Dan Riccio’s new role is working on Apple’s AR/VR headsets

Back in January, Apple announced a change for a couple of its executives. Dan Riccio and John Ternus saw a shift in priorities, with Riccio’s work billed as taking on a “new project”.

Of course, at the time, Apple wasn’t confirming anything regarding Riccio’s new focus for the company. With the official announcement, Riccio said that it was time to move on (within the company), and that he was ready to focus “on creating something new and wonderful”. That’s all we got to go on, other than Apple adding that Riccio’s new role would continue to lead the company “forward”.

Now, Bloomberg is here to help clear things up a bit. The publication is offering some more details regarding Riccio’s new role within Apple, and it’s not too surprising. According to the latest report, the executive is now helping to lead the charge on Apple’s augmented reality/virtual reality headsets.

Previous reports have suggested that while Apple is still hard at work on its first AR/VR headset, the company has run into some roadblocks. Especially related to hardware. Riccio joining the AR/VR headset team in a leading role, with all of the executive’s hardware expertise at the company, is a sign that Apple’s ready to make the moves necessary to leap over those hurdles.

The project itself is still being led by Mike Rockwell, handling the day-to-day. Riccio joining the team, which apparently consists of engineers numbering “well over a thousand”, is meant to help solve some hardware issues that have cropped up with the design effort.

Apparently this change for Riccio has been in the works for quite some time:

Around last March, Riccio handed oversight of electrical engineering, product design and project management for the iPhone and most of Apple’s other major products to Ternus. After that shift, Riccio continued to oversee AR and VR work, the development of custom screens, testing and camera hardware.

That’s not all, though. Groups working on “in-house displays and camera technology” are transitioning to Johny Srouji’s leadership. Bloomberg says this is a big moment for Apple:

The move suggests the company is getting closer to shipping its first devices with fully custom displays, replacing those from outside suppliers. Apple has a facility near its Silicon Valley headquarters developing MicroLED screens.

So, this all makes sense. Riccio’s hardware expertise should help the AR/VR headset team nail down whatever’s been plaguing the work so far. And if everything comes together, the rumor mill has a high-end headset waiting in the wings. The latest report says the device will cost around $3,000, feature a pair of 8K displays, boast eye- and hand-tracking, and much more.

Based on the rumors, are you looking forward to Apple’s AR/VR headset?