Apple shakes up electric vehicle team, places Bob Mansfield in charge of 'Project Titan' - report

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
After taking a reduced role at Apple for the last few years, hardware engineer and former executive Bob Mansfield has returned to prominence at the company, and is now in charge of the company's ambitious electric vehicle project, according to a new report.




Citing unnamed sources, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that former senior vice president has assumed control of "Project Titan," the alleged code name for Apple's autonomous vehicle efforts. The move comes months after it was revealed that company veteran Steve Zadesky, the former head of the "Apple Car" project, was leaving Apple.

Taking control of arguably Apple's most ambitious project ever is a big change for Mansfield, who announced in June of 2012 that he would be retiring from the company. Just a month after that, it was instead announced that Mansfield was staying in an advisory role to Chief Executive Tim Cook.

For the next year, he held the title of Senior Vice President of Technologies, but left that role in July of 2013. After exiting the company's executive team, he continued to work on "special projects" under Cook.

Bob Mansfield

Apple's Bob Mansfield. | Source: Apple


The change in leadership comes only days after a separate report claimed that Apple has internally delayed its vehicular project's projected launch until 2021. Earlier reports had pegged the so-called "Apple Car" for a 2020 debut.

Though Apple has remained mum on "Project Titan," AppleInsider has traced breadcrumbs to unearth details about the effort, including the discovery of a secretive facility in Sunnyvale, Calif., believed to be the home base for development. There, Apple is believed to have hidden behind a shell corporation named SixtyEight Research LLC.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 64
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,829member
    So what exactly does Dan Riccio do? You never hear of him overseeing any projects at Apple. I think the last time he was in a product video was the 5K iMac.
  • Reply 2 of 64
    red oakred oak Posts: 641member
    Huge. Great news.  
    latifbpindyfxpatchythepirate
  • Reply 3 of 64
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,833member
    So what exactly does Dan Riccio do? You never hear of him overseeing any projects at Apple. I think the last time he was in a product video was the 5K iMac.
    http://www.apple.com/pr/bios/dan-riccio.html

    "Dan leads the Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod engineering teams"
    latifbpration aldysamoria
  • Reply 4 of 64
    So basically they're starting all over again. 

    Anyone who believes an Apple car will see the light of day before 2021, if ever, is kidding themselves. 

    And by then the big auto makers will have an insurmountable lead. 
  • Reply 5 of 64
    2old4fun2old4fun Posts: 217member
    So basically they're starting all over again. 

    Anyone who believes an Apple car will see the light of day before 2021, if ever, is kidding themselves. 

    And by then the big auto makers will have an insurmountable lead. 
    Just as Nokia and Blackberry had insurmountable leads in cell phones.
    mwhitemike1buckalecchabigcrowleyjay-tbrucemcnolamacguyration alRayz2016
  • Reply 6 of 64
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,894member
    The next 18 months are going to be critical for Tim Cook. I really want him to succeed -- he's a nice, smart guy and he's accomplished a great deal over his career at Apple. I respect him tremendously. 

    But. 

    I'm becoming increasingly nervous about the pace of product improvements at Apple. There is a whiff of staleness throughout the lineup. It's particularly bad with the Mac, but it's not just the Mac. 

    In addition, the electric / autonomous car market is going to be extremely competitive. When the iPhone came out, it was significantly ahead of the competition. I'm not sure Apple can pull that off with a car, particularly given the staleness of their existing products. After reading the Tesla Master Plan part 2, I'm feeling pretty skeptical that Apple is going to have any better ideas that Tesla. 

    My hope is that 18 months from now, I'll look back and see a slew of groundbreaking product introductions. I'll realize that the staleness that I'm perceiving now was due to a slight delay in the launch of multiple groundbreaking products that re-established Apple's leadership in all its markets. And perhaps then I'll feel more confident that Apple can be a leader in cars. 

    However, if in 18 months those hopes are not realized and the product lineup continues to seem stale, then I will reluctantly conclude that Apple needs new leadership, and that a Tesla acquisition or merger might be something for the board to seriously consider, bringing Musk in as CEO. 

