If you’re looking for hints that Apple might deliver on its long-rumored plan to develop its own car, a significant one landed this week after it emerged that Doug Field — Apple’s former VP of Mac hardware engineering — has rejoined from the company after a spell with Tesla.
John Gruber at Daring Fireball broke the news of Field returning to Apple following five years at Tesla where he oversaw the production of the Model 3.
Apple confirmed in a statement to TechCrunch that it has rehired Field, but it declined to give information about this role. Gruber reports, however, that Field will link up with Bob Mansfield, the former colleague he worked with on the Mac hardware business. Mansfield just so happens to be the person who is heading up Apple’s ‘Project Titan’ car project, having been tempted back and out of retirement, so there’s a lot to dig into.
There’s been plenty of speculation about the secretive Project Titan, most notably it was reported in 2016 that Apple had abandoned plans to develop a car. Instead, it was said to be focused on autonomous driving technology. While the project remains pretty opaque and tough to gauge, the hiring of the man who oversaw Tesla production — right after Apple poached a Waymo self-driving engineer — is a pretty interesting clue that suggests Apple might be reviving plans to develop a car once again.