Apple's 'Project Titan' chief to reportedly leave company, car team under pressure

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2016
Apple veteran Steve Zadesky, thought to be heading up the company's "Project Titan" automotive initiative, has informed colleagues that he plans to leave the company, according to a report published Friday.




Citing sources familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reports Zadesky, a 16-year veteran who worked as a designer on Apple's iPod and iPhone lines, is quitting for "personal reasons." It is not clear if his departure is related to ongoing work toward an electric vehicle.

The team working on Apple's car project has encountered problems with setting and meeting "clear goals," while executives push for overly ambitious deadlines, the report said. Apple is looking to finalize engineering by 2019, though it might be several more years before an actual product is ready to ship.

The report lines up with information provided to AppleInsider in September. According to an informed source, manufacturing roadblocks forced Apple to consider partnering with an established carmaker in hopes of realizing a near-future ship date. The project's size is also an issue, leading to speculation that Apple might dedicate a permanent car facility on land leased in San Jose.

Zadesky, a former Ford engineer, was first attached to Titan last February, with reports at the time saying he was leading a team of hundreds of employees. Apple CEO Tim Cook supposedly gave Zadesky the green light to start work on the much-rumored electric car effort two years ago, allowing him free rein to poach talent from other departments.

Apple has yet to confirm work on a full-fledged vehicle, but a recent spate of hires and key acquisitions from the automotive industry suggest the initiative is well underway. AppleInsider exclusively reported on Project Titan hires coming from Tesla's ranks in September, and last March uncovered evidence of a secretive facility believed to be home base for Titan operations.

It is unknown when Zadesky plans to officially exit Apple, and the company has not responded for comment.
«13456

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 103
    If this is true it's a big deal. This guy is a 16 year Apple vet who ran iPod and iPhone engineering before allegedly being put on the car project.
    tallest skilcornchipnetmage
  • Reply 2 of 103
    If this is true it's a big deal. This guy is a 16 year Apple vet who ran iPod and iPhone engineering before allegedly being put on the car project.
    Oh, who knows if it's true. At least the WSJ is marginally more trustworthy than the NY Times.
    latifbp
  • Reply 3 of 103
    If this is true it's a big deal. This guy is a 16 year Apple vet who ran iPod and iPhone engineering before allegedly being put on the car project.
    Oh, who knows if it's true. At least the WSJ is marginally more trustworthy than the NY Times.
    If it is my guess is Apple will comment on it. Also leaking it (whoever did) late on a Friday is interesting,
  • Reply 4 of 103
    If this is true it's a big deal. This guy is a 16 year Apple vet who ran iPod and iPhone engineering before allegedly being put on the car project.
    Clearly this is a sign of the apocalypse. Tim Cook needs to be fired immediately. 
    bobroo
  • Reply 5 of 103
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Oh, who knows if it's true. At least the WSJ is marginally more trustworthy than the NY Times.
    If it is my guess is Apple will comment on it. Also leaking it (whoever did) late on a Friday is interesting,
    16 years is a long time. He's gonna go some day. Just be glad he's been there this long.

    Still this isn't official.
    cornchip
  • Reply 6 of 103
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,022member
    If this is true it's a big deal. This guy is a 16 year Apple vet who ran iPod and iPhone engineering before allegedly being put on the car project.
    Clearly this is a sign of the apocalypse. Tim Cook needs to be fired immediately. 
    STAT.
  • Reply 7 of 103
    If this is true it's a big deal. This guy is a 16 year Apple vet who ran iPod and iPhone engineering before allegedly being put on the car project.
    Clearly this is a sign of the apocalypse. Tim Cook needs to be fired immediately. 
    Ha. That's it off with Tim Cook's head. Seriously though probably not someone Apple wanted to lose. He currently has 172 patent applications and I noticed some of them are around stuff like liquid metal, sapphire and force touch. According to The Official Board he is/was reporting to Jony Ive but who knows if that's accurate as I though Ive no longer had direct reports. http://www.theofficialboard.com/org-chart/apple

    Anyway working at Apple is tough and for a lot of employees work/life balance barely exists. Maybe this guy was just burned out after 16 years.
    latifbpSpamSandwichnostrathomascornchipnetmageargonaut
  • Reply 8 of 103
    There must be something common between Titanic, Itanium, and Titan besides the huge ambitions of the creators...
    bigpics
  • Reply 9 of 103
    The article is trying too hard to conflate a bunch of rumors into some kind of exposé about why he's leaving. Fact: We don't know why he's leaving, and we don't know what impact it will have. Anyone who assumes that this equals bad news for Apple is just projecting their own view onto the situation.
    buckaleccaliSpamSandwichlolliverlkruppcornchippscooter63
  • Reply 10 of 103
    The phrase "for personal reasons" can mean lots of things, some not necessarily related to his engineering skills or accomplishments. 
    pscooter63argonaut
  • Reply 11 of 103
    I'm more concerned why Apple is venturing into this realm. While one could argue that a cell phone was outside of their business years ago, they at least made portable devices with batteries and storage prior to that. This seems so far outside the zone for them thats almost incomprehensible that they would even know what time frame to assign tasks.
    asdasdcnocbuicornchipnetmage
  • Reply 12 of 103
    If this is true it's a big deal. This guy is a 16 year Apple vet who ran iPod and iPhone engineering before allegedly being put on the car project.
    Oh, who knows if it's true. At least the WSJ is marginally more trustworthy than the NY Times.
    And you have empirical evidence this is true? Or we should simply accept your opinion?
  • Reply 13 of 103
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,526member
    Clearly this is a sign of the apocalypse. Tim Cook needs to be fired immediately. 
    Ha. That's it off with Tim Cook's head. Seriously though probably not someone Apple wanted to lose. He currently has 172 patent applications and I noticed some of them are around stuff like liquid metal, sapphire and force touch. According to The Official Board he is/was reporting to Jony Ive but who knows if that's accurate as I though Ive no longer had direct reports. http://www.theofficialboard.com/org-chart/apple

