Here is something posted today to back up the claims the Apple car is not a go aheadhttp://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fbd75bd4-7701 ... z4Jso0xPct
Dozens of employees in Apple’s secret car project have departed in recent weeks after the new leader of the unit refocused its strategy, said people familiar with the situation.
The changes, which come at least two years into its ambitious attempt to build an electric car with self-driving capabilities, suggest that it may take longer than some investors had hoped for Apple to come up with a significant new revenue driver that can reduce its reliance on the iPhone.
Bob Mansfield, an Apple veteran, took over leadership of the car team over the summer, after the departure of his predecessor Steve Zadesky earlier this year.
Since 2014, the Apple unit has recruited hundreds of people, drawing on both internal engineers, such as people who worked on the original iPhone team, and recruits from other automotive companies, from Tesla to Mercedes-Benz. The research lab is based in several unmarked buildings around Sunnyvale, close to Apple’s Cupertino headquarters in Silicon Valley.
However, in recent weeks, dozens of people have left the team after Mr Mansfield decided to refocus on the underlying systems that would power a self-driving car rather than building an electric vehicle by itself, said people familiar with the changes.
Some Apple staffers have been reassigned to other internal teams, while others whose backgrounds are more in the traditional car industry have left the company. One highly-regarded electric vehicle engineer has rejoined the car company from which he was poached just last year.
The move could mean Apple must turn to an existing carmaker to fulfill its ambitions to get into the car business, which chief executive Tim Cook has said is set for “massive change” thanks to autonomous and electric vehicles. Partnering with a third party would be an unusual move for Apple, which tends to prefer controlling the hardware, software and services around a new product by itself.
Apple, which has never publicly acknowledged the existence of its automotive team, declined to comment. Bloomberg and the New York Times previously reported details of the changes.
Other Silicon Valley companies have also faced challenges in delivering on their autonomous driving ambitions. Google’s self-driving car team suffered the departure of Chris Urmson, its technical leader, last month. Tesla has faced criticism since a driver using its Autopilot system was killed in a collision. Meanwhile Uber, which is about to launch a pilot fleet of autonomous taxis in Pittsburgh, acquired Otto, which provided technology for driverless trucks, to bolster its efforts in the area.
For Apple, the search for a successor to the iPhone, which makes up about two-thirds of its sales, is becoming more urgent. Sales of the iPhone have fallen in recent months while other new devices, such as its Watch and TV box, have so far failed to compensate for the decline.