Doug Field is used to delivering. He has a solid track record at several major companies. In the last decade, Field led the development of the Tesla Model 3, which is no mean feat.
When Field returned to Apple in 2018 (he did a previous stint at the company in 2008), it was to head up the “special projects” department, believed by many to be the very department where the mysterious – and Apple-confirmed – Project Titan car project was taking shape.
From the outside, the picture was clear. Field would do for Apple’s car project what he had done for Tesla with the Model 3.
But now he’s left Apple again: Field recently departed the company to take a job at Ford. His new duties include taking the elderly car company – indeed, the company where he began his professional career in 1987 – to new, digital levels.
It’s a prestigious appointment for Ford, but for Apple it’s nothing short of a gut punch, performed in public for the world to see.
When the most important figure in Apple’s car project chooses instead to take a job at Ford (and this followed the departure of other senior employees), the question marks start to appear. If even Ford, a traditional, old-school car giant, is more attractive for a future-facing project manager than Apple, does Project Titan have any substance at all?
Will Apple ever launch a car?
What did Apple actually intend to bring to the car market, a market that’s well know for being difficult to navigate? Does Apple want to make a car at all? Can it?
And above all, what has Apple been up to all these years? We started reporting on Apple’s car project back in 2014, and nothing of substance has been announced since then.
Part of the frustration is that Apple has had so many chances to deliver a car, if only it wanted to. With the leadership of Doug Field. With the assistance of established car companies. Even Tesla could have helped.
It’s lucky Apple doesn’t have to go further than its own coffers to raise cash, because no venture capitalist would want to invest in a car project that after at least seven years of development has produced nothing but continual staff turnover and management changes.
If you were looking forward to soon being able to park a car with an Apple logo in the front, it’s time to start shopping for something else.
All that remains of Project Titan is rubble.
This article originally appeared on Macworld Sweden. Translation by David Price.