    Anyway working at Apple is tough and for a lot of employees work/life balance barely exists. Maybe this guy was just burned out after 16 years.
    Yes, and if he knew that it would be another five years before the product was being produced for sale, he might have decided that he could not commit to seeing it through.  If Apple is going to build a car, they would probably prefer someone to lead the project whom they were certain would stay on until fruition.
  • Reply 14 of 103
    The article is trying too hard to conflate a bunch of rumors into some kind of exposé about why he's leaving. Fact: We don't know why he's leaving, and we don't know what impact it will have. Anyone who assumes that this equals bad news for Apple is just projecting their own view onto the situation.
    You are right that when someone uses personal reasons it means they do not have to say the reason so we will never know the reason. However it is usually retirement, family, medical or relocation. Any reason to do with failure of the project is highly unlikely, anything like that can be re-negotiated, whereas personal reasons cannot.
    edited January 2016
  • Reply 15 of 103
    steviet02 said:
    I'm more concerned why Apple is venturing into this realm. While one could argue that a cell phone was outside of their business years ago, they at least made portable devices with batteries and storage prior to that. This seems so far outside the zone for them thats almost incomprehensible that they would even know what time frame to assign tasks.
    The electric car is, arguably, just a portable device with a battery in it. 
    lostkiwigtrcalinolamacguylollivercornchipnetmagepscooter63argonautpalomine
  • Reply 16 of 103
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member

    The fact he's leaving is true, every other thing is clickbaity pull out of one's ass tripe
    quinney said:
    Ha. That's it off with Tim Cook's head. Seriously though probably not someone Apple wanted to lose. He currently has 172 patent applications and I noticed some of them are around stuff like liquid metal, sapphire and force touch. According to The Official Board he is/was reporting to Jony Ive but who knows if that's accurate as I though Ive no longer had direct reports. http://www.theofficialboard.com/org-chart/apple

    Anyway working at Apple is tough and for a lot of employees work/life balance barely exists. Maybe this guy was just burned out after 16 years.
    Yes, and if he knew that it would be another five years before the product was being produced for sale, he might have decided that he could not commit to seeing it through.  If Apple is going to build a car, they would probably prefer someone to lead the project whom they were certain would stay on until fruition.

    suddenly newton
  • Reply 17 of 103
    Apple has, in the past, made some seriously bad product decisions--the Lisa comes to mind. Building an electric car probably falls in the same basket. It is not for nothing that almost all truly successful autos are designed and manufactured by companies that are already in the business of designing and building cars, trucks buses and the like. Tesla is an anomaly (and they are not yet a going, self-sustaining car company).
    bobroo
  • Reply 18 of 103
    Well Tony Fadell just tweeted this:

    Huge loss for Apple, they're going to seriously miss you. Was awesome to work together on all the iPods and iPhones.

    So I take that a confirmation this guy is leaving. 

    SpamSandwichtallest skilcornchip
  • Reply 19 of 103
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Apple has, in the past, made some seriously bad product decisions--the Lisa comes to mind. Building an electric car probably falls in the same basket. It is not for nothing that almost all truly successful autos are designed and manufactured by companies that are already in the business of designing and building cars, trucks buses and the like. Tesla is an anomaly (and they are not yet a going, self-sustaining car company).
    Right... Something 30 years ago... That's entirely relevant to Apple now.

    There's plenty of company that made the transition from selling something else, to cars,
     just none recently (mostly because it takes much more capitals now than in the 1950-1960s).

    You kind of forget that the car is becoming a CONSUMER ELECTRONIC DEVICE.

    If god damn Google and Uber! can put a car on the road, google! And Amazon can get into manning fleet of drones.... (sic)
    I don't know how Apple could do worse than them. Seriously?
    Uber has a bit of experience in software and that's it.
    Google, 100 different moonshots, tries everything, good at next to nothing; hardware? Not that great. Software? OK, nothing to write home about.



    calinolamacguylollivercornchipbadmonk
  • Reply 20 of 103
    Apple has, in the past, made some seriously bad product decisions--the Lisa comes to mind. Building an electric car probably falls in the same basket. It is not for nothing that almost all truly successful autos are designed and manufactured by companies that are already in the business of designing and building cars, trucks buses and the like. Tesla is an anomaly (and they are not yet a going, self-sustaining car company).
    The Lisa's problem was that Jobs spent the entire demo tour talking up how he was working on Macintosh, which would ship the next year for significantly less (well, and the Twiggy drives sucked, but that was fixed with Lisa 2).
    cornchip
Sign In or Register to comment.