Apple has lost yet another executive to electric vehicle startup Rivian, according to a new report. DJ Novotney, Apple’s vice president of hardware engineering who helped kickstart Apple’s secretive “Project Titan” car team, is leaving the tech giant after nearly 25 years. He will take on the role of senior vice president of vehicle programs at Rivian, reporting directly to CEO RJ Scaringe.
This high-profile departure raises questions about the future of Apple’s automotive ambitions. Novotney is the second notable leader to leave Apple for Rivian this month, following the exit of Jonas Reinke, head of product for Apple’s mobility division. Why are Apple veterans flocking to an upstart like Rivian?
It may signal that Apple’s Project Titan is stuck in neutral. Despite years of rumors and speculation, Apple has yet to formally announce plans for an “Apple Car.” Rivian, on the other hand, already has attractive vehicles on the road and a deal with Amazon to produce 100,000 electric delivery vans. For those eager to bring exciting new EVs to market, Rivian probably looks like a land of opportunity compared to Apple’s secretive, slow-moving car project.
Novotney brings over two decades of experience developing Apple’s hit consumer gadgets like the iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad. Clearly, his hardware expertise could be invaluable to Rivian. But he also has inside knowledge of Apple’s automotive technology and strategic roadmap. Rivian may gain a competitive edge by leveraging Novotney’s insider intel, as Apple plays catch-up in the fast-moving EV space.
For Apple, losing veteran talent like Novotney spells trouble for hitting its ambitious Project Titan targets. It’s another sign that the tech juggernaut may struggle to replicate its consumer electronics magic in the daunting auto industry. Meanwhile, Rivian continues to attract top Apple minds hungry to drive the future of transportation.