Apple Shifts 'Bug Wrangler' to AR Team to 'Bring Some Order' to AR Headset Development

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Apple has moved one of its software executives over to the division developing an augmented reality headset with the intent of bringing "some order" to the team, reports The Information.

Kim Vorrath, who has led program management on the software development team for over 15 years, has now moved over to the AR and virtual reality team, headed up by Mike Rockwell. Rockwell oversees close to a dozen people working on AR and VR software and hardware.

An Apple Glasses concept​

According to The Information, Vorrath was a "powerful force" on the software team, making sure employees met deadlines while also testing software to find and fix bugs. She could bring some of that same expertise to the AR team as it works to develop software for the augmented reality headset that's rumored to be in the works.

Earlier this month, a report from DigiTimes suggested Apple had disbanded the team working on an augmented reality glasses project and had assigned them to other products, but it's not clear if that's accurate, especially given the new report from The Information about Vorrath's move.

Over the course of the last couple of years, multiple sources have said that Apple is working on augmented reality glasses. Bloomberg in 2017 said that the glasses could launch as early as 2020, though a source that spoke to The Information says it is unclear if the team will meet that deadline.

There are some mixed rumors about Apple's work on an AR/VR headset, suggesting multiple products are in the works and being tested. Bloomberg believes Apple is working on a headset that will use custom iOS-based "rOS" (reality operating system) software, and Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said Apple will market its smart glasses as an iPhone accessory.

CNET in April 2018 said that Apple is working on an augmented reality/virtual reality headset that features an 8K display for each eye and that is untethered from a computer or smartphone, connecting instead to a "dedicated box" over high-speed short-range WiGig technology. CNET said that it will support both augmented and virtual reality.

It's unclear what kind of project Apple will ultimately come out with given the various rumors we've heard, but it sounds like there still may be a headset or glasses in the works despite the rumors of the AR headset team being disbanded.

Article Link: Apple Shifts 'Bug Wrangler' to AR Team to 'Bring Some Order' to AR Headset Development
 

TheRealTVGuy

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I'm still holding out hope that one day there will be AR built into vehicle windshields. That could pave the way for true heads-up operation including GPS turn-by-turn, etc.
[doublepost=1564599797][/doublepost]
State-of-the-art AR glasses coming next year from any company, not just Apple, is laughable. I have no doubt they'll be the future, especially for the wearables category, but we're talking well into the next decade before they're as mainstream as say, smart watches and wireless headphones.
I don't know... if done correctly I could see it ramping up quickly. It seemed like one day trackers & smart watches were just being released, then BOOM everyone seemed to have one.
 

falainber

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"dozen people working on AR and VR software and hardware". Wow! It does sound like Apple indeed "disbanded the team working on an augmented reality glasses project"
 
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brinary001

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I'm still holding out hope that one day there will be AR built into vehicle windshields. That could pave the way for true heads-up operation including GPS turn-by-turn, etc.
[doublepost=1564599797][/doublepost]
I don't know... if done correctly I could see it ramping up quickly. It seemed like one day trackers & smart watches were just being released, then BOOM everyone seemed to have one.
True, but your key phrasing there is that they were being released. While there have been AR glasses released already, no one seems to know what they're for or how they can benefit from owning them. That's where Apple comes in and makes us think we need it so we all go out and buy em up :D

But until I hear more than just speculation from these sources and we start getting some credible and believable information, I'm sticking with it being another 2-3 years AT LEAST.
 

urnotl33t

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State-of-the-art AR glasses coming next year from any company, not just Apple, is laughable. I have no doubt they'll be the future, especially for the wearables category, but we're talking well into the next decade before they're as mainstream as say, smart watches and wireless headphones.
Um, "the next decade" is about 5 months away (for starters).
#YesIFeelOldToo
 

69Mustang

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Two things. 1. The concept AR glasses have a Fischer Price vibe.

2. This is confusing.
CNET in April 2018 said that Apple is working on an augmented reality headset that features an 8K display for each eye and that is untethered from a computer or smartphone, connecting instead to a "dedicated box" over high-speed short-range WiGig technology.
This is a description of a VR headset, not AR. They are not interchangeable technologies.
 
