Newly posted positions at Apple provide insight into the company’s ambitions for its future mixed-reality headset. Additionally, the business has been having trouble selecting a new head of design, AirDrop is unavailable in China,
and Covid lockdowns have reduced iPhone sales. Not to mention, Apple has a new chief information officer. Apple said last week in Power On that the wake phrase for Siri would be shortened from “Hey Siri” to simply “Siri.”
Apple Inc. has been working on a mixed-reality headset that it plans to release next year in the hopes of ushering in a new age in computing. Some of the device’s features have been leaked through the company’s job postings and personnel shifts. What follows is nothing new: The headset itself is expected to cost between $2,000 and $3,000 due to its high-end components, including a Mac-level M2 chip, more than 10 cameras mounted outside and within the device, and the highest-resolution screens ever included in a mass-market headset.
In addition, we know that the gadget will be powered by a new OS called reality, which will have mixed-reality adaptations of staple Apple apps like Messages, FaceTime, and Maps. Internal testing of the OS’s initial version, codenamed Oak, is nearing completion, and the new hardware should be ready sometime in 2019. The proposed name is also significant because it communicates the premium quality of the headset.
As I mentioned in August, Apple is rumored to be considering either “Reality Pro” or “Reality One” as a name for the upcoming device, given that the corporation is reportedly behind trademark registrations for both names. Given the name of Apple’s operating system and the existence of Apple’s existing augmented reality development tools like RealityKit, the “Reality” nickname makes logical.
More information about Apple’s next headset has been available thanks to recent job postings and personnel shifts within the company’s Technology Development Group (TDG). A recent uptick in postings for related positions suggests Apple is actively working to strengthen the device’s content.
The organization needs a software developer proficient in creating digital material for AR/VR settings, namely someone with a background in visual effects and game asset pipelines. Furthermore, the listings suggest that Apple is planning to create a video service for the headset that would include 3D content that can be played in virtual reality.
This would follow the company’s 2020 acquisition of NextVR, a VR content distribution platform that collaborated with artists and professional sports leagues. Apple is also on the lookout for engineers who can help with the creation of AR/VR creation tools. App Intents, which allow apps to interact with features like Siri and Shortcuts, look to be a priority for the company’s upcoming operating system.
One job description in the TDG division reads, “We are looking for a software engineer who will work on the App Intents framework to help design and implement solutions to unlock deep system intelligence, enable new developer tools, and facilitate novel user interactions from application data models which are leveraged by a variety of system services such as Shortcuts, Siri, Search, and more.”
The most intriguing job posting is one that emphasizes the creation of a 3D mixed-reality world, implying that Apple is developing a virtual environment compared to the metaverse (though don’t hold your breath waiting for Apple to officially adopt that word). At a recent event, its head of marketing declared, “a word I’ll never use Is’metaverse.'” Working with other developers to “create tools and frameworks to enable connected experiences in a 3D mixed-reality world” is described in this posting.
You’ll be “pushed to think outside the box” and “address tremendously tough and exciting challenges in the 3D application environment” by working closely with Apple’s UI framework, human interface designers, and system capabilities teams. With the release date rapidly approaching, Apple has also added two key members to the management team overseeing the device’s development: a former top leader on its self-driving vehicle crew and one of its most senior software engineering managers.
Mike Rockwell, Apple’s VP of AR/VR, and Dan Riccio, Apple’s ex-chief of all hardware, manage the team and consider this device to be their last joint effort. To emphasize the importance of his position, Riccio reports directly to CEO Tim Cook. Dave Scott, a former senior member of Apple’s self-driving car section, has rejoined the company as part of the recent hires.
Scott’s departure from the corporation came at the beginning of 2021 when a number of high-ranking executives in the automotive industry were leaving. He left for a while to lead Hyperfine, a health tech business that developed portable MRI scanners but eventually came back.
Scott has made a name for himself by helping the medical and robotics sectors get challenging technologies to market. His participation may indicate potential therapeutic uses for the headset in this area. Following that, Apple recently reassigned Yaniv Gur, a senior director of engineering, to the headset division.
