From John Gruber (daring fireball.net):
Here’s some interesting hiring news I’ve heard through the little birdie grapevine:1 Doug Field — who left Tesla in May after overseeing Model 3 production — has returned to Apple, working in Bob Mansfield’s project Titan group. Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr confirmed with me only that Field has returned to Apple, but no one should find it surprising that he’s working on Titan.
Doug Field who oversaw Model 3 production knows more about the Model 3 vehicle and production process than almost anyone at Tesla, besides Elon. And know, just a couple months after leaving Tesla, he is back at Apple and supposedly working on Apple’s car project.
I can’t imagine Elon is very happy about this. Doug Field was a trusted lieutenant for Elon, and someone he relied on heavily in many regards. And now Doug Field has left to go to Apple to make a possible competing car.
Gruber also makes an interesting point:
But I think it’s an interesting hire, primarily because it suggests to me 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. That rumor never really made sense to me anyway — Apple’s modus operandi has always been to make the whole widget. Apple makes products, not components.
In other words, Apple is not about making a component of the car like the infotainment or the autonomous driving function. Rather, Apple’s approach is to make the product, meaning the car.
Though probably unlikely, I do wonder with Apple hiring Doug Field so quickly, Elon also was also about to find out more about Apple’s plans. And while I’m sure Elon is confident Tesla can withstand and beat out Apple in the car business, still there might be some concern over how the public markets might react when Apple releases a car and how much it might hit TSLA stock. As a private company, Tesla’s private valuation would likely more more stable and somewhat insulated from events that tend to influence public sentiment.