In its latest hiring bout, over the last month Apple has sought more than a dozen new hires specifically for AR and VR roles. Among them, the company is looking for a Computational Display Engineering Manager for incubating advanced display technologies for use with upcoming Apple products.

Apple continues to hire and acquire talent and companies to further its expertise in AR and VR, with the company being rumored to launch a headset in 2021 or 2022. With its latest acquisition in the space rumored to be NextVR, the company is also continuing to compete against the likes of Facebook over the pool of top tier AR and VR engineering and development talent.

Over the last month Apple has posted at least 14 new job openings directly pertaining to those with AR and VR expertise. The range of roles—from consumer-facing to deep research & development—makes it hard to gauge how far along Apple might be with its first headset.

One of the postings shows that even if the company is planning to ship something soon, it’s continuing to invest in R&D for the future. Apple is seeking a ‘Computational Display Engineering Manager‘ to investigate new display technology for AR and VR:

Apple is looking for an elite engineering manager that can help identify and incubate new display technologies in the areas of AR, VR, and computational displays. A successful candidate will not only need to develop new technologies, but also lead a world class team of display experts and educate a broad audience of people at Apple about the technologies benefits and tradeoffs. […]

This position is passionate about the prototyping, development, and product execution of both full displays systems and algorithms for AR/VR applications. The extended team features a diverse engineering roster of experts in optics, human perception, product design, and experimental physics.

‘Computational displays’ typically refers to display technologies which are more dynamic and responsive to viewers, enhancing the perceptual output through the use of real-time processes. An eye-tracked display with foveated rendering, for instance, or one which does real-time frame warping in the display itself, could be considered computational displays.

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It will take these sorts of computational display techniques to reach the ultimate goal of any AR or VR headset, which is to match both the acuity and field of view of the human eye.

Another of the Apple job listings is for a ‘Software Engineer, 3D Applications (AR/VR)‘, which clearly indicates that the company is embracing the nature of real-time AR and VR content, but also appreciates that the field is so new that many rules are still being written:

Are you ready to explore a new application domain with a talented and collaborative team? Apple’s Technology Development Group is seeking skilled 3D application developers to help us build graphically intense and highly interactive applications. […]

The ideal engineer for this role is comfortable working in a dynamic and creative team charged with exploring an uncharted and rapidly evolving domain. You will be researching and developing an entirely new application paradigm – a challenge that will demand rapid experimentation and prototyping without sacrificing code quality or attention to detail. You’ll need a keen understanding of the state of the art in interactive 3D applications and an ambition to discover what the future holds in this space. We are building a passionate and diverse team that will span a broad range of application categories including productivity, communication, and entertainment.

And there’s much more like that peppered throughout these latest Apple AR and VR job listings—references to uncharted waters and new computing paradigms—making it sound like Apple is really going all-in on XR as the future of computing. But exactly when they’ll make their first move is still up in the air.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • dogtato

    how much would an apple vr headset even cost? hard to imagine them pricing anything competitively

    • Henry Ford

      They don’t need competitive pricing it’s apple people will buy it

      • mirak

        And believe apple invented VR.

        • NooYawker

          It’s 2020 and people are still angry at Apple?

          • mirak

            Are you angry that it’s a good point ?

            Are an apple fan boy ?

          • NooYawker

            I’m not anyone’s fanboy. I think it’s sad and pathetic that people are cell phone fanboys at all still. If someone made angry comments at Samsung I’d say the same thing. It’s really, really sad and pathetic.

          • mirak

            I didn’t made that comment at Apple.

          • Peter K

            The only point you made was that Apple believes they’ve invented everything. If you are talking about each individual technologies then no, Apple did not invent everything they’ve made. However, they are pretty much always the one that can release a product with a complete cohesive experience. Believe me, most engineers are too busy thinking about throwing in more tech into a product that they never stop and think about whether it actually adds any value to the user experience itself.

            Windows and Android is a copied version of Apple’s software and no matter how you people try to twist, you can’t distort this part of the history.

          • kontis

            Windows didn’t copy anything from Apple.
            The concept of the desktop was copied forom Xerox by both of them.

          • Peter K

            Most GUI elements of the first Windows operating system (Windows 1.0) was licensed by Apple. Anything prior to windows XP was a blatant copy of the Macintosh operating system.

          • mirak

            Nothing in my message mean that apple believe they have invented anything.

    • sfmike

      So true whatever it is it will be overpriced and extremely proprietary and we will all have to wait for other companies to hack the tech at a reasonable price.

  • Amazing, I can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with

    • kontis

      I can already tell you.
      – It will be the “best”, lowest friction user experience.
      – it will lack features many competitors have
      – it will have some specs the best in the industry, but others worse than average
      – it will be sleek, light and “nice” but with terrible FOV and super meh for gaming

  • Liam Mulligan

    Nothing but good things for our industry. Good to hear they are ramping up. Exciting times post covid