Apple has poached a senior designer from electric carmaker Tesla, fueling speculation that the firm is getting serious about its car project.
Designer Andrew Kim joined the Cupertino tech giant this month, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Previously, Kim had worked as a senior designer for Tesla from December 2016 through November 2018.
Kim’s Instagram page also confirms that the engineer has started working for Apple — his first day was last Tuesday, Dec. 11, according to a post he published on that day.
Of course, there aren’t many details on what Kim is actually doing for Apple. Per the company’s strict secrecy culture, Kim’s LinkedIn profile only says that he is a “Designer.” But his background may provide some insight into his current job at the company.
Prior to Tesla, Kim worked as a designer for Microsoft and played a role in creating the Xbox One S and Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset.
He eventually moved to Tesla and contributed to the design of the Model 3, Model S, Model X, Semi and Roadster v2.
More specifically, Kim said in an interview from 2017 that one of his chief jobs at Tesla was designing the cabin space within the Model 3. Of course, he could be working on non-car-related projects since he does have a background in software and augmented reality.
But Kim’s hiring comes just a few months after Tesla chief vehicle engineer Doug Field left the automaker to return to Apple. And those Tesla alumni aren’t the only ones, either.
Apple has long been rumored to be working on automobile-related technologies. At one point, the company was said to be working on an actual Apple car. But after a series of road bumps, the so-called Project Titan shifted its focus to the underlying autonomous platforms for self-driving cars.
While Apple’s car project has been called one the “worst-kept secret” in Silicon Valley, Kim’s and other recent hires will likely only stoke speculation that Apple is actually serious about designing its own car — and not just car systems.