Telsa Motors hires another Apple superstar. What's it mean?

Tesla Motors announced Thursday that they had hired Doug Field, vice president of Mac hardware engineering at Apple. What's it mean for Tesla Motors in 2014?

Paul Sakuma/AP/File
A Tesla Model S drives outside the Tesla Motors factory in Fremont, Calif.

Yesterday, Tesla took another bite out of Apple. 

Until then, the automaker's highest profile recruit from Cupertino had undoubtedly been George Blankenship, the man who turned Apple's wheelbarrows full of money into truckloads by creating ludicrously high-grossing stores in malls across America.

On Thursday, however, Elon Musk & Co. announced that they had hired Doug Field -- arguably, a much bigger coup.

At Apple, Field served as Vice President of Mac Hardware Engineering, meaning that he was key in creating the company's sleek, pricey laptops and desktops. Before that, he engineered products at Segway (yikes) and Ford. At Tesla, the MIT grad will serve as Vice President of Vehicle Programs, which means that he'll be in charge of developing new Tesla vehicles.

We see where this is going. We're not the first to point out that Apple is a great role-model for Tesla to follow. Since re-inventing itself in 2001 with the launch of the iPod, Apple has cemented its reputation as a tech leader -- one that's passionate about creating sexy, well-designed products. It charges a premium for those products, but because the Cool Kids use them, everyone seems willing to pony up. 

Perhaps best of all, Apple is great at making consumers crave gadgets they never knew they needed. Remember the gnashing of teeth that followed the debut of the iPad? "Who needs another screen?", we all demanded to know. The answer, however, was "Everyone".

That's exactly the sort of brand toward which Tesla has been working with its attractive, tech-forward, all-electric automobiles. Clearly, the company is hoping that Field can, in the words of Chef Emeril, kick it up a notch. Here are a few predictions of what expect during Field's first year at Tesla:

  • A new, proprietary Tesla plug. Like Apple's Thunderbolt, it won't be backwards-compatible with anything, but, "You guys, it can plug in upside-down!" Adapters will be pricey, though foreign companies will offer cheaper, ill-fitting knockoffs.
  • New Teslas will charge from outlets underneath the car. Because moving ports aroundkeeps consumers on their toes.
  • A do-all start button. With a tap or a wipe, drivers can turn on a flashlight or crack open a calculator. Unfortunately, the start button won't actually start the car.
  • fingerprint-recognition anti-theft system. The 24-hour news media will run features about thieves making replicas of Elon Musk's thumb, which can allegedly unlock any Tesla at any time. These reports will turn out to be entirely true.
  • Lighter, thinner cars. Shaving off pounds will boost battery range, but some will complain that Teslas are now too light. Sales of artificially weighted Tesla cases skyrocket.
  • Cracked windshields become status symbols. Tesla will roll out a repair program, but insiders recoil. "TeslaCare is for nerds," they'll say. "And not the good kind of nerds, either."
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Telsa Motors hires another Apple superstar. What's it mean?
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today