Apple's augmented reality team includes vets from Dolby, Oculus & more - report

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in Future Apple Hardware
Although Apple's rumored augmented reality glasses may be a distant prospect, a report said on Monday, Apple is making AR technology a priority and has assembled a high-profile team for the effort.

A simulation of Microsoft's HoloLens AR glasses in action.
A simulation of Microsoft's HoloLens AR glasses in action.


At the head of the team is Mike Rockwell, who before joining Apple in 2015 was in charge of hardware and new technologies groups at Dolby, Bloomberg indicated, citing sources. Rockwell allegedly reports to Dan Riccio, senior VP of Hardware Engineering.

In spring of 2016 Apple assigned two other prominent people to Rockwell, namely Fletcher Rothkopf -- one of those in charge of designing the original Apple Watch -- and Tomlinson Holman, best known as the creator of the THX audio standard.

Other people involved are said to include Cody White, a former lead engineer on Amazon's Lumberyard game engine, and Duncan McRoberts, previously a director of software development at Meta, a firm that makes high-end AR glasses. Notably, Rockwell once advised Meta, in which Dolby has a stake.

Two more people with AR and VR experience include Yury Petrov, who once did research for Facebook's Oculus, and Avi Bar-Zeev, who worked on Microsoft's HoloLens AR gear as well as Google Earth.

Many of the remaining people on the project are said to include iPhone, camera, and optical lens engineers, as well as people able to source the raw materials for the glasses, and veterans of the 3D animation for movies. Indeed the company has reportedly opened an office in Wellington, New Zealand and hired several people away from Weta Digital, perhaps best known for its work on the "Lord of the Rings" films, as well as more recent productions like "The Jungle Book."

Apple is now said to have "hundreds" of engineers involved, some of them working on Apple's rumored AR features for upcoming iPhones. These are comparatively simple, but might for instance let people change the depth-of-field in photos on the fly, rotate in-scene objects, and insert Snapchat-style effects and virtual objects. Apple may or may not actually put these things into shipping products.

The Bloomberg sources reiterated that the AR glasses -- which have rumored as coming as soon as 2017 -- are only on the horizon. They are however expeted to connect wirelessly to an iPhone and display content like maps and movies.

Last year Apple CEO Tim Cook is said to have visited the offices of Magic Leap, an AR developer which has yet to ship anything but is known for its more realistic rendering of virtual objects. It has also hired at least one person from the company, Zeyu Li, who is now a "senior computer vision algorithm engineer."

To bolster its ranks and technologies, Apple has been acquiring some other small firms. These include AR software developer Metaio, and FlyBy Media, which made AR camera software.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    smaffeismaffei Posts: 118member
    As Google Glass proved… Society doesn't want it.

    The users were not called Glassholes for nothing.
  • Reply 2 of 13
    smaffei said:
    As Google Glass proved… Society doesn't want it.

    The users were not called Glassholes for nothing.
    I couldn't agree more, and even though I've never knowingly allowed iCloud upload, have deleted my Photos Library (tagging always on, no opt out), the few images of people in Contacts (note they can only be switched to stock image, so still referenced) and purged any visible & hidden Photos.db files, for what any of that might be worth... Are Macs becoming very creepy, very quickly?
  • Reply 3 of 13
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,348member
    smaffei said:
    As Google Glass proved… Society doesn't want it.

    The users were not called Glassholes for nothing.
    Google Glass proved that a wearable display should not be designed by people who don't understand basic aesthetic principles like facial symmetry, and whether something looks creepy or not.

    The left-brained geeks at Google made something suitable for sinister androids, not humans. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 26,254member
    Using an iPad or iPhone as the AR device makes complete sense. Clipping a phone into a bulky, dumb looking device that blocks ones vision isn't the way to go (and IMO, Google, Facebook and Samsung are all kidding themselves if they think that garbage is ever going to take off).
    tmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 13
    Using an iPad or iPhone as the AR device makes complete sense. Clipping a phone into a bulky, dumb looking device that blocks ones vision isn't the way to go (and IMO, Google, Facebook and Samsung are all kidding themselves if they think that garbage is ever going to take off).
    For the record those three companies are mainly into VR at this point, not AR, and only Google and Samsung use inserted phones.

    VR's use is in mostly in games, simulations, and video - cases in which you want to remove the outside world. It's a lot of fun, if you've tried it.
  • Reply 6 of 13
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 3,402member
    smaffei said:
    As Google Glass proved… Society doesn't want it.

