The former head of iPad development leads the project!
Apple recently announced Dan Riccio’s departure- Apple’s senior vice president of hardware. Dan will now lead a project that cannot yet be discussed. The secret remained secret for two weeks. Mark Gurman from Bloomberg disclosed some details telling that Dan Riccio was headed and about this project itself. This is not just another Apple project. It is another platform that can surpass the iPhone, iPad, and Mac combined in value and profit. Or “not take off” and not surpass. So far, this is a direction in which no one in the world has yet achieved serious success. Apple VR headset: Everything we know so far.
This won’t stop Dan Riccio from working on touch Macs as well.
According to the recent news, the project actually exists. This virtual reality headset is “something like Oculus Quest 2” (64GB variant costs $ 299, 256GB variant – $399), advanced, and for $3,000 is just the first step. This project’s primary goal is to shake the world, show who the boss is in virtual and augmented reality and what these realities eat. You don’t need to be a salesperson to understand: it will be a miracle if this device pays off, at least half or a third.
The goal justifies the money invested in it. We will not know what and how Dan talked about this project and the whole direction’s prospects. Obviously, it was something out of the ordinary. And where does Dan, who took over the leadership of this area just two weeks ago, at the end of January 2021? To this question, I’ll answer – let’s start with a few previously unknown details about Apple’s first VR headset.
VR headset from Apple
Apple MX headset render based on prototype photo.
Something about it was known before the revelations of the source from Apple. Most likely, from the very unit that has been dealing with these realities (virtual and augmented) since 2016. A compact system-in-a-case, just like the Apple Watch, only with a CPU, GPU, and neural processor that surpasses those used in the most powerful Macs. The headsets have compact 8K displays.
IOS-based operating system (rOS). These are only rumors so far, but a source from Apple has confirmed and expanded on them. 12 or even more cameras will monitor the surrounding world, and the user’s hand movements, gestures are one of the device’s user interfaces. Another interface will be a thimble-shaped device that you put on your finger. According to a Bloomberg source, the thimble will be used to control the headset’s software.
Apple VR headset rather than mixed reality headset (MR, mixed reality). These days, VR headsets isolate the user from the outside world, and the Apple headset will display that as well. Only the image in the screens that the user’s gaze is directed at will be displayed at the maximum resolution. Everything else will be displayed in lower resolution to reduce the load on those same processors, including the actual world situation.
By the way, 8K displays will use microLED technology (do not confuse with miniLED: microLED is much cooler). Everything related to the development of promising displays has been transferred under John Sruji since January 25 this year. Now he oversees three areas: chips (for mobile devices, computers, etc.), mobile modems, and now displays (miniLED and microLED). Not far from Apple Park, the construction of another experimental “display plant” is nearing completion. Actually, this is a complete secret, even from the company’s employees who have nothing to do with miniLED and microLED. Apple already has one such plant.
Who spearheaded Apple’s VR project?
Left to right: Dan Riccio and his successor as Apple Senior Vice President of Hardware John Ternus
The direction of AR/VR (augmented and virtual reality) has been led by Mike Rockwell since 2016. Apple had been dealing with this direction before, but things did not go well until Mike came. He is doing great and remains the technical lead of the company’s AR / VR projects. Until January 25, Mike was subordinate to Dan Riccio, who, in addition to AR and VR projects, was responsible for other areas – Mac, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, AirPods of all their types and varieties, and much more. And for the hypothetical symbiosis of a laptop with a tablet, too.
But among those projects was “the next big thing” (no less important than the Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch / Apple Silicon / AirPods). So far, no one has really succeeded in this area. Because no one has figured out what to do with all these realities – and Dan seems to have figured out. And he took up this direction, giving all the rest to the former vice president. Mike Rockwell continues to report to Dan Riccio.