When Apple acquired Roger Rosner, it’s vice president of applications and the creator of the iWork productivity tools, Gur came on board more than 20 years ago.bGur was in charge of engineering for all of Apple’s platforms’ iWork apps (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers) as well as Books, Notes, and News before he moved to the headset team.
Even though Geoff Stahl is in charge of the headset’s OS, the addition of Gur to the team makes me suspect that the business is working on a suite of productivity apps specifically designed for the headset. It would make sense to incorporate some productivity features,
similar to the approach taken by Meta Platforms Inc. and Microsoft Corp.’s HoloLens. While productivity hasn’t been a selling point for Apple’s competitors, it should be a part of any new augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) platform.
Apple’s design team is losing talent, making it harder to find the company’s next Jony Ive. The design team at Apple, led by Jony Ive, conceived new products and established the company’s aesthetic guidelines. As I’ve distanced myself from Apple, though, the group began to fragment.
At least fifteen members of Ismail ve’s team have left since the release of the Apple Watch, leaving only a select few of the original personnel. This has made the process of finding a replacement for Ive, who continues to be a distraction, more difficult. Evans Hankey, his replacement in charge of industrial design, lasted only a short time.
Just three years into her role as group leader, she informed the corporation that she will be leaving at the end of the coming year. Although there are a few apparent candidates, such as Richard Howarth, Apple has yet to promote from the inside to fill the role of industrial design lead for the iPhone and Apple Watch.
After AirDrop was utilized in protests against the Chinese government, Apple imposed restrictions on its use within the country. Under the radar, Apple changed AirDrop in China such that iPhones can only receive files from random people for up to 10 minutes in iOS 16.1.1 and the most recent version of iOS 16.2. When using AirDrop with the “everyone” setting, there was previously no time limit. The transition was first implemented in China, and it’s significant because it will help reduce AirDrop spam,
which has been linked to incidents like hoaxed bomb threats on planes and the spread of pornographic material. So why launch it in only one region? Despite Apple’s assurances that the update will roll out worldwide in the future year (sometime in 2023), the fact that it was initially implemented in China in reaction to demonstrators using AirDrop to transmit anti-government content shows that the modification was made there.
Apple has been accused of bowing to Chinese government demands for changes to its goods and services for quite some time. Previously, Apple had banned access to its iTunes Store, premium podcasts, and Apple TV+ services in Taiwan. Additionally, the company removed third-party VPN apps from the App Store and the flag of Taiwan emoji from the keyboard. With Foxconn reporting severe Covid constraints in China, Apple has reduced its iPhone shipment forecast.
Apple is feeling serious repercussions from the recent Foxconn lockouts in Zhengzhou. The business has warned that production of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max will be lower than expected, leading to longer wait times for customers. Apple probably issued the warning due to regulatory concerns, but the company didn’t say how many fewer handsets will ship than projected.bIts effects can already be felt by customers.
You won’t be able to get your hands on an iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max from the Apple online shop until the latter half of the month of December. The chances of finding the iPhone model, color, and storage capacity you want in an Apple retail store are slim to none. Just how long do you anticipate this continuing? It’s hard to say at this moment, however, keep in mind that even relatively small production issues can have a significant impact on the final number of units sent.
Facebook’s former CIO has joined Apple as its new CIO. Two senior Apple executives in the IS&T (Information Systems and Technology) division have announced their retirement. That created a rather sizable void.
Although it may not be the most exciting part of Apple, the division is crucial because it manages the company’s back-end infrastructure, which is necessary for services like the online store to function smoothly and facilitates communication between Apple’s employees, customers, and suppliers.
Tim Campos has been appointed as the new chief information officer at Apple, succeeding Mary Demby, who is leaving the company, and David Smoley, who was previously the vice president of software engineering.
A former chief information officer for the company formerly known as Facebook, he is not a household name but does have experience in the field. A calendar software he co-founded was purchased by Slack. Do better in your inbox: Join our new Cyber Bulletin newsletter mailing list.