Apple's automotive ambitions reportedly take toll on other departments with staff reassignments

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2015
A report on Tuesday claims Apple's secret automotive initiative is creating tension within the company's ranks as resource allotments are now gobbling up personnel from other divisions.




According to a source familiar with the matter, Apple is reassigning workers to its car project at such a high rate that department heads are beginning to bemoan the loss of talent, reports The Register.

The exact nature of Apple's car initiative, dubbed Project Titan, remains shrouded in mystery, with rumors ranging from work on a bespoke automotive operating system to a full-fledged branded vehicle. As the publication notes, a staffing drain of such proportions does suggest work on a significant scale, perhaps belying a move into a completely new sector like heavy industry.

In March, AppleInsider uncovered a secret off-campus installation seemingly dedicated to Project Titan. A number of buildings leased by Apple, but bearing no signage, held car-related structures including a garage, room for repairsand various research and development facilities. The site's purpose remains unknown.

Circumstantial evidence suggesting Apple's interest in electric vehicles came in a poaching suit leveled by battery technology company A123. The lawsuit alleged Apple illegally recruited top researchers at A123, leaving research of high-performance, large format battery applications at a standstill.

Reports of road-going Apple vans equipped with advanced sensor hardware and cameras only added to the confusion. First spotted in February, over eager reports attributed the vehicles to work on an unannounced self-driving electric car, but Apple later laid those rumors to rest earlier this month, saying the vans are part of a worldwide initiative to enhance Apple Maps.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26

    Apple Music and Beats 1 have been released, let the rumor mill return to the car, turn to iPhone 6S leaks and of course remind us all of how superior Samsung is to Apple. <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

  • Reply 2 of 26
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    The Register? Isn't that a satire site?
  • Reply 3 of 26
    Hopefully, Apple will start slacking off in other markets, so competitors can catch up. /s
  • Reply 4 of 26
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,142member

    This just in, Apple discontinuing the Mac and iOS lines to focus on the car. 

     

    There's maybe a tiny kernel of truth to it that has been hyper-sensationalized.

  • Reply 5 of 26
    slurpy wrote: »
    This just in, Apple discontinuing the Mac and iOS lines to focus on the car. 

    There's maybe a tiny kernel of truth to it that has been hyper-sensationalized.

    Same thing happened for the iPhone, so I don't think it's sensationalized.
  • Reply 6 of 26
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,061member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    According to a source familiar with the matter...

     

    In other words, complete bull. 

  • Reply 7 of 26
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 890member
    So I can put my Apple Watch on my wrist, my iPhone in my pocket and my iPad or MacBook Pro on the front passenger seat of my iCar. Sweet!
  • Reply 8 of 26
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Oh and let's not forget that the rumor mill (the WSJ I believe) also said Apple Watch was a black hole sucking up resources.
  • Reply 9 of 26
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    slurpy wrote: »
    This just in, Apple discontinuing the Mac and iOS lines to focus on the car. 

    There's maybe a tiny kernel of truth to it that has been hyper-sensationalized.

    Well in Tim Cook's employee memo on Jony Ive's promotion he did say Ive would be focusing on new ideas and initiatives. So perhaps one of the reasons he shed his day to day duties is because this project is sucking up more and more of his time. Of course we'll never know as many Watch employees had bogus linkedin profiles and then after the Watch was announced their profiles were updated and you find out that's what they were working on the past 3 years.
  • Reply 10 of 26
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,687member
    I don't buy it.
  • Reply 11 of 26
    rayzrayz Posts: 814member
    Saw "The Register". Stopped reading.
  • Reply 12 of 26

    Much as I appreciate Ive's design of Apple products, that is one ugly car. Maybe I do not understand or appreciate the design aesthetics, but damn, that is still one ugly car.

  • Reply 13 of 26
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,092member
    rogifan wrote: »
    Well in Tim Cook's employee memo on Jony Ive's promotion he did say Ive would be focusing on new ideas and initiatives. So perhaps one of the reasons he shed his day to day duties is because this project is sucking up more and more of his time. Of course we'll never know as many Watch employees had bogus linkedin profiles and then after the Watch was announced their profiles were updated and you find out that's what they were working on the past 3 years.

    On the other hand, he may be working on transparent aluminium.
  • Reply 14 of 26
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    700
    Much as I appreciate Ive's design of Apple products, that is one ugly car. Maybe I do not understand or appreciate the design aesthetics, but damn, that is still one ugly car.

    Your punishment for saying this is to read:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_600

    Go all the way to the end of the article to the section on the "Jolly." This is one of the most desirable specialty/fun cars of the past. It was meant to be carried on your yacht for on-shore shopping and nightlife jaunts while in port. You can imagine this car winding up into the hills above Positano sometime in the early 60s looking for that Libyan guy who sells the best hash.

    Ive and Newson brought the car over for Bono's Product Red auction.
  • Reply 15 of 26
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 3,281member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post



    Your punishment for saying this is to read:



    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_600



    Go all the way to the end of the article to the section on the "Jolly." This is one of the most desirable specialty/fun cars of the past. It was meant to be carried on your yacht for on-shore shopping and nightlife jaunts while in port. You can imagine this car winding up into the hills above Positano sometime in the early 60s looking for that Libyan guy who sells the best hash.



