Apple’s Mixed Reality Headset team continues to hire in preparation for a possible 2023 release, despite a downturn in financial conditions
Today in Mark Gurman’s PowerOn newsletter, he pointed to several recent job postings at Apple for their Technology Development Group (or TDG) working on their future mixed reality headset operating system called “realityOS.” They are also working on new apps and services for the headset.
According to Gurman, the first version of the operating system, codenamed Oak, is being finished internally and should be ready for the new hardware as early as next year.
Thanks to Apple’s job ads published over the past few months, we are able to find changes in the team behind the future headset. A few job postings indicate that Apple is ramping up its efforts to bolster the device with content. The company is looking for a software developer with experience in visual effects and game assets who can create digital content for augmented and virtual reality environments.
The entries also imply that Apple wants to build a video service for the headset with 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 bring VR content to headsets.
Apple is also looking for engineers who can work with development tools aimed at virtual and augmented reality. Unsurprisingly, it seems the company wants the new OS to use App Intents, which allow apps to work with features like Siri and shortcuts.
A job listing for the TDG department says: “We are looking for a software engineer to work with the App Intents framework to help design and implement solutions to unlock deep system intelligence, enable new developer tools, and facilitate new user interactions from application data models used by a number of system services such as shortcuts, Siri, search and more.
The most interesting job listing is one that specifically mentions the development of a 3D mixed reality world. This listing describes working with other developers to “build tools and frameworks to enable connected experiences in a 3D mixed-reality world. The job ad noted, “You’ll work closely with Apple’s UI framework, human interface designers, and system capabilities teams—and push to think outside the box and solve incredibly challenging and interesting problems in the 3D application area.”
As the launch nears, Apple has also made two key additions to the leadership team overseeing the device’s development: a former senior executive on the self-driving car staff and one of the most senior software engineering executives.
The group itself is run by Mike Rockwell, Apple’s vice president of AR/VR, as well as Dan Riccio, its former head of all hardware who likely sees the product as his latest initiative at Apple. Riccio reports directly to CEO Tim Cook, and emphasizes 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 at a time when several pictures were closing. But he returned after a short stint as CEO of Hyperfine, a healthcare company that builds mobile MRI machines. For more on this, subscribe to Mark Gurman’s PowerOn newsletter.
You can review three new positions for Mixed Reality Engineers here:
Software Engineer (AR/VR Applications)
Senior Software Engineer (AR/VR Applications)
Senior iOS Software Engineer (AR/VR applications)