Veteran Apple software manager shifting to AR team

Apple has reportedly shifted one of its key, high-profile software executives to its augmented reality team. As detailed by the Information, Kim Vorrath has led program management for Apple’s software team for over 15 years, but is now moving to focus on the AR team.

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Vorrath has joined the augmented reality team led by Mike Rockwell, the VP of AR and VR for Apple. Rockwell reports to Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering. Rockwell manages a team with “nearly a dozen direct reports who are working on everything from software to hardware to content in the area of AR and VR,” the report says. Stacey Lysik will take Vorrath’s role within the software group.

The Information details that Vorrath is not as well-known outside of Apple as other software executives, but she plays an important role. Originally reporting to Craig Federighi, Vorrath’s responsibility was to keep software teams on schedule and test releases for bugs. A report several years ago described her as the “occasionally short-tempered field marshal” leading software teams at Apple.

In one stressful period before the first launch of iOS in 2007, Ms. Vorrath, angered by a team member heading home early, slammed her office door hard enough to break the door knob, the Information reported in 2014. Finding herself locked in her office, her then boss Scott Forstall tried to break her out with a baseball bat.

The thinking within Apple is reportedly that Vorrath’s leadership style will bring “some order to the team developing a long-anticipated AR headset.” Apple is reportedly looking to ensure a compelling software experience for the AR headset, with “some people inside Apple” blaming software for initial problems with the Apple Watch.

Various reports have suggested that Apple is building an augmented reality headset, perhaps ready for release as soon as 2020. Today’s report from the Information, however, says that it’s unclear whether Apple’s team will meet that timeline.


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