Facebook hires former Apple designer Michael Hillman to take charge of VR hardware at Ocul...

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Facebook is taking on Michael Hillman -- a person with 15 years at Apple, including key work on the company's Mac desktops -- as the head of hardware at its Oculus VR division.




While at Apple, Hillman started as a lead designer on the iMac then rose through several other jobs before taking charge of desktops in general, Bloomberg noted. Prior to joining Oculus, Hillman worked as a VP at a self-driving vehicle startup, Zoox.

Oculus is best known for the Rift, one of the first VR headsets aimed a consumer audience. It also makes the more limited Gear VR headset for Samsung smartphones.

While generally well-reviewed, the Rift and its main competition -- the HTC Vive -- have so far been limited to a niche audience, owing to high pricetags and steep requirements, such as a powerful PC and enough standing space to move around. Oculus has in fact side-stepped Mac development, since no current Mac is powerful enough to support the Rift.

The company has developed a prototype of an untethered device, nicknamed "Santa Cruz," but it's not clear when a finished version might ship. In the meantime Oculus and HTC alike might benefit from developments such as improved wireless HDMI, since their headsets still depend on wired connections.

Apple has been largely dismissive of VR, instead concentrating on its sibling, AR -- augmented reality. Earlier today a report backed the idea of a set of consumer-level AR glasses which might ship in 2018 or later.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,249member
    Probably a talented designer, but Facebook/Oculus can hire the best designers in the world and they still won't be able to make a bad idea a good one.
    roundaboutnowcornchipcaliargonautwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 14
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,101member
    Probably a talented designer, but Facebook/Oculus can hire the best designers in the world and they still won't be able to make a bad idea a good one.
    Agree, the big question is does he have the talent to take the geek out of head gear device. Better yet, make so people do not like they are having epileptic seizure while using it.
    pscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 14
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 1,899member
    maestro64 said:
    Probably a talented designer, but Facebook/Oculus can hire the best designers in the world and they still won't be able to make a bad idea a good one.
    Agree, the big question is does he have the talent to take the geek out of head gear device. Better yet, make so people do not like they are having epileptic seizure while using it.
    People use VR in their home. Who cares what it looks like. 
    repressthis
  • Reply 4 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,249member
    maestro64 said:
    Probably a talented designer, but Facebook/Oculus can hire the best designers in the world and they still won't be able to make a bad idea a good one.
    Agree, the big question is does he have the talent to take the geek out of head gear device. Better yet, make so people do not like they are having epileptic seizure while using it.
    People use VR in their home. Who cares what it looks like. 
    How many people use it? I keep hearing stories of early adopters abandoning their rigs soon after they got them. I think these things are still too heavy, too confining and too dumb looking. Could be another 20 years before the technology is capable of providing users with something light enough and unobtrusive enough to see widespread general adoption... and even then, I think it'll be more like AR than VR.
  • Reply 5 of 14
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 1,899member
    maestro64 said:
    Probably a talented designer, but Facebook/Oculus can hire the best designers in the world and they still won't be able to make a bad idea a good one.
    Agree, the big question is does he have the talent to take the geek out of head gear device. Better yet, make so people do not like they are having epileptic seizure while using it.
    People use VR in their home. Who cares what it looks like. 
    How many people use it? I keep hearing stories of early adopters abandoning their rigs soon after they got them. I think these things are still too heavy, too confining and too dumb looking. Could be another 20 years before the technology is capable of providing users with something light enough and unobtrusive enough to see widespread general adoption... and even then, I think it'll be more like AR than VR.
    Millions are using it. Playstation VR units are selling like hot cakes. Sure they make look a little silly, but VR isn't a fashion statement. I use Playstation VR. It definitely could be lighter. I think the biggest issue facing VR is being able to make games that don't make people nauseated. I don't have any issues with that, but several friends can't use VR for longer than 10 minutes before they start feeling sick. Picture quality needs to improve as well. AR and VR are completely different things. For gaming, AR really doesn't make sense. 
    repressthisravnorodom
  • Reply 6 of 14
    maestro64 said:
    Probably a talented designer, but Facebook/Oculus can hire the best designers in the world and they still won't be able to make a bad idea a good one.
    Agree, the big question is does he have the talent to take the geek out of head gear device. Better yet, make so people do not like they are having epileptic seizure while using it.
    People use VR in their home. Who cares what it looks like. 
    How many people use it? I keep hearing stories of early adopters abandoning their rigs soon after they got them. I think these things are still too heavy, too confining and too dumb looking. Could be another 20 years before the technology is capable of providing users with something light enough and unobtrusive enough to see widespread general adoption... and even then, I think it'll be more like AR than VR.
    I have to agree with you on this.  This belief about consumers wanting VR seems absolutely ridiculous to me.  Most consumers didn't want to wear 3D glasses and suddenly they're going to want to wear bulky VR goggles.  Unlikely.  AR is certainly more practical especially if it can be used on a standard iPhone without any additional hardware.  You look through the iPhone camera and content is augmented.  That sounds much more doable with high-end smartphone hardware.

