tesla elon musk phone mockup

Sorry, Elon – your Tesla phone will never

Let me catch you up: After buying Twitter and appointing himself CEO, Elon Musk made some controversial changes to the site and its rules — what might be called generous. He aims to make Twitter a place where his ideas of free speech can be allowed, which ultimately led to the provision of “pardonTo previously banned accounts of white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, and other people who violate Twitter’s old terms of service.

Musk claimed in a recent tweet that Apple “threatened to block Twitter from its App Store” but did not tell him why. The Twitter CEO also claims that Apple has “mostly stopped advertising” on the site but doesn’t seem to know why either. The world’s richest man is clearly unable to understand why a company like Apple would want to take some precautionary steps away from the petrol he’s pouring on Twitter.

Elon Musk stands looking to his right.
PATRICK BLOL/POOL/AFP

In response to a tweet from Liz Wheeler, Musk said that if Apple and Google removed Twitter from their app stores, He was… making a “replacement phone”. There is no shortage of comments below his tweet urging him to say how great this would be.

I certainly hope it doesn’t, but, yeah, if there’s no other option, I’ll make a replacement phone

And the[مدش]. Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 25, 2022

This would be true if, by “brilliant idea,” the commentators meant a complete disaster on almost every front. According to Wheeler, “the guy builds rockets for Mars” (he, to be exact, doesn’t), so “a silly little smartphone should be handy, right?” Wrong – wronged – wronged.

Misunderstanding in the market

Elon Musk seems to think Apple and Google have a ‘duopoly’ in the smart phone market. While the two companies control much of the industry, they are far from the only major companies making successful smartphones. Samsung, Tecno, Huawei, Motorola, Oppo, OnePlus, and many others make some of the most popular devices in the world. However, it hasn’t simply been as hacked in the US and Europe (with Samsung as an exception) like Apple and Google. But in Asia and Africa, the story is very different.

iPhone 14 Pro camera module.
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

As a basic principle, Musk comes from a place of misunderstanding as a result of being only partially aware of the smartphone industry. A place that seems very comfortable coming from. Simply put, Elon Musk’s potential smartphone of the future will not only need to compete with Apple and Google. Instead, it will need to compete with an entire global market of premium devices made by already established companies that are constantly innovating in the space.

Based on his incredible success in large part from the companies he owns — like internal reports of Twitter’s impending bankruptcy, the Boring Company’s blanket lack of results, and the ridiculous Neuralink implant surgery that proposed $10 million — there’s no real precedent that a phone made by a company Musk owns would be successful. Tesla’s success is clearly the exception to this, but Tesla seems to be doing better outside of Musk’s influence. Musk often overpromises with all of his businesses, including Tesla, making the company look bad in general and as if he’s a kid who spits out his ideas at all times.

Irrational logistics

One good point from Musk is that Apple and Google have a bit of a bottleneck in the App Store market on iOS and Android. If they remove Twitter from their platforms, the app will likely die quickly as most users would jump ship A slew of other social media apps are in the stores.

If that happens, Musk will get some companies to start working on a “smartphone replacement” that would boast having Twitter on it as a major feature. At this point, however, Twitter would be completely dead in the water — with the exception of its browser users made up of die-hard Elon Musk fans — so it wouldn’t be a selling point reaching a general audience that had already moved on to the new apps.

None Phone Spotlight 1 Glyph Interface.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

On top of all that, the Elon/Tesla phone will still need to compete with the rest of the smartphone market to be successful — and to make the multi-year, multi-million dollar process of making a new phone (complete with a new OS and App Store) worth it. There have been plenty of smartphone companies that have marketed themselves as alternatives to Apple and Google led by a single figurehead – like Carl Pei with Nothing – but they’re all still niche products that don’t seriously compete with the way they got off the ground.

And this is for a still Android phone with Play Store access! Microsoft tried to chart its own course with Windows Phone years ago, but that project ultimately fell through less than 10 years later. If Microsoft can’t do it, why do you think Musk can?

It would be a huge financial demand for Musk to ask his fans to give up their iPhones, Pixels, and Galaxys to buy his new smartphone.

Although Musk has an unusually dedicated core group of fans, it’s almost certainly not enough to support a newcomer to the mobile industry — particularly one that doesn’t compete with Apple and Google. Given how prominently the two companies have their presence in the US market, it would be a huge financial demand for Musk to ask his fans to give up their iPhones, Pixels, and Galaxys to buy his new smartphone. which would potentially run the risk of catching fire on itself.

iPhone 14 Pro with the Tesla logo Photoshopped on the back.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Elon Musk constantly makes promises that look good on paper to his fans. But these promises don’t happen often. It was promised over 10 years ago that we would have humans walking on Mars at this point, which, last time I checked, has yet to happen. Likewise, I wouldn’t be surprised if that legendary Tesla phone was even more smoky and mirror-like — and you shouldn’t either.

Right now, Musk appears to be a bit restrained from losing his money with Twitter, so he’s unlikely to jump headfirst into the smartphone industry, even if Apple and Google remove him from their app stores. The easiest and cheapest solution seems to be to follow the companies’ App Store rules regarding hate speech and adult content. But what do I know? I wasn’t forced to buy Twitter, like Elon Musk did.

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