Tesla is reportedly in talks with music labels to sound out the feasibility of launching its own streaming music service that would come bundled with car ownership.
Recode reports that music industry sources say the electric car maker has had talks with all of the major labels about licensing a proprietary service that would integrate with vehicle dashboards. The service could begin with a free streaming radio option similar to Pandora, said sources, with multiple tiers offered to customers.
"We believe it's important to have an exceptional in-car experience so our customers can listen to the music they want from whatever source they choose," a Tesla spokesperson said. "Our goal is to simply achieve maximum happiness for our customers."
For most observers, a move into music streaming would come as an unexpected development for the car company. However TechCrunch notes that CEO Elon Musk hinted that Tesla was exploring music products at its most recent shareholder meeting in early June.
It's not entirely clear how serious Tesla is about the idea, given that existing streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify would have a huge lead over its own offering. Indeed, Tesla already has a deal with Spotify to provide music for Tesla cars sold outside the U.S., so unless the company has concrete plans to provide something particularly unique to its drivers, these talks are probably best filed under "speculative" for the time being at least.
Swift creator Chris Lattner, who left Apple to become vice president of Tesla's autopilot program, has parted ways with the electric car maker after just six months in the job.
"Chris just wasn't the right fit for Tesla, and we've decided to make a change," Tesla said Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal. Lattner followed Tesla's statement with a post on his Twitter account announcing his interest in available roles for a "seasoned engineering leader".
The parting of ways will come as a surprise to some observers, given Lattner's previous standing at Apple and his stated enthusiasm for a new challenge. Back in January, Lattner told MacRumors how much he loved writing code at Apple, and that leaving had been a "very difficult decision" but ultimately he was "ready to move onto something else" and the prospect of working on Tesla's Autopilot team was "irresistible".
Turns out that Tesla isn't a good fit for me after all. I'm interested to hear about interesting roles for a seasoned engineering leader!
However, as noted by WSJ, Lattner is just the latest departure in an recent exodus of talent from the program, which has been under increasing pressure from Tesla CEO Elon Musk to develop an autonomous car system, with a company target to demonstrate a car that can drive itself by the end of 2017 inching ever closer.
The program has also faced questions about the safety of the proposed technology, following a fatal crash last year in Florida involving a Tesla equipped with a semiautonomous system, which assists drivers during tasks like steering, braking, and changing lanes.
Lattner’s hiring in January coincided with the departure of Autopilot program director Sterling Anderson. Tesla sued Anderson after he tried to create a competing startup, but the lawsuit was settled in April.
Tesla has updated its iPhone app with a completely redesigned user interface and Touch ID support for quick access to keyless driving.
The app now has a much cleaner aesthetic, a trio of shortcuts on the main screen for quick access to frequently used controls, and a more detailed render of the vehicle in the "Climate" menu. A new Today widget in Notification Center allows users to monitor their electric vehicle at a glance.
Earlier this month, Swift creator Chris Lattner announced he will be stepping down as director of Apple's Development Tools department to lead Tesla's Autopilot engineering team as VP of Autopilot Software.
Lattner did not explain the reason for the move, but he later denied a report claiming he "felt constrained" due to Apple's culture of secrecy. So, we decided to reach out to him to learn about his true motivations.
As it turns out, Lattner told MacRumors the answer is actually very simple: he is ready to move on to something new.
I've been writing code for more than 30 years, and 16 of those years have been in the developer tools space. I love it, but I am ready to move on to something else. Autopilot is clearly incredibly important to the world because of its ability to save people's lives (and increase convenience). It is also a very, very hard technology problem and my experience building large scale software and team building is useful. Of course, I’ve also been a huge Tesla fan for some time.
He added it was "a very difficult decision," but noted the opportunity to work with Tesla's Autopilot team was "irresistible."
This was a very difficult decision, because I care deeply about the technology and people at Apple and because I could see myself staying there for many more years. In the end though, the opportunity to dive into a completely new area and work with the amazing Tesla Autopilot team was irresistible.
