Apple sees augmented reality (AR) as the next major tentpole for the company, but what that looks like beyond ARKit on iOS devices remains to be seen.
And whatever it does evolve into will apparently not include the continuing work of an augmented reality/virtual reality pioneer. According to a report on Monday from Variety, Avi Bar-Zeev, who co-created the Microsoft-branded HoloLens AR headset, and has been described as a pioneer of AR and VR, left Apple back in January. According to the report, Bar-Zeev had been working on Apple’s oft-rumored AR headset, which may or may not launch in 2020.
When Variety reached out to Var-Zeev, he confirmed the departure, saying:
“Bar-Zeev confirmed his departure when contacted by Variety, saying: “I left my full-time position at Apple in January. I had the best exit one can imagine. I have only nice things to say about Apple and won’t comment on any specific product plans.” He added that he planned to consult in the AR space while “noodling” on the next big thing.”
Bar-Zeev joined Apple back in 2016. He has been tied to a lot of major developments with AR and VR, especially in the hardware space. He was the co-creator of Microsoft’s HoloLens, which is still one of the most promising looks at a mixed reality headset to date.
This is a big loss for Apple, but it’s probably one that the company was aware was going to happen and made necessary changes behind-the-scenes to try and fill the gigantic hole that Bar-Zeev would leave behind. Will Apple still meet the rumored 2020 launch date of its upcoming AR glasses? Only time will reveal that.