Apple recently hired former Tesla designer Andrew Kim, thus reigniting speculation that Apple has some interesting plans ahead in the automotive space. Originally spotted by The Verge, Kim’s LinkedIn profile reveals that he began working at Apple just this month. Previously, Kim spent a tad under two years at Tesla where he worked on every car under the Tesla umbrella, including the Model 3, the Tesla Semi, and the next-gen Roadster.
Before joining Tesla in December of 2016, Kim spent nearly four years at Microsoft where he helped work on the Xbox One, Windows 10, and HoloLens. Consequently, there’s a good chance that Apple bringing Kim on board has more to do with Apple’s ambitions in the augmented reality space than its interest in introducing self-driving cars. While Apple tends to keep its product pipeline a secret, there have been rumblings that Apple may introduce a augmented reality headset or even augmented reality enabled glasses sometime over the next few years.
Interestingly enough, Kim is the second high-profile Tesla employee to jump ship for Apple over the past few months. This past August, senior Tesla engineering VP Doug Field returned to Apple where he is reportedly working on Project Titan — Apple’s car initiative — underneath Bob Mansfield. While the notion of Apple introducing its own branded car seems like a long shot in my opinion, reputed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released an investor note a few months back predicting that Apple will roll out an Apple Car by 2025 at the latest.
All that aside, what Kim is actually working on remains a well-guarded secret. Indeed, given the breadth of his previous work and design experience, Kim’s talents could reasonably be applied to seemingly any of Apple’s many hardware or software projects.