The Apple Car project may be in trouble as layoffs and strategic shifts are reported

Apple / Auto / Tech

The New York Times is reporting that under the leadership of the recently hired Bob Mansfield, Apple is rebooting the venture.

Starting a car company is no small feat. The probability of success is low while the investment is astronomical; let’s pour one out for Saturn. And that is before you even consider a car company that is planning to push every technological boundary available today. For every Tesla there are plenty of… well… these. To call Apple’s car initiative, tentatively called Titan, ambitious would be one hell of an understatement. Not only is the vehicle supposedly planned to be electric and at least partially autonomous, but Apple is attempting to build this whole division from the ground up with no previous experience in the automotive marketplace. It comes as little surprise then that the whole project is going through some growing pains and rethinking.

The New York Times is reporting that under the leadership of the recently hired Bob Mansfield, Apple is rebooting the venture. What started a couple years ago with much ambition and growth that included bringing in experts from fields related to batteries, technology, and automobiles, along with injecting 1000 employees (new hires and transfers from other divisions), slowed when Steven Zadesky departed. Zadesky was charged with the Apple Car project and his unexpected departure earlier this year for “personal reasons” did not look good. Mansfield, an Apple veteran, was brought back in and things appear to be changing dramatically. Dozens of employees were said be let go and forbidden to discuss any specific details with the public. What little information did leak, mentioned the lack of progress and a possible shift away from building an actual vehicle all-together, despite Apple already having and testing multiple cars. Instead, the Cupertino company might focus on developing services and technologies used inside vehicles made by other manufacturers.  Things like autonomous driving and interior passenger controls, for example. This is all of course pure speculation as Apple still has plenty of talent in-house to continue building a full vehicle.

Despite many large companies like Google, Tesla, Uber and established car OEMs working on similar projects, the true alternative fuel, autonomous car is still years away, so Apple has plenty of time to figure out what part it wants to play in this field. However that does risk significantly falling behind its competitors. Still, if Apple is known for anything, it’s not rushing into something until it has studied the existing products and market, deciding to enter and compete once they are ready to offer what they believe is a better experience to their customers.

Are you surprised that Apple is taking a step back on their vehicular ambitions? Tell us what you think in the comment section below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.

  Source: The New York Times
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