Rivian Lands Former Apple Executive to Spearhead New Vehicle Programs

Apple has lost one of its executives to Rivian, as the tech giant’s now former vice president of hardware engineering has joined Rivian as a senior vice president of vehicle programs.

Novotney, an influential figure at Apple for nearly a quarter-century, played a pivotal role in the development of iconic products like the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. His expertise extended beyond consumer electronics, as he was also instrumental in Apple’s foray into electric vehicle development, a project codenamed Titan.

Following challenges in the Apple Car project, which now appears to be delayed once again to 2028, Novotney shifted his focus to spearhead future home devices, delving into robotics and artificial intelligence, including the development of an advanced HomePod with a robotic arm.

This transition to Rivian marks a new chapter for Novotney, where he will oversee product management and engineering, according to a report from Bloomberg. Novotney’s appointment is viewed as a coup for Rivian, given his extensive experience and success at Apple.

In a note to employees announcing his departure, Novotney thanked his colleagues and noted he will now focus his efforts on a new set of products, electric vehicles (EVs).

Great products are what we do best and I have been so very lucky along the way to be part of so many amazing teams that developed everything from iPod, iPhone, iPad, Watch and so many more. Apple has been my life, but now is the time for me to move on and help bring to life a new set of products.

DJ Novotney

One of those products that will likely take up a lot of Novotney’s time at Rivian will the upcoming R2 platform. The R2 is expected to launch in 2026 from the company’s new factory in Georgia. It is anticipated it will have a starting price between $40,000 and $60,000, marking Rivian’s entry into the mass-market.

Although the R2 has not been officially unveiled yet, although that could happen in March, Rivian is already looking ahead. In 2021, the company filed for trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for six additional models: R3S, R4S, R5S, R3T, R4T, and R5T.

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