Here are Key People that Made Apple’s Headset a Reality: Report

Apple eagerly anticipated mixed-reality headset, in development for over seven years, has been the cumulative effort of thousands of dedicated employees, as reported by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. The project, potentially the most ambitious product launch in Apple’s history, has been brought to life by a select group of strategists, engineers, and marketers.

Among the chief architects of the mixed-reality revolution at Apple are the key deputies to CEO Tim Cook and several executives from the company’s secretive Technology Development Group.

Here are the people who helped steer Apple into the world of mixed reality, according to an overview shared by Gurman in his weekly Power On newsletter on Sunday:

  • Mike Rockwell: The central figure in the headset’s development since 2016, Rockwell has been crucial in shaping the product’s vision and guiding the Technology Development Group.
  • Jeff Williams: Apple’s COO has been instrumental in the project’s development, overseeing the design team, conceptualizing the device’s applications, and managing its complex production.
  • Dan Riccio: As the link between the Technology Development Group and Apple’s executive team, Riccio has devoted the past two years exclusively to the headset’s development.
  • Paul Meade: The senior hardware engineer, Meade has played a vital role in turning the headset into a shippable product since shifting his focus from the iPhone in 2017.
  • Jony Ive: Ive, though partially involved during the early days of the headset, played a significant role in advocating for user-friendly designs, portability, and smooth transitions between virtual and augmented reality. He was involved with the project up until a year ago, when his contract with Apple ended.
  • Greg Joswiak: As Apple’s marketing chief, Joswiak is a significant advocate for the headset, with a unique approach that eschews the typical promotion of the metaverse.
  • Phil Schiller: Responsible for Apple’s launch event, Schiller has pushed for the device to have a robust gaming component via third-party apps.
  • Frank Casanova: Casanova is the head of marketing for the headset, bringing a wealth of experience from overseeing iPhone partner marketing and Apple’s AR efforts.
  • Kim Vorrath: Vorrath, brought to the project to help get the device to market, is in charge of ensuring the team meets its deadlines and maintains high-quality standards.
  • Jeff Norris: An early hire on the project, Norris is looking for the device’s “killer app,” envisioning virtual video conferencing, meditation, and remote collaboration as key selling points.
  • Johny Srouji: Despite initial skepticism, Srouji, Apple’s top chip executive, led his team to create advanced chips for the headset, a testament to his critical role.
  • Shannon Gans: Overseeing the mixed-reality content for the device, Gans works with Hollywood and various partners to ensure the headset has enough content at launch.
  • Geoff Stahl: Stahl is responsible for the software on the headset, including the new xrOS operating system and the development of the device’s applications and gaming engine.
  • Ranjit Desai: Responsible for the firmware that underlies the operating system of the headset.
  • Selim Ben Himane: In charge of the computer vision technology that enables the headset to interpret its surroundings.
  • Yaniv Gur: Former head of engineering for iWork, Books, Notes, and News apps, playing a key role in the software development of the headset.

Cook is ultimately responsible for the product and the launch of the headset could significantly shape his legacy at Apple. Rumoured pricing for the headset is about $3,000 USD ($4,048 CAD roughly). A recent report by Gurman said the final version of the headset is from Cook’s original vision, while mass production is rumoured for the fall.

We’re expected to see this mixed-reality headset debut next month at WWDC.

Remember when the first iPad was rumoured to cost $1,000 USD, but was then revealed to launch from $499 USD? Apple’s mixed reality headset might be trying to play a similar card here. Who in their right mind will drop $3,000 USD to slap ski goggles on their head all day?