    The users were not called Glassholes for nothing.
    I couldn't agree more, and even though I've never knowingly allowed iCloud upload, have deleted my Photos Library (tagging always on, no opt out), the few images of people in Contacts (note they can only be switched to stock image, so still referenced) and purged any visible & hidden Photos.db files, for what any of that might be worth... Are Macs becoming very creepy, very quickly?

    Apple is really good at taking the Geek of out technologies, however, I am not sure even Apple can un-geek AR/VR. Apple may find a way to use AR such that is does not intrude into your life in a way others look at you as an idiot.

    Everyone is more cough up in the fact the technology is new, interesting and unique. But the all important question is never ask of the general population would you buy and use it all the time. The Geeks tend to ask geeks that question and discount everyone else as not being smart enough to get it. This is where Steve Jobs was really good, he made technology so you did not have to be "smart' to get it.

    watto_cobracali
  • Reply 7 of 13
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 1,521member
    I wear glasses. I can't imagine them sending me information. But then, I couldn't imagine using an iPhone in 2006.
  • Reply 8 of 13
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 1,413member
    smaffei said:
    As Google Glass proved… Society doesn't want it.

    The users were not called Glassholes for nothing.
    People didn't want what Google was selling. I very much doubt Apple plans to release the same product. 
    Roger_Fingaswatto_cobracali
  • Reply 9 of 13
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 1,413member

    smaffei said:
    As Google Glass proved… Society doesn't want it.

    The users were not called Glassholes for nothing.
    I couldn't agree more, and even though I've never knowingly allowed iCloud upload, have deleted my Photos Library (tagging always on, no opt out), the few images of people in Contacts (note they can only be switched to stock image, so still referenced) and purged any visible & hidden Photos.db files, for what any of that might be worth... Are Macs becoming very creepy, very quickly?
    No, you're just becoming irrationally paranoid. Photos tagging is purely localized. 
    watto_cobrafastasleepcali
  • Reply 10 of 13

    smaffei said:
    As Google Glass proved… Society doesn't want it.

    The users were not called Glassholes for nothing.
    I couldn't agree more, and even though I've never knowingly allowed iCloud upload, have deleted my Photos Library (tagging always on, no opt out), the few images of people in Contacts (note they can only be switched to stock image, so still referenced) and purged any visible & hidden Photos.db files, for what any of that might be worth... Are Macs becoming very creepy, very quickly?
    No, you're just becoming irrationally paranoid. Photos tagging is purely localized. 
    Well localized may be true, for now, but unwanted resource use, accidental upload, data breach, border seizures, a new realm of 'Executive Order Governance' and those who should know far more than me have suggested concern is not unwarranted... Reminds me of the saying 'it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye...' ? Is a simple 'off' preference for Photos tagging a reasonable request?
  • Reply 11 of 13
    sog35sog35 Posts: 12,408member
    smaffei said:
    As Google Glass proved… Society doesn't want it.

    The users were not called Glassholes for nothing.
    Thats dumb.

    That's like saying society didn't want smartwatches because the Samsung Gear1 failed.
    Roger_Fingaswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 131member
    Maybe the lenses could be set by software to correct vision issues, correct for sun exposure, and then additionally add the VR to the whole thing. With interchangable temples just like interchangeable watch bands. I could use those.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 1,413member

    smaffei said:
    As Google Glass proved… Society doesn't want it.

    The users were not called Glassholes for nothing.
    I couldn't agree more, and even though I've never knowingly allowed iCloud upload, have deleted my Photos Library (tagging always on, no opt out), the few images of people in Contacts (note they can only be switched to stock image, so still referenced) and purged any visible & hidden Photos.db files, for what any of that might be worth... Are Macs becoming very creepy, very quickly?
    No, you're just becoming irrationally paranoid. Photos tagging is purely localized. 
    Well localized may be true, for now, but unwanted resource use, accidental upload, data breach, border seizures, a new realm of 'Executive Order Governance' and those who should know far more than me have suggested concern is not unwarranted... Reminds me of the saying 'it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye...' ? Is a simple 'off' preference for Photos tagging a reasonable request?
    Your slippery slope fallacy doesn't affirm your original point that Macs are becoming creepy. They aren't. 
    watto_cobrafastasleepcali
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