By now, most of you have heard about Project Titan, Apple’s mysterious endeavor that may or may not lead to an electric car. The company has been seen hiring a number of engineers and other developers from the automotive industry, including engineers from automaker Tesla. A recent report from AppleInsider does not exactly reveal what is happening at Apple’s secret laboratories in Sunnyvale, California, but it does make it clear that something is going on.
Hidden among a collection of verifiable Apple-run offices is the home of a market research firm named SixtyEight Research. Building 175 of the seven-building office complex leased almost entirely by Apple is advertised as being home to the market research firm SixtyEight Research, LLC. SixtyEight is masked in mystery, with very little presence outside of business filings and a sparse Web page. AppleInsider’s investigation found that the Web page for SixtyEight was registered through GoDaddy less than a year ago, and the site tells absolutely nothing about the firm.
What’s more, AppleInsider’s report points out that SixtyEight’s existence at the office complex nestled amid Apple-owned businesses “has been strangely quiet.” The office’s windows are frosted, so passers-by cannot see inside, and a sign on the door directs deliveries to be made to a new address at a building leased entirely by Apple.
But wait, the plot thickens even more. SixtyEight has conducted extensive renovations to its leased building at building 175, including fire sprinkler inspections for a 4,239-square-foot windowless repair garage and 7,520 square-feet of office space. Strangely, the permits for those renovations and for an extensive demolition permit listed no tenants. What a market research firm would be doing with a repair garage is certainly questionable.
What, exactly, is this market research firm that does not appear to be conducting any market research? One possibility is that SixtyEight Research is a shell company owned by Apple. It is almost commonplace for Apple to operate shell companies in an effort to keep projects under wraps. There is a strong possibility that SixtyEight Research is tightly involved in Project Titan, allowing Apple to purchase and import automotive equipment and tools without drawing suspicion. Apple, of course, is silent on the whole issue, so we are left to speculate.