Elon Musk responds to the Apple car

Musk offered Tesla to Apple and SpaceX plans a Super Heavy launch. What currency will Mars use? It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #227 — subscribe now to receive two more editions later this week!

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Musk quote of the week

“Focus on making products & services people truly love, so that the total economic pie is bigger, instead of engaging in zero-sum/negative-sum corporate power struggles. This is the good future.”

Tesla

Musk tried to sell Tesla to Apple, the CEO revealed over Twitter last week. Musk explained how “during the darkest days of the Model 3 program,” he reached out to CEO Tim Cook to discuss Apple acquiring Tesla at one-tenth of its present-day value. Cook, however, “refused to take the meeting.” Analyst Ross Gerber, who was featured in Musk Reads+ #5, recalled how he said on TV “how many times” for Apple to buy Tesla, only for Cook to refuse to even meet with Musk.

The comments came in response to reports that Apple is seeking to launch an electric car as early as 2024. The project, rumored for the past five years under the name “Project Titan,” would reportedly use lithium iron phosphate batteries like those used in some of Tesla’s Shanghai-built cars. Musk’s response to the news was that, considering Apple didn’t want to buy Tesla and may use technologies already in use at Tesla, it would be “strange if true.” Read more.

Another strange reveal last week turned out to be very true. On December 25, Musk announced the Tesla holiday software update. The update adds “Boombox,” which can play sounds like a bleating goat or a fart when the horn is pressed. The feature was first teased in October 2019. Also new is three extra video games, which Musk teased could form the basis of in-car entertainment for an autonomous vehicle. Musk suggested that drivers without an external speaker may, in the future, be able to get a Tesla service center to install a speaker.

SpaceX Starship.Getty Images

SpaceX

SpaceX could test out its massive Super Heavy booster soon. The company has been running hop tests with its Starship, the fully reusable stainless steel ship designed to send humans to Mars and beyond. The six-engine ship will pair with a 28-engine booster, designed to enable the ship to leave Earth. The whole construction is expected to reach around 400 feet. SpaceX sent the Starship to a height of 41,000 feet this month. In response to a question from Twitter user “flcnhvy” on when SpaceX will test its giant booster, Musk replied that it could happen in “a few months.”

Starship “SN8”’s flight was impressive, but it ended in flames. The “SN9” prototype should fly early next year, NASASpaceflight reports. Musk claimed the fiery ending was due to the header tank losing pressure, a “minor” fix.

What currency will the Mars city use? A.I. researcher Lex Fridman suggested on Twitter that Mars could use cryptocurrency. In response to a suggestion from Twitter user “ElonsWorld” that SpaceX could call it “Marscoin,” Musk simply replied “yes.”

The best rocket launch photographers can “bring people into that moment of awe,” says Ryan Chylinski, who’s been documenting SpaceX launches from the pad. That up-close perspective can change a person’s outlook on humanity. Go inside the mind of a rocket shooter to elevate your mood. It’s only in Musk Reads+.

In other Musk news…

  • Tesla looks set to start operations in India next year, transport minister Nitin Gadkari said in an interview with the Indian Express. Musk suggested expansion into India would happen in the coming year.
  • Could Musk set up a holding company under the name “X”? Musk owns X.com, the old address for the firm that later became PayPal. The CEO replied to YouTube host Dave Lee’s suggestion, where “X” would be the parent firm of Tesla, SpaceX, and other ventures, by describing it as a “good idea.” Musk previously expressed interest in the idea back in 2017.
  • When will Tesla expand its full self-driving beta? Musk wrote that the software needs a few more revisions, but suggested it could expand in beta 10 or 11.
  • Teslas could receive an emergency call feature after Musk responded with “absolutely” to the request.

The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads #227, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

Why subscribe to Musk Reads+? You’ll be supporting in-depth, high-quality journalism about the world’s most ambitious change-maker, Elon Musk. Tesla investors, SpaceX critics, and anyone with an interest will find something they love in our offerings. Independent journalism is important now more than ever, and your contributions will help us continue in our mission to deliver interviews and analysis you won’t find anywhere else.

Musk Reads+ is a fully independent operation. We are not Elon Musk, nor are we employed by him. Our job is to report the events we find newsworthy, giving you the inside look at the worlds of space rockets, electric cars, clean energy, and more. It means first-hand accounts of a SpaceX rocket launch, Tesla insights from third-party analysts, and more. If you want to support us in our mission, and receive exclusive interviews and analysis, consider contributing with a subscription.

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