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Apple's Jeff Williams teases cars as a possible new product category

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"Well the car is the ultimate mobile device, isn't it?"

This requires a bit of reading between the lines, but Jeff Williams, Apple's senior VP of operations, made an interesting remark about the auto industry during his chat at Code Conference today that won't do much to quell rumors of an Apple Car. Speaking to Walt Mossberg, Williams called the car "the ultimate mobile device," directly responding to an audience question about what Apple might do with its almost unfathomably large pile of cash:

Audience member: Are you guys going to do something with your $100 billion or are you just going to keep buying back shares? [Television, video games, cars, what categories?]

Jeff Williams: Well the car is the ultimate mobile device, isn't it?

Of course, Apple is already heavily engaged in expanding into the car — widely seen as one of the next battlefronts for tech giants — through CarPlay, which will be rolled out by many of the world's biggest automakers over the coming year. But CarPlay already exists; responding vaguely to a question about cash reserves by talking up a present-day product doesn't seem like the direction Williams was going. More likely, he was either playing along with the rumor mill, or — rare for Apple — he dropped a legitimate hint about a car in Apple's future.

Unfortunately, Williams declined to explore the topic further, and probably for good reason: Bloomberg reported in February that it could be 2020 before the Apple Car could be on the road, assuming the project isn't killed along the way.