Mark Gurman wanted to make one last comment on Apple’s rumors before starting the weekend before WWDC20. From Bloomberg, the editor claims that the company’s plans to enter the virtual and augmented reality market have changed due to internal discrepancies of the teams.
The source reveals that Apple has been involved for years in the project to create a helmet and me some virtual and augmented reality glasses, but that the former design manager Jonathan Ive had serious discrepancies with his design and asked Apple to make “a change of direction” with the product.
The team responsible for designing Apple’s virtual and augmented reality products consists of more than 1,000 people, led by Mike Rockwell who has been involved in the project since 2015 (remember that Apple has invested record amounts of money in research and development). It is a team that works from the Sunnyvale offices and that enjoys quite independence from the rest of Apple’s projects, in an attempt to stop any limitation. Among their first ideas was a virtual reality helmet that would be as powerful as possible , but would emit too much heat when used.
The solution was to separate the data processing unit into a separate device, which Jonathan Ive did not like at all. The manager advocated completely self-contained glasses even if they were less powerful, while Rockwell wanted to bring the power of the full glasses into the shops in any way possible to revolutionise the market and bring down the competition. Apparently the discussions went on for months.
The final decision was taken by Tim Cook, and supposedly consists of the manufacture of autonomous glasses that will not have as much power as the one Rockwell was aiming at, but will still be a ” very advanced device ” with very high resolution screens that ” would make a user not differentiate the virtual world from the real one “. They would have a cinematic quality speaker system that has surprised those who have already tested some prototypes, it seems. In fact, that was used by Ive as another argument: she did not want an Apple product to take users out of the real world (the argument of ‘Ready Player One’ comes to mind).
As for the alternative of something more powerful with a separate product, it seems that the technology would have been used for the design of the ARM chips that the Macs will use to the detriment of the Intel processors.
Gurman ends his article by saying that Apple has not yet decided on the final design of his glasses , but that they look like Oculus Quest glasses for the time being. What is certain is that the glasses will have their own App Store, with the focus on playing games and playing series and movies. The prototypes are controlled with a separate accessory, although the idea is that everything can be done by ordering from Siri. Engineers from the assistant are already working on adapting their interface for these glasses, the price of which would still be under discussion.