Earlier this week, we heard that Apple had brought back longtime executive Bob Mansfield to head up the development of its rumored electric car. If new reports are to be believed, however, it would appear that the return of Mansfield has heralded more than a new face for the head of Project Titan’s development team. Instead, his return may be bringing an entire shift in focus for the project.
According to sources who spoke to Bloomberg, Apple’s Project Titan is now shifting its focus to develop autonomous driving software for use in smart cars. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple won’t be developing a car, as those sources also claim that the company is merely prioritizing the development of this self-driving software and isn’t abandoning its vehicle concept altogether.
This rumor comes as Apple is said to have hired QNX Software Systems founder Dan Dodge earlier this year, with Dodge joining the Project Titan team. QNX Software Systems is responsible for developing the QNX operating system, which is intended for embedded systems. QNX Software Systems made the operating system seen in a variety of BlackBerry handsets (BlackBerry purchased the company in 2010), but as Bloomberg points out, it also made entertainment and navigation systems found in a number of cars, including ones from Ford and Volkswagen.
Previous rumors stated that Apple would launch its car in 2021, but with this news that focus has shifted to self-driving software, that may no longer be the case. Developing that software could be a better deal for Apple in the end, though, as it could then partner with automotive manufacturers to get the software in as many cars as possible. It could also conceivably allow Apple to get a product to market sooner, which is something the company might be interested in given the recent slow down in iPhone sales.
Obviously, a rumor is just a rumor, and it should be met with some level of skepticism, but we have to say that developing self-driving software for other manufacturers to use in their own cars wouldn’t be a bad idea for Apple. For now, though, there isn’t much to do aside from sitting back and speculating about what the future could hold for Apple and its products.