Why Apple’s AR Glasses Team Just Gained a Short-Tempered Executive

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Apple has moved a high-profile software executive to its augmented reality headset division in an effort to bring “some order” to the team, according to a new report.

That executive is Kim Vorrath, the head of program management for Apple’s software team for the last 15 years. Apple has apparently moved Vorrath to the AR and virtual reality team, tech outlet The Information reported on Wednesday.

Vorrath will report to Mike Rockwell, who oversees about a dozen people developing both AR and VR software and hardware.

In her work on the software team, Vorrath was reportedly a “powerful force.” Her responsibilities included ensuring employees met deadlines and squashing bugs in Apple’s software. The Information described her in a previous report as an “occasionally short-tempered field marshal.”

While it doesn’t necessarily confirm anything, Vorrath’s move hints at the fact that Apple is accelerating the development of something in the AR or VR sphere. She could bring some of her past expertise in the software realm to the new “rOS operating system” rumored for a future Apple AR headset.

A few weeks ago, a DigiTimes report caused a stir in the Apple blogosphere when it claimed that Apple had temporarily disbanded its AR headset team. It’s no longer clear how accurate that is.

Of course, DigiTimes is pretty hit-or-miss when it comes to accuracy. The Information has, historically, been much more credible in its reporting.

Put another way, Apple wouldn’t have a reason to move Vorrath to its AR division team if it had disbanded the team. This new report suggests that Apple is continuing to develop a first-party AR wearable. (We’ve also previously covered reasons why Apple won’t kill its AR glasses.)

It isn’t clear what form an AR or mixed reality headset would take. Some believe that it could be positioned as an iPhone accessory like an Apple Watch, while other reports indicate that it would be a standalone platform with its own operating system and App Store.

But no matter what form Apple AR glasses take, this new report hints that the device may be coming sooner than later after all — despite rumors to the contrary.

Previous rumors suggest that the device could launch as early as 2020. But the timeline is still unclear, particularly if Apple is running into problems maintaining “order” on the team.

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