Apple self-driving car layoffs hint at division's direction
The competition has far more experience in testing on public roadsBy Shawn Knight
The big picture: Upcoming cuts to Apple's self-driving car division combined with its high disengagement rate and falling iPhone sales suggest to some that the division could be in danger of being shut down. If that indeed comes to fruition, Apple would have wasted years of time and countless dollars on Project Titan.
More information has surfaced regarding the nearly 200 Apple employees working on Project Titan that will soon be out of a job.
The layoffs, affecting 190 workers in total, were detailed in a letter sent to the California Employment Development Department this month. As The San Francisco Chronicle highlights, those being let go include 38 engineering program managers, 31 product design engineers, 33 hardware engineers and 22 software engineers.
The layoffs go into effect on April 16, the filing confirms. News of the pending job cuts was first shared by CNBC last month.
Apple's self-driving vehicle program was the talk of the town early on but its efforts have seemingly fallen well behind the competition. According to DMV data released this month, Apple performed 79,745 miles of testing in California between November 31, 2017, and December 1, 2018. On average, an error was experienced or a human driver had to take over every 1.1 miles. In comparison, disengagements in Waymo vehicles happened once every 11,017 miles.
Coincidence or not, the layoffs are coming at a time when iPhone sales are declining. Lynx Equity Strategies in an analyst report last month said, "A sudden and significant shortfall in iPhone revenue is causing a level of distress within Apple that is forcing it to make hard choices."