Apple Reportedly Poaches Meta’s Comms Director in Charge of AR

In this week’s edition of his Power On newsletter, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman reports that Apple has hired Andrea Schubert, communications and public relations head for Meta Platforms Inc.‘s Augmented Reality (AR) efforts, previously known as Oculus (via Apple 3.0: Philip Elmer‑DeWitt):

Apple hires Meta’s augmented reality communications lead ahead of its 2022 headset launch. As I’ve covered extensively, next year is when we’re likely to see Apple’s first major new product category in seven years: a powerful and pricey mixed-reality headset. Ahead of that launch, Apple is starting to get its ducks in a row. I’m told the company has hired Andrea Schubert, Meta Platforms Inc.’s communications and public relations head for its augmented reality efforts. Meta, with Oculus, has been the market leader in headsets, so such a hire makes sense as Apple nears its launch.

As of writing, Schubert’s LinkedIn still shows her current position at Meta: Communications Director, Reality Labs (Consumer Hardware: Augmented Reality, Research & XR), a position she’s had since March 2016.

“I lead the Augmented Reality (AR), XR, Portal and Research comms teams at Reality Labs (Meta’s consumer hardware division),” is how the Santa Clara University alumni describes her position.

Rumours that Apple is working on mixed-reality headsets (and possibly glasses) date all the way back to 2019, and renowned analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said the iPhone maker is on track to launch the new product category in 2022.

Gurman echoed Kuo’s prediction last month and said, “Apple is planning to unleash its own pricey device with advanced chips, displays, sensor, and avatar-based features as early as next year.”

According to Kuo, Apple’s upcoming headset will likely feature eye-tracking and may even be able to track the user’s hand gestures. The headsets are expected to be equipped with two (possibly high refresh rate) 8K displays with ultra-high resolutions. Apple’s headsets will be able to display text, emails, maps, games, and much more through these holographic displays.

With Apple poaching the head of PR for what has arguably been the market leader in the space VR headset space, a 2022 launch for the company’s line of AR/VR headsets seems increasingly likely.