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Tim Bradshaw and Andy Sharman at the Financial Times are reporting the following:Apple is recruiting experts in automotive technology and vehicle design to work at a new top-secret research lab, according to several people familiar with the company, pointing to ambitions that go beyond the dashboard.Dozens of Apple employees, led by experienced managers from its iPhone unit, are researching automotive products at a confidential Silicon Valley location outside the company’s Cupertino campus, the people said.Sir Jonathan Ive’s team of Apple designers has held regular meetings with automotive executives and creators in recent months, in some cases trying to hire them. Recent recruits to Apple’s team include the head of Mercedes-Benz’s Silicon Valley R&D unit. It would be surprising if Apple made a car since Apple makes its money selling personal computers like the iPhone, the iPad, and the Mac. It will be selling the Apple Watch, it’s most personal computer ever, as the company calls it.A car is not a computer. And unlike those other gadgets, a car has a longer upgrade cycle, and crappier margins.However, Steve Jobs had expressed interest in building a car. He told a New York Times reporter he would have loved to take on Detroit with an Apple car. Former Apple board member Mickey Drexler said Jobs wanted to make a car.
People involved in making cars
The Mac maker kicked off a top-secret project tasked with developing an electric car with a minivan aesthetic, per the WSJ’s sources, after CEO Tim Cook approved the project nearly a year ago. It includes “hundreds” of staffers and is led by Ford Motor vet and Apple VP Steve Zadesky, and it includes research into battery tech, robotics and metal production, according to the paper. Apple has allotted for as many as 1,000 people to work on the project, according to the newest report, and the team includes former Mercedez-Benz head of R&D Johann Jungwirth. The fact that Apple’s target in this case is an electric vehicle means earlier reports that it is seeking employees from Tesla (at the same time as Tesla is attempting to poach employees from Cupertino) make a lot of sense.
posted by +vishalsrinivasan