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urnotl33t

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And Kim's track record so far has been...? There's sure been a lot of bugs in things lately. Stuff has been released that wasn't really ready for prime time lately. Her "powerful force" doesn't seem to be what's needed.
Yeah, my 4" iPhone SE sometimes goes into "freak out" mode and I get some bug that shows me a partial landscape display of what an iPhone 8 Plus would have. It's often on the lock screen as a bugged version of Notification Center; I happen to hit it "just right" and when I turned my phone landscape, up comes the Plus landscape notification view... wtf? How does my 4" phone's iOS version even HAVE that code in it!? Shouldn't that have been compiled out when that image was built?? Geez, it's a compile-time directive, people [yes i've done real project programming; i know what build directives are].

This is on top of the incredibly-stupid behavior of notification center, control center, and lock-screen-enabled apps (calculator, etc.). I swipe up for control center, tap Calculator, do the thing I need, then.... then what? I can't "make calculator go away"! It's THERE FOREVER... I push Home button and it asks for passcode (umm yo, I have TouchID enabled, WTF is this??), I can't swipe it away, there's no "go away" button... OOOooohh I have to push the "sleep" button. Well that's just about stupid. Steve Jobs made the edict for the "one button", the Home button, for a reason. It's your innate and intrinsic "escape hatch". It's designed to be intuitive. this crap of iOS since iOS 7 is FAR from intuitive. It's ridiculously inconsistent.

So if this all passed under Vorrath's watch, then maybe this move is good for iOS, but it doesn't bode well for rOS (or whatever). Maybe someone else can put forth the hammer of QA. It's been missing since iOS 7 and above. I miss iOS 5, it was *the best*, and it had a great Music app that *WORKED*! Not this trash since iOS 7.

I think I still have my old iPhone 4S with iOS 6 on it. I might get that battery replaced and clutch it forever. Oh wait, crap, I think I had to update it to iOS 7 to get iCloud Photo Sharing on it (or whatever it was at the time)... CRAP!
 

now i see it

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exact same rumors spread about the Car: leaderless, unorganized, infighting, no progress in sight
 

nt5672

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And Kim's track record so far has been...? There's sure been a lot of bugs in things lately. Stuff has been released that wasn't really ready for prime time lately. Her "powerful force" doesn't seem to be what's needed.
Or they are hoping that she can perform better in a more limited scope. Seems like a demotion to me. Maybe I misunderstood but from program management for everything with software to team member on the AVR team with 12 people. Hmmm.
 

rpat701

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I still don't get AR outside gaming. All the use cases can already be solved through cheaper, more accurate methods. The hardware just isn't there yet from a quality and cost perspective. You can execute simple marketing and sales AR experiences through phones and tablets.
 

jclo

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Two things. 1. The concept AR glasses have a Fischer Price vibe.

2. This is confusing mush.

This is a description of a VR headset, not AR. They are not interchangeable technologies.
I've updated this so it's clearer. CNET said that it's a headset that supports both augmented and virtual reality. The original report doesn't go into too much detail on what that means. Actual quote: "The company is working on a headset capable of running both AR and VR technology, according to a person familiar with Apple's plans."
 

Rogifan

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Wasn’t there a rumor recently that Apple had cancelled work on AR glasses?
 

retta283

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Yeah, my 4" iPhone SE sometimes goes into "freak out" mode and I get some bug that shows me a partial landscape display of what an iPhone 8 Plus would have. It's often on the lock screen as a bugged version of Notification Center; I happen to hit it "just right" and when I turned my phone landscape, up comes the Plus landscape notification view... wtf? How does my 4" phone's iOS version even HAVE that code in it!? Shouldn't that have been compiled out when that image was built?? Geez, it's a compile-time directive, people [yes i've done real project programming; i know what build directives are].

