Less than a week after Tesla poached the man responsible for one of Apple’s most successful stores, the revolving door between the two companies continues. That said, and with all respect to Niten Kapadia, who led the Third Street Promenade Apple Store for over seven years, this is the bigger coup with the capture of a top Tesla executive.
Apple Car is clearly coming
Apple has no business poaching Tesla employees if the company wasn’t excited about its first automotive offering. While that’s likely still 4-5 years away, Apple isn’t waiting and seems less interested in hiding the fact that it’s developing a car than in has been in the past. Chris Porritt, Tesla’s vice president of vehicle engineering, is moving to Apple and his experience and career lies solely in the automotive realm.
Porritt joined Tesla after stints at both Range Rover and Aston Martin. He served as the principle engineer at the former but his title as chief engineer with Aston Martin.
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While Porritt has been tagged to work on “special projects” it’s pretty clear what that project will be.
Caginess has been a big part of Apple’s culture when it comes to speaking about their plans and today is no different with both companies choosing not to comment on the company swap.
That said, even Apple CEO Tim Cook won’t deny that Apple is interested in producing a car; a few months back in an interview he said that it will “be like Christmas Eve for a while,” when directly asked a question about Apple’s automotive aspirations.
That was echoed my Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, in the last year when he’s said that it’s “obvious” that Apple is working on an “open secret.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s views on Apple
When pressed last year on whether or not he’s been in conversations with Apple about the latter’s potential purchase of his company he simply said that it won’t happen.
But he’s gone further as well.
“They have hired people we’ve fired,” Musk said in an interview with German newspaper Handlesblatt last year. “We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard.’ If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”
All that said, there has been no confirmation of the hire from any of the three parties involved. But, if Porritt is on the way to Apple, he clearly knows Musk’s and Tesla’s future plans.