Apple nabbed another of Elon Musk’s employees. This time it’s Tesla veteran Steve MacManus, an expert in designing car interiors who has also worked for Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover, and Aston Martin. It doesn’t take one of Musk’s artificial intelligence experts to deduce what’s going on here: Apple is ramping up its auto plans.
Apple Poaches Tesla Vet, Stokes Electric Vehicle Rumor Mill
Even before this latest headline broke, Apple had left a trail of breadcrumbs for auto enthusiasts. The shadowy vehicle development process reportedly began in 2014 under the “Project Titan” banner.
Several hundred employees moved over to this division amid rumors that Apple was dabbling in electric vehicles, and even Elon Musk said he was “glad” to face competition from the “talented people” at the Tim Cook-led firm.
Yo, I don’t hate Apple. It’s a great company with a lot of talented people. I love their products and I’m glad they’re doing an EV.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 9, 2015
Somewhere along the line, those plans appeared to change.
Last month, MacRumors reported that Apple had shifted resources toward self-driving tech rather than a full-fledged electric vehicle. With a self-driving testing permit obtained from the DMV, that report appeared to confirm a new strategy – and the death of the iCar.
However, after the MacManus hiring, the odds have shifted back in favor of the Apple car becoming a reality.
Still, Apple has a compelling reason NOT to get into the auto business. In short, it’s a very low margin industry. Cars are expensive to make, and the profit per unit can’t touch software or electronics.
Elon Musk is desperately trying to scale Tesla into profitability,