived as better (and cooler!) than everyone else for the target market (I chose words very carefully there). That's what they target, and that's what they will do with this too, if it happens.

The iPhone reference is a good one, because people forget the first iPhone was kind of an awful smartphone. It was way too expensive (folks forget the price dropped not long after it was released), it was only 2G in a 3G world, it didn't have installable apps (Steve Jobs was soundly against it - remember the "App Store" came later), it didn't have any real "enterprise" features... it didn't even work well on the network it was on (people blamed the network, but I know from personal head to head experience, it was the device as much as the network)... while it took a while for the iPhone to truly be a competitive device technologically, it was perceived as the best and coolest device day one.

While I don't believe that Tesla is as worried about this as some other things, it would be crazy to think they aren't worried about this at all, or that it's not another on the growing list of threats to Tesla.