    Ive and Newson brought the car over for Bono's Project Red auction.



    I take it back. Ive is not responsible for that monstrosity then! Thanks for the link.

  • Reply 16 of 26
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 793member
    Go Apple, Go.

    Of course, Apple is working on a car. Cars are nothing more than computers on wheels these days. Remove the internal combustion engine and it is even more so. Apple has the right talent and capitalization to pull this off.

    And who better than Apple to make this happen...computer engineering, software design, energy management, materials engineering, interface, design, reliability, supply chain management all are Apple hallmarks.

    Though cars are known for high capital investment and low margin businesses. Teslas have a 30% profit margin, that's Apple territory. They will contract out the manufacturing.

    Steve Jobs' ghost must be fuming about all the recent attention that Elon Musk gets with Tesla and his exploding rockets.
  • Reply 17 of 26
    am8449am8449 Posts: 343member
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by BadMonk View Post



    Of course, Apple is working on a car. Cars are nothing more than computers on wheels these days. Remove the internal combustion engine and it is even more so. Apple has the right talent and capitalization to pull this off.



    And who better than Apple to make this happen...computer engineering, software design, energy management, materials engineering, interface, design, reliability, supply chain management all are Apple hallmarks.



    Though cars are known for high capital investment and low margin businesses. Teslas have a 30% profit margin, that's Apple territory. They will contract out the manufacturing.

     

    Although possible, it seems like quite a big leap from consumer electronics to car manufacturing. I can't see this going forward unless Jony, Eddy and the other senior exec's who love cars, are lobbying really hard. And not so much because it makes sense, but more because of personal interest.

     

    If Apple does make a car, I would expect them to make an electric one, and leverage their knowledge of battery technology. But the infrastructure to support electric vehicles still isn't available in most places, and would take significant buy-in from state and local governments, I think. As it has done with Apple TV, an Apple car project, if it does exist, would probably remain a hobby for quite some time.

  • Reply 18 of 26
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,444member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jungmark View Post



    I don't buy it.



    Neither do  I and I never did.   Apple currently operates in very high margin businesses.   Although luxury cars have higher margins than "ordinary" cars, the auto business is extremely low margin and has very high capital costs (although high cash flow).   Also, although Apple can "Think Different", traditionally, car companies have owned their factories, which Apple doesn't currently do.    

     

    Although Apple has traditionally looked at existing products, figured out what was wrong with them and greatly improved upon them, you have to wonder whether they're really going to try and compete against Tesla, which is way ahead of them (and still not making any money).  What do they think they can accomplish that Tesla isn't accomplishing?    Does Apple have some miracle way of producing such a car that ordinary people can afford?

     

    Apple trying to take over the dashboard?  Sure.    Apple building self-driving systems for cars?  Maybe.    Apple building their own car?   I still don't think so.

     

    If Apple was looking 10-20 years out, it would make far more sense for them to be getting involved in AI and Robotics.   I've always felt that Siri was the very first zygote step in developing an intelligent robot.  Although Robotics is probably also going to be a very low margin, high capital cost business.   

  • Reply 19 of 26
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    zoetmb wrote: »

    Neither do  I and I never did.   Apple currently operates in very high margin businesses.   Although luxury cars have higher margins than "ordinary" cars, the auto business is extremely low margin and has very high capital costs (although high cash flow).   Also, although Apple can "Think Different", traditionally, car companies have owned their factories, which Apple doesn't currently do.    

    Although Apple has traditionally looked at existing products, figured out what was wrong with them and greatly improved upon them, you have to wonder whether they're really going to try and compete against Tesla, which is way ahead of them (and still not making any money).  What do they think they can accomplish that Tesla isn't accomplishing?    Does Apple have some miracle way of producing such a car that ordinary people can afford?

    Apple trying to take over the dashboard?  Sure.    Apple building self-driving systems for cars?  Maybe.    Apple building their own car?   I still don't think so.

    If Apple was looking 10-20 years out, it would make far more sense for them to be getting involved in AI and Robotics.   I've always felt that Siri was the very first zygote step in developing an intelligent robot.  Although Robotics is probably also going to be a very low margin, high capital cost business.   

    Who is Apple going to take over the dashboard for? It's not like automobile companies are tripping over themselves to push CarPlay. If anything auto companies are getting more and more into technology. They're not ceeding it to Apple and Google. Apple is mostly a consumer technology company. I don't see where robots really fit it to that.
  • Reply 20 of 26
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    am8449 wrote: »
    Although possible, it seems like quite a big leap from consumer electronics to car manufacturing. I can't see this going forward unless Jony, Eddy and the other senior exec's who love cars, are lobbying really hard. And not so much because it makes sense, but more because of personal interest.

    If Apple does make a car, I would expect them to make an electric one, and leverage their knowledge of battery technology. But the infrastructure to support electric vehicles still isn't available in most places, and would take significant buy-in from state and local governments, I think. As it has done with Apple TV, an Apple car project, if it does exist, would probably remain a hobby for quite some time.

    If Apple is working on a car for sure it will be an electric vehicle. And they don't have to manufacture it they can contract that out. Just like they don't own manufacturing plants for any of their other products.
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