At Tesla, Lattner will help the company achieve one of its biggest goals: fully self-driving vehicles. As of October 2016, Tesla said all vehicles produced in its factory, including the Model 3, have the hardware needed for "full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver," and it's now only a matter of time before the technology is enabled.
All you will need to do is get in and tell your car where to go. If you don’t say anything, the car will look at your calendar and take you there as the assumed destination or just home if nothing is on the calendar. Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigate urban streets (even without lane markings), manage complex intersections with traffic lights, stop signs and roundabouts, and handle densely packed freeways with cars moving at high speed. When you arrive at your destination, simply step out at the entrance and your car will enter park seek mode, automatically search for a spot and park itself. A tap on your phone summons it back to you.
Tesla Autopilot is semi-autonomous in its current state for tasks such as steering and parking. Tesla's second-generation hardware suite has eight cameras that provide 360 degrees of visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. Twelve ultrasonic sensors and a forward-facing radar allow for detection of objects, even through heavy rain, fog, dust, and the car ahead.
Tesla remains committed to enabling full self-driving capabilities by the end of the year, but the process of gaining regulatory approval, which Tesla said may vary widely by jurisdiction, will presumably be a long and challenging process. Once approved, however, the technology will truly change cars forever, and it's easy to imagine why Lattner would want to be part of that change.
At Apple, he led a group of about 200 people responsible for Swift, Xcode, Swift Playgrounds, Instruments, CPU and GPU compilers, and low-level tools, among other things. These tools are used both within Apple and by third-party developers targeting the iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS software platforms.
Lattner was hired at Apple in 2005 to bring his LLVM Compiler Infrastructure to production quality for use in its products. He then started working on the Swift programming language in 2010, and it became a key focus of the Development Tools team in 2013. Swift was ultimately introduced at WWDC 2014.
Swift now has a large community of developers contributing to it since it became open source in late 2015, so Lattner is in a good position to pursue a new opportunity without jeopardizing future development of the language. His duties will shift to Ted Kremenek, who had already been overseeing Swift for some time.
Lattner said Ted has been "one of the quiet but incredible masterminds" behind Swift, which has an "incredible future ahead of it."
Lattner, who oversaw Xcode among other tasks as director of Apple's Development Tools department, did not provide an explanation for his decision to leave the company, but "someone in Lattner's circle of developer friends" told Business Insider that Apple's culture of secrecy may have been a contributing factor.
"He always felt constrained at Apple in terms of what he could discuss publicly — resorting to off-the-record chats, surprise presentations, and the like," the person told us. "Similarly, I know he was constrained in recruiting and other areas. Eventually I know that can really wear people down."
Lattner, who joined Apple in 2005, did not respond to the publication's requests for comment, so the exact reason for his decision remains uncertain. He previously said the decision "wasn't made lightly," and that he plans to remain an active member of the Swift Core Team despite his departure.
What we do know is that Swift now has a large community of developers working on the programming language since it became open source in late 2015, so it is very possible that Lattner felt he was in a good position to pursue a new opportunity without jeopardizing future development of the language he created in 2010.
Swift, designed to work with Apple's Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks, was developed for iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and Linux. The programming language was introduced at WWDC 2014 and is viewed as an alternative to Objective-C. Lattner said Apple's development of Swift will continue under Ted Kremenek.
One thing that I don’t think is fully appreciated by the community: Ted has been one of the quiet but incredible masterminds behind Swift (and Clang, and the Clang Static Analyzer) for many years. His approach and modesty has led many to misunderstand the fact that he has actually been running the Swift team for quite some time (misattributing it to me). While I’m super happy to continue to participate in the ongoing evolution and design of Swift, I’m clearly outmatched by the members of the Apple Swift team, and by Ted’s leadership of the team. This is the time for me to graciously hand things over to folks who are far more qualified than me. Swift has an incredible future ahead of it, and I’m really thrilled to be small part of the force that helps guide its direction going forward.