Apple is Hiring Magic Leap’s Laid Off Employees
According to a LinkedIn analysis by Protocol, many of former Magic Leap’s employees have been hired by Apple to help the tech company in its Augmented Reality (AR) ambitions.
Magic Leap has had a tough year with reports early this year that the well-funded mixed reality startup was looking for a potential buyer. The mixed reality company raised $350 million in May this year to help stave off a potential financial crisis. The company has laid off 600 full-time employees as part of its downsizing after the company’s mixed reality headset failed ignite consumer interest. Employees have been axed at all levels right from the top managers to the factory managers. The creative and marketing departments have been particularly hard hit.
Magic Leap subsequently pivoted towards the enterprise market.
Google and Apple Have Snapped Ex Magic Leap Staff
An analysis of LinkedIn profiles by Protocol now shows that many of the former Magic Leap employees have joined some of the prominent Silicon Valley companies including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Amazon.
Last summer, Apple announced numerous XR positions. In the past six months, the Silicon Valley giant has been hiring many of the ex-Leapers and positioning them into various roles in its XR department such as computer vision engineer, XR prototype and optical systems engineer among others. These are jobs that appear to have a direct bearing on Apple’s upcoming (but yet to be announced) Augmented Reality headset.
According to the Protocol analysis, the flow of talent from Magic Leap to Apple has been a constant one for months. In its broader assessment of the LinkedIn bios, Protocol found that Apple has consistently been the top destination of the former Magic Leap employees. Facebook comes a close second as a destination for former Magic Leap employees.
Apple is rumored to be working on two prototype glasses. The tech giant is reportedly designing slim data glasses which connect to the iPhone as well as standalone AR-VR glasses which could compete with Facebook’s standalone Oculus Quest.
Even if Apple’s mixed reality glasses fail to materialize, Apple’s ARKit smartphone AR software alone needs significant investment of resources. A few days ago, Apple unveiled its ARKit 4 at the WWDC developer conference.
Not much is clear yet about Apple’s upcoming Augmented Reality headset. Rumors have been continuously floating about on the device’s name, price as well as the possible launch window for the mixed reality device but nothing is concrete yet.
Apart from Apple and Facebook, Google is also hiring many of the ex-Leapers. Both Facebook and Google have invested heavily in XR. Like Apple, Google is trying its hands in smartphone AR after its smartphone VR flopped. Facebook is currently making the greatest investment in VR with its Oculus department a well as a large research department for next-gen interfaces.
Microsoft is fully-focused on its mixed reality glasses for industrial uses, the HoloLens 2. Microsoft also has the smartphone AR game Minecraft Earth, a mega play in the consumer AR space.