Apple has moved top-level software exec Kim Vorrath to the team developing AR glasses, according to a report from The Information.
Vorrath is one of Apple’s longest-serving executives. She joined the company as an intern in 1987, and over the last three decades worked her way up to lead program management for Apple software. She oversaw the development of the original iPhone software, as well as all iOS releases since then. The Information describes Vorrath as Apple’s “bug wrangler”, with her role being to “ensure all the software teams met their deadlines while also testing software to keep bugs out”.
According to the report, the purpose of the move is to “bring some order” to the augmented reality product team. The implication seems to be that the team was previously in a research and experimentation phase, whereas Apple may now be ramping up to deliver an AR product.
A 2014 report from the outlet suggested that Vorrath does not tolerate missed deadlines or excuses. Apple may see this kind of management as necessary if it is to deliver AR glasses on the same timeline as its likely primary competitor in the game, Facebook. The social media giant, which acquired Oculus VR in 2014, stated earlier this year that its AR development was now “out of research, now that we are closer to shipping”. A Business Insider report cited a source claiming that Facebook’s AR glasses “resembled traditional glasses much more closely than the bulky AR headsets offered by Microsoft (the HoloLens) or Magic Leap.”
A Bloomberg report in 2017 suggested that Apple’s AR glasses will launch in 2020, but The Information’s report cites a source as claiming that it is “unclear whether it will meet that timeline”.