- Apple CEO Tim Cook was not extensively involved with the headset's development
- SVP of software engineering Craig Federighi kept his distance from the project
- SVP of hardware technologies Johny Srouji compared the headset to a science project
- Headset's announcement will still go ahead at WWDC
Apple is widely expected to reveal its anticipated mixed-reality headset at WWDC, but a new extensive report by Bloomberg highlights Apple’s senior executives’ nonchalant and casual involvement with the project.
Apple CEO Tim Cook will take to the stage at WWDC to unveil the new headset. However, the upcoming device has significantly deviated from his original vision, adds Bloomberg. Initially conceived as a discreet pair of eyeglasses suitable for all-day wear, Apple’s headset has transformed into a headset resembling ski goggles and necessitating a separate battery pack.
Despite Cook’s advocacy for augmented reality as the next big thing, he was not extensively involved in the headset’s development, adds Bloomberg. This stands in contrast to the late Steve Jobs, who was renowned for imposing his distinct design sensibilities on Apple products. Cook’s more hands-off approach aligns with his involvement in the development of the Apple Watch and AirPods, according to the report. Cook’s approach gave the impression of indecision, which resulted in delays and raised concerns about acquiring adequate resources.
The closest Cook gets to product development is a demo. But even then, he’s not the type of guy who says it should do X and not Y. He’s the complete opposite of Steve in terms of having strong opinions on the minutiae. Tim didn’t throw his weight around the project at all, and this frustrated people.Insiders describe Cook’s approach with product development – Bloomberg
Other prominent senior executives, including senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi, have also maintained a certain level of “distance” and “seemed wary” of the project, adds Bloomberg. Similarly, Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technologies, has privately expressed skepticism, likening the project to a “science experiment”.
Srouji has raised concerns internally, stating that dedicating resources to developing the high-performance chips required for the headset could potentially divert attention from creating new iPhone chips. Despite his earlier reservations, Srouji’s team ultimately developed some of Apple’s most advanced chips for the headset, while the speed improvements in iPhones have indeed slowed down in recent years.
Apple’s mixed-reality headset is expected to feature glass, aluminum, and carbon-fiber in a ski googles-like design, two 4K micro-OLED displays, an iris scanner for biometric authentication, dual M2-based chips, an external battery pack, and an advanced eye and hand-tracking system powered by a dozen cameras. The company will also announce “xrOS,” the headset’s software platform, said to run 3D iPad-based apps. Be sure to check out Supercharged’s recap of everything expected to be unveiled at WWDC.