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Elon Musk doesn't hate Apple, but he's not (yet) a fan of the Apple Watch

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Elon Musk is quickly putting out a fire that began after some pointed, headline-grabbing quotes from the Tesla CEO appeared in German newspaper Handelsblatt. A transcript of that interview shows that Musk and his fellow Tesla executives (jokingly) refer to Apple as "the Tesla graveyard," and Musk reportedly said, "They have hired people we've fired." But now Musk is making it very clear that he in fact carries an enormous amount of respect for Apple. "Yo, I don't hate Apple," he tweeted this evening. "It's a great company with a lot of talented people. I love their products and I'm glad they're doing an EV."

In the interview, Musk emphasized that Apple faces an enormous challenge in stepping up from designing smartphones and smartwatches to tackle a car, while acknowledging "it’s good that Apple is moving and investing in this direction." Now he's dialing back the notion that there's any hostility between Tesla and Apple, which is still years out from unveiling its rumored electric vehicle — if such a product ever materializes in the first place.

But it's fair to say Musk still isn't blown away by the Apple Watch. In a follow-up tweet, Musk said, "Jony and his team created a beautiful design, but the functionality isn't compelling yet." He's certainly not alone in that viewpoint; smartwatches haven't yet proven to be a vital accessory or companion to our smartphones. But looking ahead, Musk seems confident it'll happen. "By version 3, it will be," he said.