It seems that reports of the death Apple’s AR Glasses project were greatly exaggerated. If it were so, there would be little need for Apple to promote a well-established employee to lead it. According to a report from The Information, they have done exactly that.
It says that longtime Apple manager Kim Vorrath has been promoted to a new role that may include “bringing order to the AR headset team.” Considering how reputable the source is, I think there is a very good chance this is true. A paid outlet like The Information risks their credibility reporting something like this if it isn’t, so they wouldn’t take such a thing lightly.
In my opinion, this sheds some additional light on the previous reports that Apple’s AR Glasses project have run into trouble. Several outlets took that news and immediately jumped to the conclusion that the project was cancelled, even though the two Digitimes reports weren’t completely clear and actually seemed to conflict with one another. Of course, leading with the negative for an Apple story certainly draws more attention, so…
However, if The Information is correct it could add some needed context to the previous report. One of the Digitimes articles said that the AR Glasses may just be delayed, which could certainly prompt a shift in leadership. The fact that Apple has reportedly moved a manager with plenty of experience over should speak to the high priority that the project has. So again, a delay or some obstacles to be overcome still seem much more likely than a cancellation of the project.
According to Cult of Mac, Ms Vorrath seems like someone well-suited to fixing problems and getting things done:
“Vorrath spent 15 years coordinating debugging efforts for all Apple’s operating systems, and making sure developers made their deadlines.
Those are some rock-solid qualifications, in my opinion. The Information also added that she is notorious for having a temper. Being a programmer and now a project manager who sometimes has to lead them, I can understand how they can work a last nerve, myself.
Another somewhat off-topic, but still interesting point is that this is another example of Apple showing a commitment to diversity in management positions. While they mirrored the stereotypes typical of Silicon Valley not so long ago, that has changed a lot in more recent years. Several female employees have been promoted to higher profile positions and have been increasingly making the stage at events like WWDC. The company even went out and got Angela Ahrendts from Burberry a few years ago as their new Senior VP in charge of Apple Retail. While she moved on a few months ago, that doesn’t discount the companies willingness to keep an open mind hiring at high levels.
In this most recent case, not only has Apple moved Kim Vorrath to head up AR projects, but they have moved Stacey Lysik, who was on stage at WWDC just a month ago, to replace her. This definitely shows Apple as one of the leaders among American tech companies when it comes to insuring diversity, not just among the rank and file, but also increasingly in management positions.