Apple’s automotive plans have changed, and the iPhone maker is no longer planning to make its car, according to a new report.
Instead, Apple will focus on developing a self-driving car system that could be licensed to multiple car makers, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing anonymous sources. The shift followed the departure of Steve Zadesky, who was overseeing the effort known as Project Titan, in early 2016, the report added.
Multiple reports have suggested Apple has been secretly exploring entering the automotive market for at least several years and built up Project Titan with a staff of over 1,000 in a headquarters a few miles away from its main campus in Cupertino, Calif. But lately, the news from the car unit has been mixed with reports of layoffs, delays, and management turnover.
Many giants in the tech industry have been exploring making electric cars ever since Tesla demonstrated the appeal. Google and Uber, among others, have been publicly experimenting with self-driving and electric cars in various ways.
But the car industry is notoriously capital intensive and low margin, making it tough for the new players to break into the market. Tesla has still never turned a profit.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has obliquely acknowledged the car effort at various times. But he also has warned that not all of Apple’s initiatives result in products for consumers. “We edit very much,” Cook said in a February 2016 interviewwith Fortune. “We talk about a lot of things and do fewer. We debate many things and do a lot fewer.”
The car is not likely Apple’s only non-public project as of late. Cook has lately been hinting at augmented and virtual reality gear, for example. But the company could use a new, major hit as sales of the iPhone have tailed off, and Apple Watch has not taken off over the last year as some analysts had hoped.