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Elon Musk walks back Apple Car, Apple Watch aspersions in Twitter confessional

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter on Friday to conduct a bit of damage control after making seemingly disparaging comments about Apple's automotive ambitions and hiring practices.

On Thursday, German publication Handelsblatt printed an interview in which Musk derided Apple's attempts to build an electric vehicle, insinuating the finished result would be a sub-par product akin to Apple Watch. The remarks caused a kerfuffle after mainstream media picked up on some particularly juicy quotes.

"They have hired people we've fired," Musk said of Apple. "We always jokingly call Apple the 'Tesla Graveyard.' If you don't make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I'm not kidding."

Musk qualified that statement today, saying, "Yo, I don't hate Apple. It's a great company with a lot of talented people. I love their products and I'm glad they're doing an EV."

While he may love Apple's products, Musk yesterday alluded the company was incapable of breaking into the automotive market. Cars are much more complex than consumer electronics, he explained, and Apple can't simply ask Foxconn to build one.

As for Apple Watch, Musk said, "Jony & his team created a beautiful design, but the functionality isn't compelling yet. By version 3, it will be[.]"

Apple is widely rumored to be in the midst of a massive automotive project that some reports claim could make a public debut by 2019. Codenamed "Project Titan," the initiative aims to create an electric vehicle with potential self driving capabilities, sources say.

AppleInsider revealed earlier this year that Apple is conducting Titan operations mainly out of a secretive facility in Sunnyvale, Calif., just down the road from its headquarters in Cupertino. The company is thinking about building out a dedicated facility on a 43-acre plot of land it owns in San Jose, according to a source familiar with Apple's plans.