Apple's Augmented Reality Team Gains Hires From Oculus, Magic Leap

Just a day after Apple CEO Tim Cook shared his views on augmented reality in an interview with Good Morning America, Business Insider has unearthed two recent hires Apple poached from companies with expertise in augmented and virtual reality.

Zeyu Li, who served as a principal computer vision engineer at Magic Leap, is now working at Apple as a "Senior Computer Vision Algorithm Engineer." Magic Leap, for those unfamiliar, is a startup developing a head-mounted display similar to the HoloLens from Microsoft, designed to project virtual objects into the real world.

Yury Petrov, a former research scientist at Facebook-owned Oculus, is now serving as a "research scientist" at Apple. According to his LinkedIn profile, Petrov studied virtual reality experiences, prototyped optics, and developed computer simulation software. Despite his vague title, given his expertise, it's reasonable to imagine he's working on similar projects at Apple.

Psychophysical and physiological studies of visual and multisensory experience of virtual reality (VR) including user experience factors in head-mounted displays (HMD). Determined perceptual constraints on HMD hardware parameters. Research and development of novel optical systems for HMD. Prototyped optics of superior quality. Developed a popular Matlab library for computer simulations in optics (Optometrika). Research and development of new types of VR controllers. Prototyped controllers significantly increasing user enjoyment of VR. Research and development of 3D audio stimulation for VR.
Rumors have suggested Apple has a dedicated team exploring augmented and virtual reality and how the emerging technologies could be used in future Apple products. Apple has been building up its team over the course of the last several months through new hires and acquisitions of companies like Metaio, Flyby Media, and Faceshift.

Apple is said to be working on developing several prototype VR/AR headsets, and Apple CEO Tim Cook has spoken about augmented reality several times over the course of the last few months.

In July, Cook said Apple is "high on AR in the long run" and said Apple continues to "invest a lot in this." Earlier this week, he said that he believes augmented reality, rather than virtual reality, is "the larger of the two" because it allows people to "be very present" while using the technology.

In addition to the new hires, developer Steven Troughton-Smith recently discovered Apple has included references to a "HeadMountedDisplayRenderingTechnique" in SceneKit code since iOS 9, perhaps already laying the groundwork for future products.

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Top Rated Comments

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44 months ago
I can see it now

Rating: 4 Votes
44 months ago

This is not the future. I repeat, this is not the future.

Correct. It's the present and it's awesome and one specifically chosen bad photo doesn't change that.
Rating: 3 Votes
44 months ago
Apple playing an unnecessary game of catch-up in a segment which is unlikely to gain traction in the wider population any time soon if at all. The reason for this is they are out of ideas because they are being led by a grey man with no imagination, no taste and no ability to push those working for him to their creative limits.

Apple are chasing rainbows these days and deliberately delaying improvements as long as possible because they don't want to shoot their load too quick and run out of the limited ideas they do have. It's all just so pathetic and not at all what they used to be.
Rating: 3 Votes
44 months ago
Yeah, good luck running any VR graphics on any of the existing macs or iToys with their lack luster GPUs.
Rating: 3 Votes
44 months ago
I just got an HTC Vive. I absolutely love it. LOVE IT. I don't care how silly I probably look playing it
Rating: 3 Votes
44 months ago
No more hobbies Apple, please...
Rating: 2 Votes
44 months ago

Using many of the avai

Not sure there is always:
Micro/nano led displays
Micro/nano projector
Flexible iPhone
Semi translucent iPhone
Wireless Charging
iOS mobile to desktop docking
USB-C charging in and out
Solar Charging
Thinner iPhone
4K/8K display
Dynamic Display (i.e. iPad Pro)
Complete water proof
Built-in laser pointer
More optical and other sensors
No bezel screen
Iris scanning and tracking
Hand/finger air gestures for interacting
Rollable iPhone

See Apple is not running out of ideas it is waiting for the technology to be released or mature so it can refine it and possible get it cheaper as other companies make the initial mistake and test the market acceptance of such technology.

Apple is a marketing company first then a technology company second and the profits prove it.

You do not understand my point. But you do agree with it when you say they are waiting for tech to be released or mature - they are way too conservative now because clueless Tim et al do not want to jeopardize their shareholding. And I do agree they are now a marketing company first which is a disgrace. Profits only prove people are still buying their products. Sadly, I fear this is a fashion led success and they are doing it on the wave that Steve started with actual substance to back it up. It's now a weak premise and one which will not endure a strong competitor.
Rating: 2 Votes
44 months ago
VR/AR to Tim Cook is just another way of selling more iPhones. He's not interested in what the technology can do beyond that. So we may end up with a headset that connects to your iPhone and lets you play VR games, etc.
Rating: 2 Votes
44 months ago
Heh, Oculus already stated they won't support Macs until Apple makes a decent computer again.

They could bring back a Mac Pro tower w/PCIe slots so the Mac platform can rock the latest VR creation tech. Or they can continue to cram a laptop video chipset into the ultra-thin iMac where the GPU must continually throttle itself to avoid self-immolation. Eventually even laptop graphics will handle VR but they will never lead the way on VR content creation.

