The Latest Hint That Apple's Gearing Up to Make Cars
Last Friday (Sept. 23), many in the media were shocked to find out that Chris Ziegler, a founding member and deputy editor of The Verge had been working for Apple for two months while still employed by the technology website. This story is bigger than clandestine work hours, though, as it could be the latest smoke-signal from Apple that the company is working on an automobile project.
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Ziegler's title at The Verge may have been deputy editor, but anyone familiar with his years of work covering the car industry for the website (his last piece covered a partnership between BMW and Intel) can read between the lines. There is little reason for Apple to create a conflict of interest for itself aside from the fact that Ziegler could provide a depth of knowledge about the car tech industry as a whole.
The specifics of Ziegler's position and contract at Apple are unknown at this time. In a letter in The Verge's forums, the site's editor-in-chief Nilay Patel stated that "Chris began working for Apple in July [and] we discovered and verified his dual-employment in early September." Noted Apple blogger John Gruber reported that his sources claim "Ziegler is not listed in the company directory" which suggests his position isn't cut and dry, and possibly a contractor role.
Apple, for its part, has yet to make a statement as to whether or not Ziegler is an employee of the company, and what his role in it is going forward. Apple may have leaked rumors and details of its iPhone 7 like a colander, but its silence on Ziegler seems in line with Apple's typically private behavior.
Patel explained that Zielger had been out of contact with The Verge for most of August and some of September, and that the site "made every effort to contact him and to offer him help if needed."
Last week was peppered with rumors of Apple working in the vehicle space. After reports spread (and subsequently dissolved) of Apple buying auto-maker McLaren, another popped up involving the company working on self-balancing motorcycles.