Apple’s head of hardware engineering just switched his focus entirely to virtual and augmented reality devices, according to one report. This is only the latest in a line of rumors and tips that the company is preparing their biggest move in augmented / virtual reality yet, starting with one key device. Rumors suggest that Apple is developing a headset with the ability to put the company on top of the burgeoning market, right out the gate.
According to people with knowledge of the move who wished to remain anonymous, speaking with Bloomberg, the report on Apple’s Dan Riccio “stepping down” from his role as head of hardware engineering was only part of the news. Riccio was replaced by John Ternus, and was reported at the time (last month) to be heading to a “new project” within the company. Now it would appear that Riccio is switching from ALL hardware to JUST this new category in the company: virtual and augmented reality devices.
The team led by Riccio is reportedly working on Apple AR and VR. Bloomberg also reported that Riccio will handle “ultimate oversight of the project” while day-to-day leadership is provided by Mike Rockwell. Rockwell’s team has “well over a thousand engineers” working on two headsets.
The first of these headsets will be a high-end VR-focused device “with some AR capabilities.” The second will likely focus largely on augmented reality. Earlier this year we took a peek at the N301 Apple VR headset data provided by early leaks and tips. On January 21, we got our first big taste of what it’d mean for Apple to create a “beastly VR headset in its quest for AR dominance.”
This might seem like the longest road ever taken from the earliest rumblings of a device to a point here, in 2021, where it seems likely Apple is actually testing real-life devices. Apple’s tendency to release devices only when they’re almost CERTAIN they’ll succeed in dominating the industry in which they’re about to dip their toe suggests that they’ll have that prime opportunity soon.