Cook just needs to ask himself if he wants Macs to lead or to serve as fashionable iDevice accoutrements.
Rating: 1 Votes
44 months ago

Yeah, good luck running any VR graphics on any of the existing macs or iToys with their lack luster GPUs.

That's pretty much what I had come here to say. This "Apple cares about VR" stuff just sounds like corporate "me too"ing without any educated awareness of what it really means to care about VR. Apple doesn't seem to know where they want to go, and statements like this, with Apple's track record with GPUs, makes it sound like hollow PR. Apple seems to think they need to go where everyone else is going (even if everyone else is chasing windmills), or at least appear to be going where everyone else is going (until they all find themselves suffering a burst market bubble).

Apple is spreading itself out, losing focus on its own products, and that's because it's serving shareholders and following trends, instead of listening to what its most dedicated customers need, making its core products solid, and trying to LEAD. (Consumer fad products don't provide a reliable long term base, as they will dump your product for the competitor's on a moment's notice that the fad has shifted; the content creators with rows of studio machines will stick with you through dry spells... But not forever)

2013 jumped the shark with iOS 7, trashing decades of interface research to hop on the flat bus (though you have plenty of people on that flat bus, loving "change for the sake of change", bashing anyone who talks about human interface design research). iOS 7 introduced some desirable features, some of which I am appreciating with music apps on my iPad Pro, but it also introduced an incredible number of bugs and usability issues into their best product line. Prior to iOS 7, iPhone/iPad was a product that kicked the computer industry in the ass and gave us a few golden years of real competition and advancement (a trend that has now gone retrograde). Three major releases suffered from this asinine GUI change and I have not had anyone confirm if any of these long standing bugs have been fixed in iOS 10 (I'm not installing it until I know it's safe for my apps and won't slow my devices).

The last three years have been a waltz of one and a half steps forward and one step back. Incremental improvements gave us the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil (without compelling apps on launch, nor an eraser end on a product called a PENCIL), which I think was the right, but late, direction for iPads to go... trying to catch up with Microsoft's surface. I have it. I like it. I'm glad the screen is uniform, unlike my iPhone 6s...

The Apple Watch is a reaction to things like FitBit and Nike Fuel. I don't wear watches, so it's irrelivant to me. But I notice the UI design is still being decided by Jony Ive, and, even for luxury markets, it's very plain looking (again, Ive). I think there is a legitimate use for it and some people love it. Fair enough, but we've been watching the Mac Pro go nowhere for almost three years now.

They gave us a new Mac "Pro" and professionals said "wait, what?" I'm on the fence about that computer since I already have lots of external devices and sort of prefer them after the string of PCs I've injured myself working in, but some of the complaints are legit, and it is costing Apple a lot of market share in the small but important content creation market. So they dropped that highly polarized replacement product for their neglected Pro line and then ignored it again. Apple then went off and wasted resources making a slightly better wrist-worn computing product than the current stuff on the market. Because, mass market, momentarily-happy shareholders.

When Apple started pushing into the office and higher education workspace with iWork improvements, it seemed like they were trying to get Mac OS some deeper traction into Microsoft's territory. It even seemed to be working a bit, after the iPhone and iPad created that halo effect. Pages and Numbers weren't on par with Word and Excel, but they were finally good enough to get into that space and challenge the dominant brand.... Then Apple trashed iWork and replaced it with the iOS port, missing tons of features and a less effective UI. Then they started selling MS Office.

And the contextually relevant item that inspired this rant: GPU and graphics: As gaming started to really boom on iOS, Apple brought out Metal to, apparently, encourage more game development on iOS with more impressive graphics. It seemed logical to push into the gaming space on the Mac, and Metal was brought to Mac OS... but we got no hardware to really execute anything new (to the Mac platform). Nothing to attract game developers for new games or ports from the Windows world. The Mac is mostly just a suicidal chip container where heavy GPU use is concerned, and the Mac Pro, with its impressive professional dual GPUs... were given little to no practical use AND only provide middling game performance (if not for gaming, then what are they to be utilized by? Final Cut X? That's all??). Plus, there still isn't a retina-quality display for that computer, which should be a workhorse photographer's station. Apple discontinues their ridiculously expensive display and then recommends third party 4K display for their headless computers that haven't been updated in years.

Now Apple says they care about VR?? Have they not noticed that VR essentially requires bleeding edge, full length, double-height, cooling-device-heavy PCIe cards?? Even WITH that bleeding edge hardware, the results are not universally accepted as sharp or fast enough to not make you sick or even be entertained ( yes, some people love it, but it is not remotely mass market and we see Apple only cares about mass market product sales, so...??). One of the biggest names in VR has stated that they won't support the Mac until it has acceptable hardware. Did that comment get noticed by Apple's "me too" leadership, and now we're going to somehow get Mac hardware that can somehow reliably host such power-sucking and heat-blasting GPUs?

Confounding behavior.

... and stock holders "happy" I use this term loosely as the concept of a happy stock holder is an illusion.

Dead on. Perpetual growth is unsustainable fantasy, but they demand it anyway.
Rating: 1 Votes

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