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Apple Watch exec takes over secretive car project

Apple Watch exec takes over secretive car project


After Ford poached the man in charge earlier this week

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Just two days after Ford hired away Doug Field, the head of Apple’s secretive car project, the tech giant has tapped Apple Watch exec and former Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch to take his place, according to Bloomberg.

It’s the latest changing of the guard for the project, known as Project Titan, which has rotated leaders about as much as it has reportedly shifted focus. To wit, Korea’s Maeil Economic Daily reported earlier Thursday that Apple may no longer be trying to work with other automakers to bring its autonomous electric car to life. Rather, the report states, Apple now plans to go it alone.

Lynch started working on the project in July, when he was brought on to help develop the vehicle’s software. He joined Apple in 2013 from Adobe, where he was the company’s chief technology officer. While there, he somewhat famously wrote Adobe’s official response to Apple’s decision to keep Flash out of iOS.

Lynch wrote Adobe’s defense of putting Flash on ios, once upon a time

Curiously, Bloomberg writes that Lynch still reports to Apple’s chief operating officer Jeff Williams and not John Giannandrea, the company’s head of AI — who was tapped last year to oversee the car project.

Field, meanwhile, ran Project Titan from 2018 up until this week when he was poached by Ford. Before that, he spent years at Tesla helping bring cars like the Model 3 to market. (Before that, he worked at... Apple.)

Launched in 2014 as a reported effort to build an electric car, Apple eventually pivoted the project to focus on the self-driving technology stack. But recently, it seems to have pivoted back, striking up conversations with major Asian automakers along the way (as well as considering buying electric vehicle startup Canoo). At this point, though, it might as well exist in a quantum state to anyone not actually working on the project. Until it’s observed, the Apple Car is both everything and nothing.