Apple's latest exec shuffle is further evidence of its VR headset

Dan Riccio would help overcome development hurdles.

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SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 03: Apple chief design officer Jony Ive (L) uses an iPad to have an augmented reality view of the frame of the new Mac Pro as Apple senior VP of hardware engineering Dan Riccio (R) looks on during the 2019 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) at the San Jose Convention Center on June 03, 2019 in San Jose, California. The WWDC runs through June 7. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It might just be clear what Apple senior VP Dan Riccio’s mysterious “new project” will be. As 9to5Mac reports, Bloomberg tipsters claim Riccio (pictured at right) will oversee the team building Apple’s mixed reality headsets. The company reportedly ran into obstacles it hoped the executive would overcome. It’s not certain just what those problems are, although they’re not enough for engineering team lead Mike Rockwell to leave his post.

Apple is also said to be transitioning its camera and display technology teams to senior VP Johny Srouji, who currently handles the processor and modem teams.

The initial mixed reality headset could be a high-end model aimed at developers and other professionals. If accurate, it could offer an extremely high 8K resolution per eye with spatial audio and iPhone 12 Pro-style LiDAR sensors to help position virtual objects in augmented reality. Rumors have it costing around $3,000, although Apple supposedly plans more affordable mainsteam headsets.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Apple devoted top talent. While AR and VR are maturing, there are still major hurdles. Even headsets like the Oculus Quest 2 tend to have limited processing power, heavy designs and imperfect tracking. If Apple can solve at least some of those issues, it could claim an edge over rivals and possibly gain mainstream adoption that has often proven elusive for Oculus, HTC and even Sony’s PlayStation VR.

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