Apple Executive Dan Riccio Reportedly Shifting Focus to AR/VR Headsets

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Last month, Apple announced that its hardware engineering chief Dan Riccio would be transitioning to a new role focusing on a “new project,” and Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman today claimed that focus area will be AR/VR headsets.

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From the report:

Riccio’s move is similar to the approach taken last year by Phil Schiller, the company’s former marketing chief. Both executives left senior roles but held on to areas that needed extra oversight. In Schiller’s case, it was the App Store and public relations, and for Riccio, it’s the AR and VR headsets. This strategy helps keep key longtime executives at the company.

Apple’s work on its first headset, a high-end VR-focused device with some AR capabilities, has faced development challenges, and people within Apple believe Riccio’s extra focus could help. While he has ultimate oversight of the project, it is led day-to-day by Mike Rockwell, an Apple vice president who has well over a thousand engineers working on the two devices.

Apple is widely rumored to be working on multiple AR/VR wearables, including a mixed reality headset for release as early as next year and sleeker AR glasses coming at some point later. Last week, The Information claimed that the first headset could cost $3,000 and will be equipped with more than a dozen cameras, two ultra-high-resolution 8K displays, advanced eye-tracking technology, interchangeable headbands, and more.

The report also claims that Apple has advised staff that Johny Srouji, the company’s Senior Vice President of Hardware Technologies, will now be overseeing a team working on in-house displays and camera technology. The move could suggest that Apple is “getting closer to shipping its first devices with fully custom displays,” following rumors that next-generation iPad Pro and Mac models will feature Mini-LED displays.

Apple announced that John Ternus will become its Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering, although Apple’s executive leadership page still lists Riccio in this role for now. Ternus joined Apple’s Product Design team in 2001 and has been a vice president of Hardware Engineering since 2013, the company said.

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