Apple Inc. (AAPL) is ramping up its hardware efforts by making key hires.
The report surmises that it could be a precursor to Apple’s ambitions in the satellite business. A satellite business could dramatically expand the market for Apple’s products. It is poised to ramp up its operations in emerging markets like India. While its gadgets are considered expensive in that market, the company is also stymied there due to a number of factors outside its control, such as slow or limited Internet connectivity and penetration. Having dedicated satellite systems to provide Internet services would help it market a cheaper version of its iconic iPhones to customers. Other technology majors, such as Facebook Inc. (FB) and Google, are also exploring ways to provide Internet connectivity to other markets. But the jury is still out on Apple’s intent behind the hiring. This is because the hired executives have experience that spans the satellite and consumer product industries. The report states that Apple could use their services to update its Maps app or bolster its efforts in augmented reality.
Self-Driving Unit Hires
Through a public records request, a WSJ article this morning uncovered key engineers that Apple has hired for its driverless car division. The company, which was first reported to be developing a self-driving car in late 2015, has hired from private organizations, such as Bosch, as well as NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories. (See also: Is Apple A Threat To Tesla’s Electric Car?)
The hires’ experience in technologies integral to self-driving cars, such as motion sensing and robotics, will help Apple make “quicker improvements” to its cars, an analyst is quoted as saying. The report also quotes an anonymous source as saying that Project Titan, as the company’s self-driving project is called, has close to 1,000 members.
The race toward self-driving cars has attracted major players from Silicon Valley, including Google and Uber. For Apple, the attraction of self-driving cars lies in its platform ecosystem, which could be a perfect complement for its hardware products. Reports late last year indicated that the company had shifted priorities on the project. It was now focused on creating autonomous software systems that power the car instead of making a completely autonomous car. (See also: Apple Sets Late 2017 Deadline For Self-Driving Car Project)