Apple Electric Car Project Leader Reportedly Abandons Ship After 16 Years With Company

Apple still hasn't admitted that it's planning to release its own brand of electric vehicle in the near-future, but it's a secret to no one at this point that it's going to happen - barring some unforeseen occurrence, of course. In October, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that a "massive change" would be coming to the auto industry, but failed to elaborate on whether or not his company would be playing a role in that.

Meanwhile, in the background, Apple has been trying to snatch up as much talent as possible, to ensure that its stealth or not-so stealth project is a success. Some employees even came from Tesla, with founder and CEO Elon Musk humorously noting that Apple's automotive team is a "Tesla graveyard", a comment he later he tried to smooth over, but didn't manage to unsurprisingly.

Steve Zadesky
Steve Zadesky worked for Apple for 16 years

Nonetheless, it does appear that Apple's automotive project is well underway, and that the all-too-elusive announcement can't be that far off. However, the company did just suffer a potential blow, with Steve Zadesky, who was the head of the project, deciding to leave the company "for personal reasons." As Zadesky was with Apple for 16 years, his departure at a time when he led one of the company's most-anticipated projects ever is none too subtle. Naturally, Apple is not commenting on the departure, although it has been confirmed through multiple third-parties.

Zadesky was a great fit for Apple with its automotive project, as he worked at Ford just before the turn of the century for a handful of years. Following that, he went on to head-up product development for Apple, and had a hand in some of the company's most successful product launches ever, including the iPod and iPhone.

Apple Store
"Would you like a car with that iPhone?"

One key player departure shouldn't cripple Apple's automotive efforts, but given Zadesky's experience, and the project he was working on, this is certainly a notable one and perhaps a sign of something more significant... or not.