consumer electronics

Apple hires Meta’s comms head for augmented reality – Bloomberg

Rappler.com
Apple hires Meta’s comms head for augmented reality – Bloomberg

APPLE. A woman walks past an Apple logo in front of an Apple store in Saint-Herblain near Nantes, France, September 16, 2021

Stephane Mahe/Reuters

Rumors point to a 2022 launch for a high-end mixed reality VR/AR headset from Apple

MANILA, Philippines – Bloomerg’s Apple and tech reporter Mark Gurman said in his Power On newsletter, Monday, December 27, that Apple is hiring Meta Platforms’ communications head for its augmented reality division, Andrea Schubert. 

Gurman described the in-development headset to be “mostly a virtual reality device” displaying an “all-encompassing 3D digital environment for gaming, watching video and communicating.” Augmented reality features such as digital overlays put in real-world environments will be more limited. 

The strategy for the said product, at the time, was to make it more of a high-end niche device than one targeted for the mainstream like an iPhone to allow Apple to ease into the market, and polish the design for the mass market down the line. 

Counterpoint Research’s figures for Q1 2021 showed Oculus leading the VR and AR market with a 75% market share, followed by Chinese brand DPVR, Sony, ByteDance-owned Pico, and American game maker Valve. The VR and AR market is still in its nascent stages but it has an early leader in Meta-owned Oculus. 

Apple’s reported hiring of a key figure away from a tech rival adds steam to the company’s preparation for a rumored launch in 2022.  “Meta, with Oculus, has been the market leader in headsets, so such a hire makes sense as Apple nears its launch,” Gurman said.

Apple has yet to officially confirm the existence of any VR and AR device but it did confirm buying a startup called NextVR back in May 2020. Before its acquisition, NextVR specialized in broadcasting events and games in VR with partners such as CNN and the NBA.

Recent rumors from analyst Ming Chi Kuo, known for pre-release information on Apple devices, point to a headset device with a chip that’s said to be as powerful as the M1 chip found in Apple’s Mac computers paired with a lower-end processor to power the sensors. The rumored device is said to have a pair of displays each with a 4K resolution. By comparison, the Oculus Quest 2 has a pair of displays each with a 2K resolution. – Rappler.com