    Most VR-capable rigs have at least GTX 1070- or GTX 1080-class GPUs.  No Apple desktop comes anywhere near that.  I doubt most home users want to spend that sort of money just so one person at a time can view VR content.  It definitely is true people have been dumping their VR rigs because they probably get tired of them.  Those users ought to just get outside and get some exercise with true reality.  Maybe I just don't get it, so I'm not panning VR.

    At this stage I think it's only the most diehard users who'll have rigs and that will only be a handful of users.  For the rest of the world it just seems highly impractical.  I could see if a company opened a chain of VR centers for people who wanted to rent time with it but for home use it doesn't make much sense.  Too much cost with very little returns is how I see it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,249member
    maestro64 said:
    Probably a talented designer, but Facebook/Oculus can hire the best designers in the world and they still won't be able to make a bad idea a good one.
    Agree, the big question is does he have the talent to take the geek out of head gear device. Better yet, make so people do not like they are having epileptic seizure while using it.
    People use VR in their home. Who cares what it looks like. 
    How many people use it? I keep hearing stories of early adopters abandoning their rigs soon after they got them. I think these things are still too heavy, too confining and too dumb looking. Could be another 20 years before the technology is capable of providing users with something light enough and unobtrusive enough to see widespread general adoption... and even then, I think it'll be more like AR than VR.
    Millions are using it. Playstation VR units are selling like hot cakes. Sure they make look a little silly, but VR isn't a fashion statement. I use Playstation VR. It definitely could be lighter. I think the biggest issue facing VR is being able to make games that don't make people nauseated. I don't have any issues with that, but several friends can't use VR for longer than 10 minutes before they start feeling sick. Picture quality needs to improve as well. AR and VR are completely different things. For gaming, AR really doesn't make sense. 
    I could see AR bleeding into gaming by providing on-the-fly gaming environments based on a continually evolving version of the surrounding terrain.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 1,899member
    maestro64 said:
    Probably a talented designer, but Facebook/Oculus can hire the best designers in the world and they still won't be able to make a bad idea a good one.
    Agree, the big question is does he have the talent to take the geek out of head gear device. Better yet, make so people do not like they are having epileptic seizure while using it.
    People use VR in their home. Who cares what it looks like. 
    How many people use it? I keep hearing stories of early adopters abandoning their rigs soon after they got them. I think these things are still too heavy, too confining and too dumb looking. Could be another 20 years before the technology is capable of providing users with something light enough and unobtrusive enough to see widespread general adoption... and even then, I think it'll be more like AR than VR.
    I have to agree with you on this.  This belief about consumers wanting VR seems absolutely ridiculous to me.  Most consumers didn't want to wear 3D glasses and suddenly they're going to want to wear bulky VR goggles.  Unlikely.  AR is certainly more practical especially if it can be used on a standard iPhone without any additional hardware.  You look through the iPhone camera and content is augmented.  That sounds much more doable with high-end smartphone hardware.

    Most VR-capable rigs have at least GTX 1070- or GTX 1080-class GPUs.  No Apple desktop comes anywhere near that.  I doubt most home users want to spend that sort of money just so one person at a time can view VR content.  It definitely is true people have been dumping their VR rigs because they probably get tired of them.  Those users ought to just get outside and get some exercise with true reality.  Maybe I just don't get it, so I'm not panning VR.

