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Rumors about the Apple Car are nothing new – we’ve been reading them for nearly a decade. But recently their frequency has increased as multiple car manufacturers are linked with Apple. The most enduring of these rumors related to Kia and its parent company Hyundai, who seemed to confirm last month that they were indeed in discussions with Apple about manufacturing a car.

It seems this public statement has annoyed the infamously secretive Apple, with Bloomberg alleging that the iPhone-maker is “upset” at Hyundai’s statement. Whether or not this is truly the reason, it seems as though talks have broken down between the two. Hyundai and Kia have now publicly confirmed that they are not in talks with Apple after all.

It’s not clear whether this means they had talks which are now over, or there were no talks in the first place. There’s also the chance that Hyundai is merely paying lip service to Apple’s love of secrecy and there are still discussions happening in private. But either way, the news has seen Hyundai and Kia stocks take a tumble (down 8.4% and 15.3% respectively), so clearly investors were hoping for a lucrative team-up with Apple.

Where does that leave the future of the Apple Car? Well, reports from Japan state that Apple is in fact in talks with six different auto manufacturers, meaning there’s probably a little truth to all of the recent rumors. Apple is clearly keeping its options open as it explores the potential for a collaborative effort.

According to CNBC, Apple is planning a “totally autonomous” electric vehicle for release later this decade. Although self-driving functions already exist, a car that fully embraces that model feels ambitious – but also completely in line with the kind of thing Apple would want to pull off. It loves removing things from products – CD drives, headphone jacks, why not human drivers?

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