Apple has lost yet another member of the iCar team.
Apple may be good at designing products with a high want-one factor, but it sucks at building stuff. The latest generation of iPhone is built in China by Foxconn. In an odd twist of events, Foxconn actually beat its partners to the punch as it recently unveiled a series of EVs that will be made in America, including a compact EV pickup truck.
Apple's car division just took another massive hit. A crucial member of Project Titan, the internal code name for the Apple car, has left. Jonathan Sive, who was director of the design and hardware team, has left the company's famous campus in Cupertino to join Rivian.
Rivian is facing its own issues at the moment, but none nearly as big as Apple's problems. At least the Rivian R1T and R1S exist.
The announcement was made in Mark Gurman's Power On newsletter via Bloomberg.
Sive joined the Project Titan team in August 2020. Before that, he worked at Waymo and spent six years at Tesla earlier in his career. Sive is obviously a qualified individual, and his loss would have an impact on any team in the process of designing a car. His new job is as the vice president of Vehicle Architecture and Mechanical Integration for Rivian.
Despite Sive's impressive CV, Gurman claims that work on Project Titan continues behind locked doors. This is not the first time a high-profile member of the team has left, and late last year, three key engineers also ditched the famous phone maker.
The idea of an Apple Car has been around for eight years. Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, is rumored to have green-lit the project in 2014, but the car has been stuck in development hell since.
Progress has been slow, with multiple speed bumps along the way. Apple was close to partnering with Hyundai, but the Korean carmaker pulled out of the deal because there was nothing to gain. Apple also wanted China's CATL and BYD to supply batteries for its car, but negotiations broke down because of the tech company's extreme demands. Apple wanted the largest battery producer in the world to focus exclusively on its needs, which is why CATL chose to walk away.
CATL currently supplies batteries to Tesla, Volkswagen, and BMW, so walking away from the deal with Apple makes complete sense.
The last we heard, the release date for the Apple Car is set for 2025 at the earliest. Our earlier report mentions two versions of the car, which seems highly likely. Apple wants to build a fully autonomous vehicle and another model for driving. The latter will have advanced autonomous systems like Cadillac's Super Cruise but will still rely on a driver.
Apple has yet to announce a battery supplier, but given the contents of the Inflation Reduction Act and several battery plants popping up in the States, the tech giant will likely be shopping closer to home when the time comes.