    At this stage I think it's only the most diehard users who'll have rigs and that will only be a handful of users.  For the rest of the world it just seems highly impractical.  I could see if a company opened a chain of VR centers for people who wanted to rent time with it but for home use it doesn't make much sense.  Too much cost with very little returns is how I see it.
    Don't forget about the Playstation VR. That one is affordable. I think that's one of the reasons Playstation VR is outselling the Rift and Vive by a huge margin. You basically have to spend thousands to use VR on a PC. PS VR is being supported by all the huge video game companies as well. Sure, it may be viewed as a niche product, but there are no signs of sales slowing. Just curious, have you even tried VR? 

    As for 3D, I think what killed that off is the confusion between active and passive 3D. It would have been a lot better had the TV companies supported the same type of 3D. It  also didn't help at how expensive active 3D glasses were. A family of 4, that's well over $400 for glasses. Even though picture quality wise, it's not as good as active, but passive should have been the standard format. Wearing glasses was never the issue. 3D movies at the theater are one of the most popular in ticket sales. 
  • Reply 9 of 14
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 1,899member
    maestro64 said:
    Probably a talented designer, but Facebook/Oculus can hire the best designers in the world and they still won't be able to make a bad idea a good one.
    Agree, the big question is does he have the talent to take the geek out of head gear device. Better yet, make so people do not like they are having epileptic seizure while using it.
    People use VR in their home. Who cares what it looks like. 
    How many people use it? I keep hearing stories of early adopters abandoning their rigs soon after they got them. I think these things are still too heavy, too confining and too dumb looking. Could be another 20 years before the technology is capable of providing users with something light enough and unobtrusive enough to see widespread general adoption... and even then, I think it'll be more like AR than VR.
    Millions are using it. Playstation VR units are selling like hot cakes. Sure they make look a little silly, but VR isn't a fashion statement. I use Playstation VR. It definitely could be lighter. I think the biggest issue facing VR is being able to make games that don't make people nauseated. I don't have any issues with that, but several friends can't use VR for longer than 10 minutes before they start feeling sick. Picture quality needs to improve as well. AR and VR are completely different things. For gaming, AR really doesn't make sense. 
    I could see AR bleeding into gaming by providing on-the-fly gaming environments based on a continually evolving version of the surrounding terrain.
    Mobile gaming for sure but not console gaming. 
  • Reply 10 of 14
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 2,834member
    So basically Mark Gurmqn saw (or was alerted) that someone updated their LinkedIn profile and wrote a story about it. Apple employs thousands of hardware engineers. I'm not sure why it's news if one leaves to go work somewhere else. After 15 years this guy was probably looking for something different. How is that news?
    cornchipargonaut
  • Reply 11 of 14
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,049member
    gmgravytrain said:

    This belief about consumers wanting VR seems absolutely ridiculous to me.

    I think there was some similar hype revolving around 3D printers, and specifically, espoused by MakerBot. The idea that every other soccer mom is going to have the wherewithal let alone the desire to figure out how to print her kids custom shin guards ever season was purely in the imaginations of those at a few small companies living in their own delusional bubbles. 

    Are there valid uses for VR goggles? I'm sure there are. It would have to be a hell of a compelling use case to get me to plunk down any cash on one. 

    A 3D printer on the other hand, I'm already sold!
  • Reply 12 of 14
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,290member
    Forgetting all the anti Oculus rants for a moment, I wonder if this may mean a warmer feeling about support for macOS?
  • Reply 13 of 14
    JanNLJanNL Posts: 226member
    So basically Mark Gurmqn saw (or was alerted) that someone updated their LinkedIn profile and wrote a story about it. Apple employs thousands of hardware engineers. I'm not sure why it's news if one leaves to go work somewhere else. After 15 years this guy was probably looking for something different. How is that news?
    He had already other jobs after the 15 years with Apple.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    For VR to success, it needs a dedicated and supportive hardware/software approach. Apple Watch+Apple iPhone=success. Sony VR+Sony PS4=success. AR makes sense if the mapping technology is more advance such as the internal of your office building, internal factory building and even a more accurate street level mapping instead of what we have now is so broad and inaccurate from a street level. And AR in gaming is so obvious because you are already in 3D environment and it's already existed since day one. 3D printer is still in its infant stage. If one day I can print 3D missing parts for repairing household stuffs (with materials ranging from plastic to something more durable like metallic substitute), then we are talking.
    edited March 2017
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