Apple is tapping Watch mastermind and health chief Kevin Lynch for its work on self-driving cars

  • Apple’s Kevin Lynch, a VP of technology, has been tapped to help lead its car work. 
  • Apple is reportedly revamping its self-driving car project, and parts of its Health division are in flux.
  • Lynch, a key architect of the Apple Watch, has shaped the giant’s health and wearables strategy.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Apple’s Kevin Lynch, a vice president of technology, has been tapped to help with the tech giant’s secretive car project, four people familiar with the matter told Insider.

Lynch is one of the architects behind the Apple Watch. In 2013, he was brought in specifically to grow the product from an idea into a reality, and is largely credited for helping to define a new product category for Apple, “wearables,” that’s now making billions per quarter

Prior to Apple, he was the chief technology officer at Adobe, where he helped bring Creative Cloud, a serious of apps for photography and more, to life, per Lynch’s bio. During the previous decade, he led software at Macromedia, a similar company, purchased by the Adobe in 2005 for $3.4 billion.

In addition to heading up watchOS, Lynch is also one of a handful of VPs defining Apple’s healthcare strategy. His title as VP of technology won’t change, and he will continue to stay involved on watch and health, a person familiar with the matter told Insider. But it’s not yet clear how Lynch’s new focus on the car efforts will affect his day-to-day responsibilities with those teams. 

Apple declined to comment on Insider’s reporting that Lynch will be working on the car project and on how that may affect his other roles.

It’s happening as Apple reportedly revamps its work developing a self-driving car and as parts of its Health division are in flux. The pressure has been on Apple in recent years to carve out new device categories as demand for smartphones, the bulk of Apple’s revenue, has slowed, and the giant has turned to new divisions like Health and projects like the car to further solidify its future. 

Apple has been recruiting experts for its car project 

Apple is building electric car technology, several outlets have reported over the years. 

CEO Tim Cook has vaguely acknowledged aspects of the car project. During an interview with The New York Times in April, Cook said he was going to be coy in terms of the work that Apple is doing with autonomous driving.  

“We’ll see what Apple does,” he said.

In 2014, Apple set out to make an Apple Car to rival the likes of Tesla, but pared back its ambitions around 2016 to focus more on the underlying self-driving technology, Bloomberg and Reuters report. 

But over the last several months, Apple has been moving forward with goals to produce a passenger vehicle that could launch as soon as 2024, Reuters reported in December

Apple has recently been recruiting car experts to pad the division’s leadership team, which saw a few notable departures earlier this year, Bloomberg reported. VP Doug Field, formerly of Tesla, is running the division and reporting to John Giannandrea, senior VP of machine learning and AI, per Bloomberg.

It’s not clear if Lynch, as a software expert, would specifically oversee the car or some other aspect of the automobile work. 

Lynch has been a key part of Apple’s health work

Lynch’s team in particular is known, among other projects, for its work creating the original Health app, which debuted in 2014, and coding the electrocardiogram feature, which tests the electrical activity of the heartbeat and checks for atrial fibrillation. Other teams make the algorithms behind the health sensors.

Lynch will be stepping back from Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams’ health staff, a team of health VPs that includes Dr. Sumbul Desai, head of care delivery and regulatory, Myra Haggerty, who leads algorithms, Eugene Kim, head of watch hardware, and other critical drivers of the health strategy. 

Evan Doll, a director of health software engineering, will replace Lynch on the staff, one of the people said. While Doll will continue to report to Lynch, Lynch’s absence on that team, home to the organization’s decision makers, means he’ll be less tangibly involved in health strategy, two of the people said. 

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