The rumors have been getting stronger all week, and now they've come to a head: WSJ is reporting that Apple is indeed working on a car. "Project Titan," as it's known internally, is an all-electric vehicle that apparently "resembles a minivan" in its current iteration and has a team of several hundred people working on it.
There's no guarantee it'll make it to production
That's not to say that there'll ever be an Apple car on the road, necessarily. WSJ hedges its report, noting that it'd be several years at least before Titan could be ready for production, and that's assuming Cook and company decide to go through with the project. It could also end up being more of a platform for testing other products and technologies related to mobility that Apple is working on — things like CarPlay, for instance.
Apple has apparently had this in the hopper for a while: the report claims that Tim Cook signed off on Titan nearly a year ago, giving ex-Ford engineer and current Apple exec Steve Zadesky a team of 1,000 staff from across a variety of departments in the company. In recent months, company staff have visited contract manufacturers that could potentially build a car (or components of a car) on Apple's behalf; one company that WSJ names is Magna Steyr, which has built cars for Mercedes and BMW in the past, among others.
It's not totally clear why Apple would be looking to make such an enormous leap from its core competency — building great consumer electronics — but there might be a simple explanation: the company's explosive growth will eventually peter out unless it expands to new markets, and there's no question that transportation would fall into that category.