Steve Jobs discussed building an Apple car in 2008

Even when the iPhone was in its nascent stages, Apple was eyeing things with four wheels and a motor.

Nest CEO and iPod Designer Tony Fadell revealed that he and Steve Jobs had casual talks about what an Apple Car would be like, in a new video interview with Bloomberg. The talks were ultimately fruitless, as Jobs decided to focus on the just-released iPhone, but are very interesting to note given Apple’s alleged future plans.

“We had a couple walks — and this was in 2008 — about ‘if we were to build a car, what would we build?’,” said Nadell, speaking with Bloomberg. “What would a dashboard be? And what would this be? What would seats be? How would you fuel it or power it?”

While Jobs was clearly interested in building a car he decided it wouldn’t have been the right move to make at that time. “it was always like ‘We’re so busy. We’re so constrained. It would be great to do it, but we can’t,” said Fadell. Jobs and the team decided to focus on the iPhone because, as Fadell says, they felt cell phones were a “really big market that could have incredible impact well beyond Steve’s reign as CEO.”

Well, Apple certainly wasn’t wrong about that.

Bloomberg reports that Apple had considered building a car before the informal 2008 talks between Fadell and Jobs, citing a court testimony by Phil Schiller, which revealed Apple executives were talking about building a car before the iPhone had been released.

While Fadell is technically a Google employee as the CEO of Nest, he offered some insight into Apple’s alleged automotive ambitions:

“If you think about a car, what’s a car? It has batteries, a computer, it has a motor and it has mechanical structure. If you look at an iPhone, it has all the same things. It even has a motor in it, so if you try and scale it up and go ‘Oh my god. I can make a car with those components.’ there’s some truth to that,”

The real challenge, in his estimation, is the connectivity software that will enable things like autonomy. For that reason, he thinks people are “seven to 10 years away from a mass switchover” in how cars are used and thought about.In this Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, file photo, Tony Fadell, Founder and CEO of Nest, poses for a portrait in the company’s offices in Palo Alto, Calif.

Considering the fact that Apple currently has more cash than any other company on the planet, it’s easy to imagine them getting into the automotive sphere in a major way. Back in 2008, where Apple was riding high on the iPod, but yet to conquer the world with the iPhone, it makes sense that they were wary.

Apple — as one would expect — has remained silent about its alleged automotive ambitions, save for a solitary joke at this year’s iPhone launch event, so there’s no definitive way of saying what they’d do. As a Silicon Valley insider, Fadell’s comments can provide a useful glimpse into Apple’s potential motivations.

We’ll know in due time what Apple will (or won’t) do with cars, but for we can only read way too deeply into Fadell’s comments.