Apple has reportedly hired Tesla’s former vice president of vehicle engineering, Chris Porritt. While Apple declined to comment, Porritt’s experience positions him to be a likely candidate to head up the company’s yet-to-be-announced electric car effort, Project Titan.
In the past, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has brushed off Apple’s ongoing poaching of its executives this way:
“They have hired people we’ve fired,” Musk told German newspaper Handelsblatt. “We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard.’ If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple.”
To an extent, Musk is right to think Apple isn’t a threat to his company — for now.
While Apple has a storied history as a consumer tech behemoth with a cult following, the company doesn’t always get it right with its first generation products. The iPad is a notable exception — its initial year sales blew past all expectations.
It’s with the second generation, and third and fourth and so on, that Apple often wins over the masses — once it has refined the features and pricing. The bottom line is, the company eventually wins. It’s likely that with the second generation of Apple’s electric (or maybe self-driving!) cars, we’ll see an inflection point on the road to mainstream adoption of, or at least consumer trust in, self-driving electric vehicles.
So, while Apple is reportedly ramping up to put out its first iteration of an electric perhaps semi-autonomous vehicle by 2019, it’ll be in the years after (let’s say 2022-2023) that Apple will not only hit its stride as a car company but cause, at the very least, mass demand for a self-driving EV.
That’s not to say it won’t be stiff competition between Apple, Tesla and all the other companies in the mix.
Tesla, too, has garnered a cult-like following among owners and admirers. Those who own a Tesla have flocked to online forums and sites like Facebook to bash any critiques of Tesla and fawn over the company’s every move. And with the Model 3, Tesla has garnered a never-before-seen demand for electric vehicles.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.