Doug Field, Tesla's VP of engineering, and the man in charge of the Tesla Model 3 until May, is to rejoin Apple, the tech titan confirmed this week.
The move strengthens the view that Apple's stalled car initiative may have been pushed back onto the road.
Unofficial Apple PR conduit Daring Fireball said it believed that "Apple still has an interest in making actual vehicles, despite reports that the company has scaled back the project to merely make autonomous systems for inclusion in vehicles made by other companies."
Little has been heard of Apple's "Project Titan" since reports in 2016 that "several hundred hardware engineers" were either laid off or reassigned.
But that left around 1,000 working on the project. Field will work alongside ex-SGI guy Bob Mansfield, who was lured back to Apple after officially retiring (for a very short time) to rescue the project.
Although Apple does sit on an enormous pile of cash (some $158.8bn in April), nothing in the record, or in even the rumour mill, remotely suggests that Apple is building a "self-driving" or autonomous car (very 2014). Not even in homeopathic quantities.
And Tesla's well-documented difficulties in successfully manufacturing at scale don't give much support to the argument that Apple will ever make any kind of Apple-branded car at all.
It's much more plausible that Apple is interesting in designing a Car platform, to be embedded in cars made and sold by other people, though. That ensures its services business isn't muscled out of an environment where users spend a lot of time. ®