Apple ParkSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • Apple hires Ulrich Hanz, a former BMW executive.
  • Hanz is expected to be working on Apple's car project.
  • Ulrich Kranz also co-founded the startup Canoo.

Apple has hired Ulrich Kranz, a senior executive at BMW working in its electric car division, to help lead its own vehicle project, according to Bloomberg.

Hiring Kranz is one of the most significant hires Apple has made in its long-fabled car project and is likely a good indication that the project is running along just fine. On top of being a former BMW executive, Kranz also was the co-founder and CEO of Canoo Inc., a developer of self-driving electric vehicles.

Apple has been toying with some sort of vehicle project since 2014. The company originally began developing its own vehicle — often dubbed the "Apple Car" — but in 2016, it switched gears to making an autonomous software platform for existing manufacturers.

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Apple and BMW do have a history together. Both companies integrated the iPod with BMW's auto infotainment systems way back in the early 2000s. Of course, in recent years, BMW and Apple have worked together to allow the best iPhone to work as a car key.

Rumors surrounding the Apple Car have been abundant in recent months, with many reports claiming some partnership between the tech giant and automotive makers Hyundai/Kia that may even span multiple different aspects, but likely not a car itself.

In any case, any Apple Car is likely a long time away from being officially announced or revealed. However, Kranz's hiring is definitely a good sign that development on the car project is still going strong.