Apple's Beats brand in April unveiled the Powerbeats Pro, a redesigned wire-free version of its popular fitness-oriented Powerbeats earbuds.
Apple Shifts 'Bug Wrangler' to AR Team to 'Bring Some Order' to AR Headset Development
Kim Vorrath, who has led program management on the software development team for over 15 years, has now moved over to the AR and virtual reality team, headed up by Mike Rockwell. Rockwell oversees close to a dozen people working on AR and VR software and hardware.
According to The Information, Vorrath was a "powerful force" on the software team, making sure employees met deadlines while also testing software to find and fix bugs. She could bring some of that same expertise to the AR team as it works to develop software for the augmented reality headset that's rumored to be in the works.
Earlier this month, a report from DigiTimes suggested Apple had disbanded the team working on an augmented reality glasses project and had assigned them to other products, but it's not clear if that's accurate, especially given the new report from The Information about Vorrath's move.
Over the course of the last couple of years, multiple sources have said that Apple is working on augmented reality glasses. Bloomberg in 2017 said that the glasses could launch as early as 2020, though a source that spoke to The Information says it is unclear if the team will meet that deadline.
There are some mixed rumors about Apple's work on an AR/VR headset, suggesting multiple products are in the works and being tested. Bloomberg believes Apple is working on a headset that will use custom iOS-based "rOS" (reality operating system) software, and Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said Apple will market its smart glasses as an iPhone accessory.
CNET in April 2018 said that Apple is working on an augmented reality/virtual reality headset that features an 8K display for each eye and that is untethered from a computer or smartphone, connecting instead to a "dedicated box" over high-speed short-range WiGig technology. CNET said that it will support both augmented and virtual reality.
It's unclear what kind of project Apple will ultimately come out with given the various rumors we've heard, but it sounds like there still may be a headset or glasses in the works despite the rumors of the AR headset team being disbanded.