Veteran Apple Software Manager Kim Vorrath Moves to the AR Team As Apple Ramps Up AR Headset Development Efforts
One of Apple’s key software executives Kim Vorrath has been moved to the augmented reality division to “bring some order” at a time when Apple is busy ramping up its AR hardware development efforts. Vorrath has been head of program management for Apple’s software development for the past 15 years.
She is now moving to focus on the AR team which is currently led by Mike Rockwell who is Apple’s VP for AR and VR. Rockwell reports to Apple’s senior VR for hardware engineering Dan Riccio and manages a team with close to a dozen direct reports that is currently involved in various software, hardware and content projects related to AR and VR. Vorrath’s role in the software group will be taken up by Stacey Lysik.
According to reports, Vorrath was moved to the AR division to “bring some order”. She has been a powerful force in Apple’s software team, testing software, fixing bugs and making sure the staff met their deadlines. Past reports have described her as the “field marshal” for software teams at Apple and a trusted hand whose leadership style the company can rely on to squeeze out results out of its long-anticipated AR hardware development efforts. She was invariably tapped for this expertise to help steer software development for Apple’s much-rumored augmented reality headset which is currently under development.
A report earlier in the month had suggested that Apple had disbanded the AR team but that report seemed to have been inaccurate given Apple’s subsequent moves which are seen as an effort to bolster its AR project.
Apple is yet to reveal any information on its augmented reality headset project but multiple reports and patent filings give credence to the suspicion that something big is in the works on that front. In 2017, Bloomberg had reported that Apple’s augmented reality glasses could be launched as early as 2020 but some sources have intimated that it is still not certain whether the team will beat that deadline.
Information on Apple’s AR/VR project has been scarce and mixed since there is no official statement on the same. While some have reported that the project has been scrapped, some have stated that Apple is working on and testing multiple AR/VR projects. Bloomberg has reported that Apple is developing a device that will use custom iOS-based software, a reality operating system or “rOS”. Top Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also reported that Apple is working on smart glasses which will rely on the iPhone as an accessory.
According to a CNET report in April 2018, Apple is reportedly working on an AR/VR headset which will have an 8K display per eye and which will use a “dedicated box” over a high-speed and short-range WiGig network instead of tethering to either a PC or smartphone. The CNET report also stated that the device will support both virtual reality and augmented reality.