A former senior executive at Apple has returned to the company to oversee its secretive but long-rumoured car project, according to reports.
Bob Mansfield stepped back from Apple's executive team in 2013, despite earning $85.5m a year, but remained around Cupertino as an adviser on special projects, including the Apple Watch.
According to the Wall Street Journal Mansfield has now formally returned to head up Apple's autonomous electric-vehicle programme, a particularly special project being developed under the code-name Project Titan.
The WSJ reported that employees at Apple "noticed in the company directory that all the senior managers on the car project were now reporting to Mr Mansfield", although a spokesperson for the company politely asked The Register to "please note that Apple doesn't comment on rumours or speculation".
This time last year, Doug Betts, the lead for global quality at Fiat Chrysler, joined Apple. At the time it was noted that Betts' expertise in building cars suggested the company was interested in more than developing a bit of dashboard gadgetry. Just months before, in February 2015, Apple hired automotive experts from Mercedes-Benz.
A report in The Information claimed that Apple management's 2019 deadline for the project had been pushed back to 2021, though an insider told the WSJ that Mansfield's "involvement isn’t necessarily a sign that the car project is ready to move forward at an accelerated rate, noting that he has killed projects in the past". ®