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{Update: Hired by Tesla} Swift creator Chris Lattner to bid Apple adieu later this month

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Update: We were wondering about the “intriguing opportunity that could inspire a man of Lattner’s caliber to leave Apple”. Well, wonder no further for the Swift creator has apparently been hired by Tesla as Vice President of Autopilot Software.

The move was announced in a blog post by Tesla, welcoming Lattner to his new role,

We would like to welcome Chris Lattner, who will join Tesla as our Vice President of Autopilot Software. Chris’ reputation for engineering excellence is well known. He comes to Tesla after 11 years at Apple where he was primarily responsible for creating Swift, the programming language for building apps on Apple platforms and one of the fastest growing languages for doing so on Linux

Lattner would be relieving Jinnah Hosein, SpaceX’s Vice President of Software, who was also serving as Tesla’s interim VP of autopilot software. He will now be heading back to give his full focus to his role at SpaceX.

Previously: Apple’s Swift programming language has been a relative hit. Thanks to the company’s numerous attempts to get it into mainstream via initiatives like the Swift Playground application for the iPad, probably more general public is familiar with Swift basics than they are with those of say, Objective-C. Well, the man behind the language, Chris Lattner, has announced his imminent departure from Apple.

Lattner is an Apple veteran and has been with the company since 2005. He is presently serving as senior director of the development tools department. The very same department is also responsible for Swift language and related paraphernalia such as the Playgrounds iPad app and the Xcode IDE.

Announcing his successor and reassuring fans that he will remain a part of the community (which was open sourced by Apple in 2015 and as such, doesn’t require one to be the company’s employee, Lattner said,

I’m happy to announce that Ted Kremenek will be taking over for me as “Project Lead” for the project, managing the administrative and leadership responsibility for This recognizes the incredible effort he has already been putting into the project, and reflects a decision I’ve made to leave Apple later this month to pursue an opportunity in another space. This decision wasn’t made lightly, and I want you all to know that I’m still completely committed to Swift. I plan to remain an active member of the Swift Core Team, as well as a contributor to the swift-evolution mailing list.

Ted Kremenek, is currently Apple’s senior manager of languages and runtimes and has been with Lattner for a significant portion of Swift development. The “pursue an opportunity in another space” part is certainly important. The opportunity must be intriguing considering that could inspire a man of Lattner’s caliber to leave Apple, a company he is been with for over a decade, to pursue it.

Meanwhile, whatever his reasons, Apple will certainly feel his absence. Lattner was one of the most important figures in the development of what has become one of the languages of choice to program iOS, macOS tvOS and watchOS applications in. The language, which was begun in 2010 by Lattner and later received contributions from others at Apple, is already the 24th most popular project on Github.

A bibliophile and a business enthusiast.

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