It seems now that many of Magic Leap’s recently laid-off employees are helping Apple with its own AR headset ambitions.
Magic Leap was in hot water earlier this year, as reports surfaced that the well-funded startup was searching for a buyer. Although the AR company managed to avert disaster by securing another $350 million in May, around 600 full-time employees have reportedly been let go in its downsizing—presumably a direct result of the company’s failure to ignite a consumer AR market and subsequent pivot to the enterprise space.
According to an investigation of LinkedIn profiles by Protocol, many former Magic Leap employees have taken up residence at Silicon Valley’s most prominent tech companies, including Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon.
In the past six months though, Apple seems to have hired the most ex-Leapers, and positioned them into roles such as XR prototyper, computer vision engineer, and optical systems engineer—things you’d expect would have a direct effect on the development of an Apple AR headset.
The flow from Magic Leap to Apple has been a constant one too, Protocol has found. According to a broader assessment of LinkedIn bios, Apple has consistently been the number one place for former Magic Leap employees, with Facebook coming in a close second.
Like with all things Apple, hardly nothing is clear about its upcoming AR headset. We’ve had our fair share of Apple rumors in the past, like the most recent one pointing to device’s name, price, and possible launch window, although there’s really nothing solid to go on yet.
What is clear: love it or hate it, Magic Leap has acted as a lightning rod for early AR talent who have hands-on experience with a full-featured AR headset, something that only a tiny number of companies can claim at this point.