Apple’s Dan Riccio is reportedly now overseeing the company’s team developing augmented and virtual reality headset after leaving his position of hardware engineering chief.
In January, Apple announced that Riccio would shift to the role of vice president of engineering as he oversaw a “new project” at Apple. Although the company didn’t specify, Bloomberg reports that the new project is Apple AR and VR projects.
According to the report, Apple’s work on a high-end VR headset device has faced development bottlenecks. People within Apple thought Riccio’s additional focus could help with the project.
Although Riccio has the “ultimate oversight” over Apple VR and AR development, the project is being led in day-to-day operations by Apple VP Mike Rockwell. The Cupertino tech giant reportedly has more than a thousand engineers working on both the VR headset and “Apple Glass.”
Additionally, Apple has informed staffers that it’s shifting the group developing in-house displays and camera technology to Johny Srouji, who is in charge of processors and modems. That move suggests Apple is getting closer to shipping its first device with custom displays.
News of Riccio’s new role comes a few days after a report that Apple is developing a $3,000 mixed-reality headset for a potential launch in 2022.
That headset is said to be focused on virtual reality applications and would be more akin to existing VR headsets than the lightweight “Apple Glass.” It’s rumored to sport a visor-like design, advanced eye-tracking technology, and 8K displays. Although it’ll block a user’s peripheral vision, it’ll pass a view of the world around it via cameras.
Apple is also continuing work on “Apple Glass,” which will be a separate AR device meant to complement an iPhone and could debut in 2023.
Riccio’s old role was filled by former VP of Hardware Engineering John Ternus, who was featured prominently in Apple Silicon keynote presentations. The move is similar to one taken by software chief Phil Schiller in 2020. That Apple executive left a senior role to focus on areas that needed additional oversight, which, for Schiller, meant the App Store and public relations.