    I really hope it doesn't come to that.
    slprescottmacxpressanantksundaramkermit4krazy
  • Reply 7 of 64
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,792member
    The other thing I fear is that if Apple's project leaders start retiring/leaving, they don't seem to have a deep enough roster to lead any projects its working on. If Apple had to ask someone to come out of retirement (seems like this happened before with Bob) to lead a major project they're working on then they must not have anyone at Apple that can lead these different departments sufficiently should someone leave the company. One person cannot do it all. We can't have Dan Riccio leading every single hardware project Apple is working on. Its simply too much. Or, we can't have Craig Federighi lead every single piece of software Apple is working on. Product development will start to linger on far more than it should an the end result may not be worth the wait. I know its hard to find really good people, but I think Apple needs to start looking for more leadership type people if they can't rely on someone internally.
    kermit4krazy
  • Reply 8 of 64
    applesauce007applesauce007 Posts: 1,604member
    red oak said:
    Huge. Great news.  
    Yes Indeed!

    Bob Mansfield has been instrumental most of the greatest products from Apple.
    That's why Tim fought to keep him on board.
    Now I expect great things for project Titan.

    Go Apple!
    ration aljony0latifbp
  • Reply 9 of 64
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,829member
    blastdoor said:
    The next 18 months are going to be critical for Tim Cook. I really want him to succeed -- he's a nice, smart guy and he's accomplished a great deal over his career at Apple. I respect him tremendously. 

    But. 

    I'm becoming increasingly nervous about the pace of product improvements at Apple. There is a whiff of staleness throughout the lineup. It's particularly bad with the Mac, but it's not just the Mac. 

    In addition, the electric / autonomous car market is going to be extremely competitive. When the iPhone came out, it was significantly ahead of the competition. I'm not sure Apple can pull that off with a car, particularly given the staleness of their existing products. After reading the Tesla Master Plan part 2, I'm feeling pretty skeptical that Apple is going to have any better ideas that Tesla. 

    My hope is that 18 months from now, I'll look back and see a slew of groundbreaking product introductions. I'll realize that the staleness that I'm perceiving now was due to a slight delay in the launch of multiple groundbreaking products that re-established Apple's leadership in all its markets. And perhaps then I'll feel more confident that Apple can be a leader in cars. 

    However, if in 18 months those hopes are not realized and the product lineup continues to seem stale, then I will reluctantly conclude that Apple needs new leadership, and that a Tesla acquisition or merger might be something for the board to seriously consider, bringing Musk in as CEO. 

    I really hope it doesn't come to that.
    So basically everyone just needs to cede the electronic vehicle market to Tesla because nobody can have a better/different idea than Musks grand plan? Or implement something at scale that he can't? It's amazing how people squawk about the need for competition except when it comes to EV, there Musk is untouchable.
    jay-tprolinemac fan
  • Reply 10 of 64
    slprescottslprescott Posts: 752member
    blastdoor said:
    The next 18 months are going to be critical for Tim Cook. ... <snip>
    I agree with your full and balanced sentiment.  Apple's reputation as an innovator has taken a hit in the court of Public Relations -- justified or not -- and some action will be necessary to reshape that perspective.
    blastdoorcwingravanantksundaram
  • Reply 11 of 64
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,891member
    May be he needs first to improve CarPlay?  Why the world's largest auto maker would not adopt CarPlay?  He needs to be able to answer this correctly?
    anantksundaram
  • Reply 12 of 64
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,567member
    blastdoor said:
    The next 18 months are going to be critical for Tim Cook. I really want him to succeed -- he's a nice, smart guy and he's accomplished a great deal over his career at Apple. I respect him tremendously. 

    But. 

    I'm becoming increasingly nervous about the pace of product improvements at Apple. There is a whiff of staleness throughout the lineup. It's particularly bad with the Mac, but it's not just the Mac. 

