Apple fans looking for an Apple Car will be disappointed. A Bloomberg report is throwing cold water on the Apple Car, codenamed ‘Project Titan,’ with hundreds of the car team leaving or being reassigned. A source told Bloomberg, “it was an incredible failure of leadership.”
And now the division has a late 2017 deadline to produce a strategy or the company will shutter the division. The news comes with the caveat Apple will resurrect the mothballed Apple Car if it becomes viable in the future.
Apple Car Loses its Way
The issue with the division is the lack of clear focus. Managers would argue over if Apple should focus on hardware or develop self-driving software. Hardware seems to be Apple’s strength, but that’s computers and smartphones. Building a car is a different beast.
All the disagreements led to a wave of cuts – 120 software engineers and hundreds of hardware engineers. The project was up a creek without a paddle.
Recently, the move seems to be in the direction of software. Siri wants to take you out to dinner, not merely remind you of a reservation. Steve Zadesky, the former head of Project Titan was reassigned to a different position in Apple earlier this year.
Apple brought in Dan Dodge, the creator of QNX, recently acquired by Blackberry and used as an operating system in cars to help with the shift. Dodge works with Bob Mansfield; an ex-Apple executive brought out of retirement. It was Mansfield who explained to the team they were refocusing from a direct Tesla competitor to driverless car software.
Hell of a switch for a project born in 2014 with the ambitions of delivering an Apple Car. While the car was the summit of the mountain, the project was developed to retain engineering talent tired of working spec upgrades for the iPhone and Mac. Wait, the Mac gets spec upgrades?
Regardless, the Bloomberg cites sources showing a mass exodus of talent, so not only is the unicorn of an Apple Car not happening, the project failed to keep engineers from jumping out the door of the stalled project.
Even CEO Tim Cook has tossed cold water on the idea of an Apple Car being rolled onto the stage anytime soon. In the last shareholder meeting, he responded to an Apple Car question by saying “it’s going to be Christmas Eve for a while.”
It sounds like it’s not even Black Friday at Apple in regards to Project Titan.
Will we ever see an Apple Car? It’s hard to imagine a company with that much cash on hand not attempting it. Jony Ive is always ready for his voice subliminally make you want to buy the car. I will say, it’d make a better commercial than Jon Snow driving an Infiniti.
And who doesn’t want to see a revolutionary sedan dipped in a milk bath and polished with special sand that only Apple can innovate?
Fans of the Apple Car unicorn should ease back from the edge of your seats. Kick your feet up and enjoy the next shiny iPhone. Oh, and there are Macbook spec and design upgrades coming this month. Miracles do happen.