It is no secret that Apple has been working on Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR) products, with the many reports and patents as recent as last week pointing towards the various applications that might currently be under development. The company’s CEO himself admitted back in 2016 that AR would be a big platform, and the firm’s acquisitions and hires in the past have provided further credence to the reports.
Now, recent job postings for AR/VR roles posted by the Cupertino giant suggest that it could be looking to take things further with the development of AR/VR projects beyond just software through their current mobile operating systems. Listings calling for applicants for the Technology Development Group (TDG) include roles such as AR/VR Demo Evangelist, Product Manager (AR), and UI Artist, AR Applications. While the product manager position might cater to a larger area of AR, roles such as AR/VR Demo Evangelist point to the possibility of the company reaching a point in development for products that are now needed to be showcased to the decision-makers at the company and eventually to the world.
The description for the job states:
In this role, you will be responsible for facilitating state of the art demos to a large range of audiences. You will partner with applications and product design teams to drive various internal user research studies, while supporting multi- functional lab and competitive analysis efforts. Working with highly specialized engineers and PM’s.
The UI Artist’s job description also includes requirements such as “Experience in designing or implementing new UI Systems and Tools”, which could point to the efforts needed to design AR/VR-specific UI.
While this news does contradict recent rumors of the company shelving its consumer AR headset, it would not be wise to believe that the firm would give up on a technology that is gaining popularity. With rivals such as Microsoft and Oculus doubling down on their AR/VR products, it makes sense to think that Apple would want to enter the market with a compelling device and that the cancellation rumors might point to just one of many ideas that maybe didn't make it through research. In true Apple fashion, the company would want to build a strong software and app ecosystem to support the launch of a future product in the AR/VR space.
Plans always change, and companies constantly evaluate products based on challenges, adoption opportunities, and/or market maturity. While the recent job listings and a host of AR/VR references in the last couple of months might point to progress within the company, there is no guarantee that these products would see the light of day. Only time will tell if Apple will indeed go ahead and launch an AR/VR product in the future.