    In addition, the electric / autonomous car market is going to be extremely competitive. When the iPhone came out, it was significantly ahead of the competition. I'm not sure Apple can pull that off with a car, particularly given the staleness of their existing products. After reading the Tesla Master Plan part 2, I'm feeling pretty skeptical that Apple is going to have any better ideas that Tesla. 

    My hope is that 18 months from now, I'll look back and see a slew of groundbreaking product introductions. I'll realize that the staleness that I'm perceiving now was due to a slight delay in the launch of multiple groundbreaking products that re-established Apple's leadership in all its markets. And perhaps then I'll feel more confident that Apple can be a leader in cars. 

    However, if in 18 months those hopes are not realized and the product lineup continues to seem stale, then I will reluctantly conclude that Apple needs new leadership, and that a Tesla acquisition or merger might be something for the board to seriously consider, bringing Musk in as CEO. 

    I really hope it doesn't come to that.
    I would note that an analyst stated that Apple will generate $45 B off of Pokemon Go; let me know when Tesla starts generating income from its car manufacturing operation.

    For the record, EV penetration is less that one percentage point in the U.S. and there are few barriers to entry for manufacturers. I'm not seeing any insurmountable lead that Tesla will have in the market for any determined new entrant.

    As for the Mac's, they aren't being refreshed because there is so little real performance benefit from Intel releases of late. Apple will wait until it gets Intel parts that support the various features that they are pushing; I'm guessing Kaby Lake will be a design in for the next future Mac Book Pro updates.
    ration alpatchythepiratemac fan
  • Reply 13 of 64
    loquiturloquitur Posts: 112member
    Apple's modus operandi has been bringing better things to the table for existing markets,
    from PCs to music players to phones to tablets to watches.  This has all been hashed out before, but involving
    not being first-to-market, but not being "me too" either.   Vis-a-vis Tesla, Musk and crew's offerings seem
    to serve a similar role for autos, helping to upend the internal-combustion milieu.

    What is hard for me to imagine is what is possibly horribly wrong with a Tesla that Apple
    can meaningfully improve upon.  Is there some amazingly better (and ultra-secret) battery tech
    that Apple has in the wings?   Is Tesla's user interface so misguided that some CarPlay+Siri-like
    offering should take it's place?   To go from making gadgets generally smaller than a breadbox
    to something much larger just seems out-of-place.   Further, the automotive industry doesn't
    "impedance-match" with the outsized profit-margins that Apple has heretofore enjoyed.


    edited July 2016 ration alprolineafrodri
  • Reply 14 of 64
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,525member
    tmay said:

    I would note that an analyst stated that Apple will generate $45 B off of Pokemon Go; let me know when Tesla starts generating income from its car manufacturing operation.
    I think you might be off a decimal point there.  Apple's entire services business is not (yet) to that level per year.  I get your point though, and agree that most people always value the "what could be" rather than put any value on "what is".

    As for the Mac's, they aren't being refreshed because there is so little real performance benefit from Intel releases of late. Apple will wait until it gets Intel parts that support the various features that they are pushing; I'm guessing Kaby Lake will be a design in for the next future Mac Book Pro updates.
    Indeed, perhaps yet another reason that Apple needs to eventually transition their Mac line (or create a new line) that utilizes their own in-house A-series chips.  While Apple can't change the fundamentals of transistor technology, what they can do is add more functions into a SoC that provides new functionality beyond the general CPU/GPU, as they already do with their iOS devices.  Image & video manipulation/editing, compression, secure components, supporting biometric sensors, etc.  And/or they can have more than one SoC package, since the costs can be much lower than paying Intel.

    Waiting a couple of years for a 10-20% improvement in performance isn't going to get anyone to upgrade.
    tmaypropodmac fan
  • Reply 15 of 64
    prolineproline Posts: 188member
    blastdoor said:

    But
    I'm becoming increasingly nervous about the pace of product improvements at Apple. There is a whiff of staleness throughout the 
    However, if in 18 months those hopes are not realized and the product lineup continues to seem stale, then I will reluctantly conclude that Apple needs new leadership, and that a Tesla acquisition or merger might be something for the board to seriously consider, bringing Musk in as CEO. 

