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Apple Lay Off 600 Employees, Majorly from Apple Car Project

ByHuey Yee Ong

Apr 7, 2024
Apple Lay Off 600 Employees, Majorly from Apple Car Project

Apple Lay Off 600 Employees, Majorly from Apple Car Project

Apple has recently undergone a significant restructuring effort, resulting in the layoff of over 600 employees, primarily affecting those associated with the company’s Apple Car project and microLED Apple Watch display initiatives.

Distribution of Layoffs

Reports indicate that the layoffs have impacted employees across various locations, with a substantial reduction in the workforce at Apple’s Project Titan facilities and smartwatch display development hub.

At least 87 employees were reportedly employed at a secretive Apple facility dedicated to advancing next-generation screen technology, most of whom have now been let go.

Furthermore, 371 employees were affected at Apple’s primary car-related hub in Santa Clara, California, while others were impacted across various satellite offices.

The decision to terminate both the Apple Car project and microLED display development was influenced by a combination of factors, including:

  • Executive indecision
  • Cost concerns
  • Engineering challenges

Despite years of investment and development, the challenges faced by both projects ultimately led to their discontinuation.

What Led to the End of Apple Car and MicroLED Projects?

Project Titan, initially shrouded in secrecy and speculation, aimed to develop an Apple-branded autonomous vehicle, signaling the company’s venture into a new product category. However, strategic indecisions and technical complexities inherent in car manufacturing posed significant obstacles, leading to the project’s cancellation as a car manufacturing initiative.

Similarly, Apple’s efforts to develop proprietary microLED displays for the Apple Watch were halted due to technological and logistical hurdles. While microLED technology offers superior brightness, color accuracy, and energy efficiency compared to OLED displays, challenges in production scalability and high manufacturing costs posed significant barriers.

How Is Apple Supporting Its Laid-Off Employees?

In response to the layoffs, Apple has provided opportunities for affected employees to transition to other departments within the company. Notably, several individuals from the Apple Car project team have been reassigned to roles contributing to Apple’s focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and personal robotics. CEO Tim Cook has emphasized the importance of autonomous systems and AI, positioning them as crucial components of Apple’s future development strategies.

Many engineers from Project Titan have joined teams led by John Giannandrea, Apple’s senior vice president of Machine Learning and AI Strategy, highlighting the company’s strategic reallocation of talent towards AI development. Apple’s investment in AI is further underscored by the development of chips with powerful Neural Engines capable of performing trillions of operations per second, enhancing AI capabilities across its product lineup.

Looking ahead, Apple’s emphasis on AI extends to improving user interactions with devices, with upcoming advancements expected in iOS 18, particularly enhancing Siri for more natural interactions and personalization. Additionally, advanced AI features are anticipated across various apps, including auto-summarizing in Pages and Keynote and automated playlist generation in Apple Music.

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Featured Image courtesy of MediaNews Group via Getty Images

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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