Apple Hints At VR/AR Work Once More With Oculus, Magic Leap Hires

by Jamie Feltham • September 16th, 2016

This month’s Apple press conference may have not held any big news on the VR/AR front, but two of the company’s recent hires suggest that something is definitely on the way.

Business Insider is reporting that the ever-popular tech giant made two key hires in recent weeks and months. One was from VR specialist and Rift maker, Oculus, the other previously worked at illusive and intriguing mixed reality company, Magic Leap. The former is Yury Petrov, who reportedly came on board at Apple all the way back in June. According to his LinkedIn page, he’d held the very same role at Oculus since 2013. During his time at the VR group he worked in a variety of areas including R&D of “novel optical systems” for headsets.

This month, Apple also hired former Magic Leap staffer Zeyu Li where, according to his LinkedIn page, he simply made “cool stuff”. Li joined the mixed reality company back in July of last year, and had worked at cinematic VR company Jaunt before that. At Apple, he takes on the impressive-sounding role of Senior Computer Vision Algorithm Engineer.

Magic Leap’s plans remain just as mysterious as Apple’s; the company was revealed over two years ago now and we’re yet to see any official hardware, though there have been plenty of impressive technical demonstrations of its own brand of mixed reality.

These new appointments certainly suggest that Apple in interested in both the virtual and augmented reality spaces, though that’s not exactly a new discovery. CEO Tim Cook has expressed enthusiasm for both technologies on multiple occasions. He’s particularly excited for AR, stating that the tech would be “huge” back in June, though last month we also reported that the company had patented its own VR headset which was compatible with iPhones. That doesn’t necessarily mean Apple is actually going to make such a device, though.

While and Apple VR/AR solution may still be waiting in the wings, its new iPhone 7 does hint at its future plans for the latter technology. Perhaps 2017 will be the year we finally learn more about that. I mean it’s going to happen at some point, right?

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