    I really hope it doesn't come to that.
    I get it. If Cook cant deliver in 18 months the board should hire the guy who still hasnt managed to execute on his first master plan after 10 years. The guy who has never run a profitable company other than a shitty online payments one. The guy who has to go to the stock market every year asking for money, and uses sharholder money to bail out his other failing businesses. It makes PERFECT sense. Why wouldnt a board that makes 40 billion in profit a year want a guy like that in charge?
    brucemctmayration alRayz2016nolamacguypalominepatchythepiratemac fan
  • Reply 16 of 64
    prolineproline Posts: 188member

    blastdoor said:
    The next 18 months are going to be critical for Tim Cook. ... <snip>
    I agree with your full and balanced sentiment.  Apple's reputation as an innovator has taken a hit in the court of Public Relations -- justified or not -- and some action will be necessary to reshape that perspective.
    People run articles about how Musk is out of ideas, and it was the same for Jobs. Running your company in such a manner as to strive for slightly more fawning editorials is no way to succeed. 
  • Reply 17 of 64
    If Mansfield is in charge, then for me, the Apple Car has become real to me. With Mansfield taking on the Car and Riccio taking on the microprocessors, I believe Apple will have a competitive-to-superior car entry. It just might be time for Musk to start planning his exit strategy (I just had to have a little dig at the man for claiming Apple or any company are too late to the car manufacturing industry). Go, Apple!
    palominepatchythepirateargonaut
  • Reply 18 of 64
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    blastdoor said:

    My hope is that 18 months from now, I'll look back and see a slew of groundbreaking product introductions. I'll realize that the staleness that I'm perceiving now was due to a slight delay in the launch of multiple groundbreaking products that re-established Apple's leadership in all its markets. And perhaps then I'll feel more confident that Apple can be a leader in cars. 

    However, if in 18 months those hopes are not realized and the product lineup continues to seem stale, then I will reluctantly conclude that Apple needs new leadership, and that a Tesla acquisition or merger might be something for the board to seriously consider, bringing Musk in as CEO. 
    "groundbreaking" new products, within 18 months, or Cook/Apple is DOOOMED? riiiiight. weve heard that one before.
    tmay
  • Reply 19 of 64
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    macxpress said:
    The other thing I fear is that if Apple's project leaders start retiring/leaving, they don't seem to have a deep enough roster to lead any projects its working on. If Apple had to ask someone to come out of retirement (seems like this happened before with Bob) to lead a major project they're working on then they must not have anyone at Apple that can lead these different departments sufficiently should someone leave the company. One person cannot do it all. We can't have Dan Riccio leading every single hardware project Apple is working on. Its simply too much. Or, we can't have Craig Federighi lead every single piece of software Apple is working on. Product development will start to linger on far more than it should an the end result may not be worth the wait. I know its hard to find really good people, but I think Apple needs to start looking for more leadership type people if they can't rely on someone internally.
    apple's a pretty secretive company. famously so. how on earth do you know that they dont seem to have a quality roster in place?
    ration al
  • Reply 20 of 64
    uroshnoruroshnor Posts: 78member
    tzeshan said:
    May be he needs first to improve CarPlay?  Why the world's largest auto maker would not adopt CarPlay?  He needs to be able to answer this correctly?
    The world largest Volkswagen/Skoda/Audi/Porche , did adopt CarPlay (as did Ford, GM and Fiat/Chrysler/Jeep). Toyota, and a few others, like Land Rover, are staunchly sticking to the belief that they know how to do user interaction better than Apple & Google, and are trying to prevent the phone companies getting between them and the car.

    At least most Toyota units are standard 2 DIN brackets and you can rip out the factory one and put in a after-market unit like Alpine or Kenwood.

    Land Rover's App idea has some interesting attributes, but I'd prefer if they were able to integrate it WITH Carplay, rather than reject CarPlay .
    macxpress
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