The chaotic (love?) Story between Jony Ive and Apple’s AR/VR headset

Information has published a series of reports telling the story of Apple’s mixed reality (AR/VR) headset, with a relationship between the device’s development team and Jony Ive, Apple’s former head of design.

Jony Ive and Tim Cook during the iPhone XR presentation in 2018 // Source: Apple

This is the story of a virtual reality headset (or augmented reality, or mixed reality, we don’t yet know exactly) that hasn’t even seen the light of day. But the American media The information which retraces the history of its development at Apple in a series of articles.

What else can be known about the technical problems, but also the politics that enameled its design, with disputes between the technical team and Jony Ive, Apple’s former head of design until his departure from the company in 2019.

Apple’s debut in augmented reality

The turbulent history of this mysterious helmet dates back to the beginning of the project. ” Apple’s mixed reality efforts began almost by accident when the company bought a German AR startup called Metaio to use some of its technologies on Project Titan, the self -driving project. “, reports the information site. And add that Tim Cook” there is relatively little product involvement compared to others like the iPhone “. One of the sources of frustration is the fact that it Technology Development Group overseeing the development of the device has no offices at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino.

A project that is really progressing is getting the team leader on this AR / VR project: Micke Rockwell, formerly of Dolby Laboratories. He himself has joined a team that includes Metaio co-founder Peter Meier as well as Apple Watch lead Fletcher Rothkopf.

A showdown between Jony Ive and the helmet development team

According to several sources familiar with the matter, including the people working on this VR headset, there is a conflict of will between the team. Technology Development Group and Apple designer Jony Ive and his industry design team.

The informationtells us that several augmented reality demonstrations took place in 2016 on the board of directors of the apple brand. Shown are a small triceratops growing before the eyes on its branches, a room that has become a forest. The main “obstacle” is not this advice, but more Ive ” who manages Apple’s industrial design and human interface teams “.

Rockwell hasn’t just worked on the helmet for these long years. With his team, he designed and released ARKit in 2017, an app development suite that allows developers to create augmented reality apps for the iPhone and iPad. He would have used it “technologies and techniques that can be adapted into a helmet for the future”.

Apple iOS 12 Architect 2

For you Ive, virtual reality ” separates users from people and the worldaround ”. He reportedly feels that VR headsets “It’s old “. In response to this, the Technology Development Group has a slightly different concept: an exterior-facing screen in front of the helmet that displays images of the user’s facial and eye expressions to those around them. The wearer can see the people around them through the feed of an external camera “.

Jony Ive, a constant preponderant opinion

Initially, Rockwell and his team wanted the headphones to be plugged into a station that would provide power for maximum performance. The device is immediately designed for professional use (for creatives especially). But I haven’t heard it that way ” and want to make this consumer product more consumer -friendly“. A mixed reality headset that could be lightweight in short, and why not, an AR headset that could be the first step in replacing the iPhone.

Apple Mixed Reality Headset
Apple will work on a VR / AR headset // Source: AppleTrack editing

A desire supported by Apple leaders. Even if Jony Ive is now an Apple consultant, he is no longer part of the internal teams, but he is apparently still supported and “ still active role in helmet development“.

It’s a headache for development teams who have to find a promising way to make the homemade mixed reality headset work. All this while the work on the main chip is finished. “They need to find ways to combat the latency inherent in communication between different device chips. They also designed the software believing that the base station project would be accomplished.“, emphasizedThe information. Rumors say that these glasses will precede two to three years of competition in terms of power and that this helmet will be a concentration of technologies.

We know a little bit about Apple’s AR / VR headset

ForBloomberg,the launch of the helmet is expected soon. We can definitely imagine Apple announcing the helmet at the next WWDC, or at least a software development kit for its destination. An advanced version was reportedly unveiled by Apple’s board of directors recently. The company is also accelerating the development of the software component of the helmet, an iOS derivative calledroswith arfor the truth.

This augmented reality and/or virtual reality helmet has 14 cameras. Some are on the outside, some on the inside. What to put in this system “transparency»Which will allow users to see what is going on outside the helmet, but also visible to people around. Meta Quest already allows people around you to see what’s going on with the headset.

Body movements can be tracked to create a 3D avatarcartoony(which may be similar to iPhone Memojis) for metaverse purposes, for calls orplay. According toThe informationn, more photorealistic avatars can be tested, but limited processing capabilities do not allow them to be used smoothly.

Apple headphones MR
Source: Illustration by The Verge

Yes that “Apple originally planned to launch the headset in 2019“, it is likely to be announced next June during WWDC, for a launch later this year or early 2023. If it is clear we do not yet know the price of the helmet, a report by Ming -Chui Kuo talks about a price of almost 1000 dollars.

2022 is truly an important year for the brand, with an upside-down line of iPhones and more powerful Macs, in addition to the potential announcement of this mixed reality headset.


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