Is this Apple exec poking fun at Project Titan sleuths?

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Apple car concept art side doors
If Apple really is working on an electric car, DJ Novotney has one heck of a sense of humor.
Photo: Aristomenis Tsirbas/Freelancer

An Apple exec reportedly working on the company’s secret car project might be playing mind games with the Apple Kremlinologists searching for clues.

Is it the tech world’s biggest insider joke, or a sly hint that Apple’s automotive ambitions are real?

The executive in question is DJ Novotney, named today by The Wall Street Journal in a report claiming the Apple car’s supposed ship date might move up to 2019. The Journal called Novotney “an Apple veteran with a history of successfully shipping products” and said he was one of the first employees making an internal move to the super-secret Project Titan electric car venture last year.

In the absence of official news about the purported Apple car, scouring LinkedIn for clues about auto industry execs joining Cupertino’s crew has become the equivalent of reading tea leaves. And while Apple has not officially announced its automotive pursuits, evidence is mounting that Project Titan is real: poached Tesla employees, rumors of a possible BMW partnership and Apple’s automobile-obsessed design team all point toward something more than a high-octane CarPlay initiative.

An insider joke?

For all those reporters and business analysts combing through public records looking for clues, Novotney’s LinkedIn profile offers a welcome laugh. It lists his title as “VP Program Management at Apple,” which is typically vague for Cupertino, and says he’s worked on various iPods.

The joke comes in the summary section of the profile, which reads: “Proven innovator with strong technical/management background and extensive experience in driving technologies and products to market.” (Emphasis ours.)

“Driving technologies and products to market”? If Novotney really is leading Apple’s car initiative, his LinkedIn profile is either an Easter egg for Project Titan sleuths or an unfortunate over-reliance on résumé-speak.