Dan Riccio now overseeing Apple’s secret AR/VR headset development, claims Bloomberg
Apple announced in January that its senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, Dan Riccio was transitioning into a new role that would see him “focusing on a new project.” The details surrounding Riccio’s secret project weren’t shared, but Bloomberg today have suggested that the senior engineer is now overseeing the development of Apple’s new AR/VR products.
According to the report, Riccio will act as a higher-up to Apple VP Mike Rockwell who is running the day-to-day operations of the project. Riccio will step in to assist the team of over a thousand engineers working on two separate AR/VR products, specifically helping overcome obstacles that have caused bottlenecks in the device’s development.
It was suggested last week that Apple could release its first AR/VR headset as soon as 2022. The rumored device, pictured below in a drawing produced by The Information, will reportedly feature two ultra-high-resolution 8K displays with a “bevy” of other features, including advanced eye-tracking technology and the ability to pass video of the real world through the visor and display it to the user, offering a “mixed-reality effect.”
Riccio’s move is similar to the approach taken last year by Phil Schiller, the company’s former marketing chief. Both executives left senior roles but held on to areas that needed extra oversight. In Schiller’s case, it was the App Store and public relations, and for Riccio, it’s the AR and VR headsets. This strategy helps keep key longtime executives at the company, says Bloomberg. Apple’s work on its first headset, a high-end VR-focused device with some AR capabilities, has faced development challenges, and people within Apple believe Riccio’s extra focus could help. While he has ultimate oversight of the project, it is led day-to-day by Mike Rockwell, an Apple vice president who has well over a thousand engineers working on the two devices.
Dan Riccio has been with Apple since 1998 and has been a leader in designing, developing, and engineering almost all of Apple’s products, from the first generation iMac to the iPhone 12, M1-based Macs, and AirPods Max. Riccio became vice president of iPad Hardware Engineering in 2010, and in 2012 he joined the executive team as the leader of Hardware Engineering.
Image: The Information