- Apple has set up a small team in a coworking space in Berlin. It is a bizarre move given how secretive Apple tends to be. It’s rumoured that Apple is working on automotive projects in the city.
Apple has moved some staff into a trendy coworking space in Berlin, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The highly secretive iPhone maker has put a small team into a property on Friedrichstraße where Israeli coworking space provider Mindspace occupies a number of floors, one of the people told Business Insider.
Apple and Mindspace declined to comment but neither of them denied the claims.
An Apple spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, I cannot give you any information since we generally do not talk about single locations or teams nor about temporary office space we probably rent.”
Apple also has a discrete office around the corner in Gendarmenmarkt square, which was discovered in May. When the office was identified, Mindspace tweeted: “Hi @Apple you could have avoided all the hassle of locating an office in #Berlin. Next, just come to Mindspace.”
A source, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Business Insider: “It is only a small portion of the Gendarmenmarkt office [that has moved].
“So the rest [of the team] is still in the old office. For now, there are three employees. Two girls and the head of Apple Music [for Germany, Switzerland, Austria]. They rented the suite office which is like a private open office for 10+ employees.”
Other corporates based out of Mindspace offices around the world include Samsung, Coca-Cola, and Barclays.
— Mindspace (@MindspaceME) December 18, 2016
Apple has never publicly confirmed the existence of any office in Berlin although it’s believed that the company’s work in the city is linked to the highly secretive Apple Car project.
Apple’s Berlin office in Gendarmenmarkt square is shrouded in secrecy. There are no Apple logos to be seen but the company does have its name next to a tiny buzzer outside the building’s main door. We called Apple’s camera-equipped buzzer three times but got no answer when we visited. More than a dozen Berliners working in the city’s tech industry said they had no idea that Apple had an office in the city when Business Insider asked them about it.
Last April, a report from German publication Frankfurter Allgemeine said “Apple is running a secret laboratory for the development of an automobile – and this in the middle of Berlin.”
At the time, the report said the laboratory was reportedly home to 15-20 staff with backgrounds in engineering, software, hardware, and sales.
LinkedIn suggests that Apple has 168 people working in the “Berlin area.” Many of these employees work in the Apple Store in Kurfürstendam but LinkedIn shows that Apple has dozens of engineers working in Berlin as well.
Mapping is one area where Apple seems to be focusing its engineering efforts in Berlin. The company has hired at least half a dozen employees from automotive mapping company Here – owned by Audi, BMW, and Daimler – for a Berlin-based Apple Maps team.
Apple has never admitted that it is working on an electric car but the company has recruited dozens of automotive experts from companies like Ford and Mercedes-Benz, according to The Financial Times.
Apple’s self-driving car efforts are known internally as “Project Titan.” They have been the subject of rumours and speculation for years, and Apple’s focus is now believed to be on building autonomous software rather than an entire vehicle.
There may be hundreds of of people working on the project. At one point, former Ford engineer Steve Zadesky, who helped build the iPhone, and Johann Jungwirth, who was Mercedes Benz’s R&D chief, were both working for Apple.
Mindspace writes on its website: “Our designed shared office space is at the epicentre of entrepreneurship and innovation. It provides an all-in-one office space solution for startups, entrepreneurs, accelerators, service providers, investors and VCs who are looking for the ultimate coworking environment in Berlin-Mitte.”
Mindspace has another space around the corner on Krausenstraße and it’s planning to open a new space in Kreuzberg at Skalitzer Straße.
Apple also has a small public affairs team that works out of a coworking space in Washington D.C., as shown on Foursquare.