Apple's Mixed Reality Headset team is continuing to Hire in preparation for a possible 2023 release, despite a downturn in economic conditions
Today in Mark Gurman's PowerOn newsletter he pointed to several recent job postings at Apple for their Technology Development Group (or TDG) that is working on their future mixed reality headset's operating system dubbed "realityOS." They're also working on new apps and services for their headset.
According to Gurman, the first version of the operating system, codenamed Oak, is wrapping up internally and should be ready for the new hardware, as early as next year.
Further, thanks to Apple job listings published over the last several months we're able to glean changes to the team behind the future headset. A few job listings indicate that Apple is ramping up its work to bolster the device with content. The company is searching for a software producer with experience in visual effects and game asset pipelines who can create digital content for augmented- and virtual-reality environments.
The listings also imply that Apple is looking to build a video service for the headset featuring 3D content that can be played in virtual reality. This would follow the company’s 2020 acquisition of NextVR, which partnered with artists and professional sports leagues to transmit VR content to headsets.
Apple is also looking for engineers who can work on development tools geared toward virtual and augmented reality. Unsurprisingly, it appears that the company wants its new operating system to use App Intents, which lets apps work with features like Siri and Shortcuts.
One job listing for the TDG department states: "We are looking for a software engineer who will work on the App Intents framework to help design and implement solutions to unlock deep system intelligence, enable new developer tools, and facilitate novel user interactions from application data models which are leveraged by a variety of system services such as Shortcuts, Siri, Search, and more,”
The most interesting job listing is one that specifically calls out the development of a 3D mixed-reality world. That listing describes working with other developers to “build tools and frameworks to enable connected experiences in a 3D mixed-reality world. The job posting noted: "You will work closely with Apple’s UI framework, human interface designers and system capabilities teams—pushing you to think outside-the-box, and solve incredibly challenging and interesting problems in the 3D application space."
As the launch approaches, Apple has also made two key additions to the management team overseeing the device’s development: a former senior leader on its self-driving car staff and one of its most senior software engineering managers.
The group itself is run by Mike Rockwell, Apple’s vice president of AR/VR, as well as Dan Riccio, its ex-chief of all hardware who likely sees the product as his final initiative at Apple. Riccio reports directly to Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, underscoring the seriousness of the work.
With the new additions, Apple is bringing back a former senior member of its self-driving car unit: Dave Scott. Scott left the company in early 2021 during a time when several car executives were quitting. But he returned after a brief stint as the CEO of Hyperfine, a health company building mobile MRI machines. For more on this, subscribe to Mark Gurman's PowerOn Newsletter.
You could review three recent job openings for Mixed Reality engineers here:
Software Engineer (AR/VR Applications)
Senior Software Engineer (AR/VR Applications)
Senior iOS Software Engineer (AR/VR Applications)