This is on top of the incredibly-stupid behavior of notification center, control center, and lock-screen-enabled apps (calculator, etc.). I swipe up for control center, tap Calculator, do the thing I need, then.... then what? I can't "make calculator go away"! It's THERE FOREVER... I push Home button and it asks for passcode (umm yo, I have TouchID enabled, WTF is this??), I can't swipe it away, there's no "go away" button... OOOooohh I have to push the "sleep" button. Well that's just about stupid. Steve Jobs made the edict for the "one button", the Home button, for a reason. It's your innate and intrinsic "escape hatch". It's designed to be intuitive. this crap of iOS since iOS 7 is FAR from intuitive. It's ridiculously inconsistent.

So if this all passed under Vorrath's watch, then maybe this move is good for iOS, but it doesn't bode well for rOS (or whatever). Maybe someone else can put forth the hammer of QA. It's been missing since iOS 7 and above. I miss iOS 5, it was *the best*, and it had a great Music app that *WORKED*! Not this trash since iOS 7.

I think I still have my old iPhone 4S with iOS 6 on it. I might get that battery replaced and clutch it forever. Oh wait, crap, I think I had to update it to iOS 7 to get iCloud Photo Sharing on it (or whatever it was at the time)... CRAP!
You can downgrade an iPhone 4S to iOS 6 fairly easily. Look it up, there are plenty of videos on it.
 
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Baymowe335

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And Kim's track record so far has been...? There's sure been a lot of bugs in things lately. Stuff has been released that wasn't really ready for prime time lately. Her "powerful force" doesn't seem to be what's needed.
Her track record speaks for itself. A couple bugs here and there don’t undo the domination of Apple over the last 10 years.
 

ipedro

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I still don't get AR outside gaming. All the use cases can already be solved through cheaper, more accurate methods. The hardware just isn't there yet from a quality and cost perspective. You can execute simple marketing and sales AR experiences through phones and tablets.
You could do email and browse the web on a laptop perfectly fine, so why invent the iPhone?

It really doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see a future where a new version of the internet is overlaid on top of the real world, in real time. Where we connect with the real world rather than get lost in glass slabs. Where technology gets out of the way and augments your life, popping in with information and communication, rather than steal away your attention.

Just as Uber and Instagram couldn’t have been possible or even imagined without the iPhone, what applications are going to be invented for AR will only happen when there are millions of us walking around with AR glasses on our faces.

I can imagine a social media type network where your friends’ experiences would be shown to you as you walk the city. Walk by a restaurant and a little bubble can pop up showing your friend’s review, maybe a little video of a fun moment they had there.

An AR dating app might show you available singles around you who choose to broadcast themselves. You walk into a bar and you look at a cute girl with a heart over her head, read a little profile bio, slide through some photos, say you’re interested. Earlier, she has noticed you and also swipe you right. You’re a match. Oh yeah, let me go talk to her.

Information will be embedded in the real world with AR glasses.
 

citysnaps

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exact same rumors spread about the Car: leaderless, unorganized, infighting, no progress in sight
Yup... And even though they're unsubstantiated rumors from dubious sources, people still latch on to them and have a good froth, as though they are facts.

Amazing how people aren't very fussy evaluating "information" and drawing conclusions.
 
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69Mustang

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I've updated this so it's clearer. CNET said that it's a headset that supports both augmented and virtual reality. The original report doesn't go into too much detail on what that means. Actual quote: "The company is working on a headset capable of running both AR and VR technology, according to a person familiar with Apple's plans."
CNET is smoking something. :p:D That would be a fairly unwieldy unit considering AR and VR require different tech. I think someone at CNET took some creative license with their description of the capabilities of the headset. What they're describing is VR. The clues that give it away are: 1. the use of the word headset. 2. display for each eye. 3. connecting instead to a "dedicated box" over high-speed short-range WiGig technology.

1. Headset is rarely used in connection with AR, but almost always used with VR. 2. How would one see the real world through an 8K display covering each eye? VR on the other hand, would benefit tremendously from hi-res displays. 3. AR has never needed to be tethered or connected to a box. VR has though.

Also the high-speed, short-range WiGig tech suggests a fairly stationary use case. VR. I could be wrong, but I'd put money on CNET conflating AR and VR.
 
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