One Silicon Valley wheel just circled back to its starting point. A top Apple engineer who left in 2013 to join Tesla as its chief vehicle engineer is back with his former employer. The Verge reports that Doug Field, who'd been the VP of Mac hardware for the Cupertino giant, took a leave of absence from Tesla in May, followed by a full departure in June. Reuters and John Gruber at Daring Fireball got first confirmation on the development from Apple, along with whispers that Field is now working on Apple's hush-hush Project Titan self-driving car initiative (Apple didn't confirm that part).
VentureBeat calls Project Titan Apple's "unusually open secret," with claims "that Apple has flip-flopped between advancing and scaling back the project." Gruber says he's not ready to make too much of Field's return—and he notes that Apple and Tesla regularly swap employees—but he says it's an "interesting" move, as it suggests Apple might still be planning to churn out autonomous vehicles itself rather than simply making systems to place in other companies' vehicles. "That rumor never really made sense to me anyway," Gruber writes. "Apple's modus operandi has always been to make the whole widget." (Read more Tesla stories.)