According to a new report, Apple’s mysterious car project is now focusing on software, and may end up serving as a platform for existing manufacturers.
It’s said Apple has hired Dan Dodge, the former head of BlackBerry Ltd.’s automotive software division (and former CEO of QNX, which BlackBerry acquired) to lead the charge. He’s said to report directly to new ‘Titan’ boss Bob Mansfield.
There could still be an autonomous car in the works, though:
The initiative is now prioritizing the development of an autonomous driving system, though it’s not abandoning efforts to design its own vehicle. That leaves options open should the company eventually decide to partner with or acquire an established car maker, rather than build a car itself. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.
Apple has hundreds of engineers working on car design and has been targeting a release as soon as 2020. That goal has been affected by multiple departures, technical delays and confusion regarding the direction of the project, according to people with knowledge of the efforts.
Mansfield is also said to be reporting directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook, whereas his predecessor had a go-between in hardware chief Dan Riccio.
Titan being more software than hardware was something I’ve long believed to be true, and this report backs that up. Any car Apple builds would likely be a ‘proof of concept’ rather than an upstart Tesla competitor.
And software is a smarter play. CarPlay was Apple’s first foray into connecting your car to your smartphone and making it ‘smarter.’ While CarPlay hasn’t quiet caught on as many had hoped, it’s a good first taste of what an Apple-laden car might be capable of.
But Titan’s main purpose is still believed to be automation, so we won’t be seeing Apple’s project come to life any time soon.