Oculus VR just hired an ex-Apple exec, and here's what it could mean

Former Apple man will lead Oculus VR hardware
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Just a couple months ago, Facebook hired Hugo Barra, a tech executive who worked on Android development at Google and worked to expand Xiaomi's international presence, to run all of its VR efforts.

Now Facebook has made another high profile hire - Michael Hillman - reports Bloomberg. Hillman is a 15-year Apple vet who started life in Cupertino as the lead designer on the iMac, rising through the ranks to eventually become chief architect of all desktop product design.

Read this: Why Oculus' Touch controllers are essential

For the last four years of his Apple career, Hillman had been working on a confidential hardware project before leaving for Zoox, an autonomous vehicles startup, to work on "special projects." Hillman will run all of hardware at Oculus.

What do these hires mean? Well, there are a couple hints. First, when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Barra's hiring he said that they both believed that VR is the next major computing platform. Second, a now-removed job posting for Hillman's Oculus post said the head of hardware would set and execute strategy for its consumer product roadmap.

Oculus VR just hired an ex-Apple exec, and here's what it could mean

Oculus is in a strange position in the VR game. HTC Vive is quickly becoming the choice for hardcore VR fans while PlayStation VR is a top-selling offering that's more affordable, takes advantage of everyone with a PS4 and has plenty of popular content like Resident Evil VII. The best way for Oculus forward is to become the de-facto VR choice for everyone else, and that means more partnerships like its friendship with Samsung and the Gear VR.

Read this: First impressions of Oculus' Santa Cruz VR headset

Part of Barra's job at Google was to push the Android platform into more places, like developing Android Honeycomb and Android tablets like the Nexus 7 and 10. Similarly, at Apple Hillman was in charge of making, well, Apple products, which tend to border the line between high-end and mass appeal. As noted by TechCrunch, he's also named as an inventor for a number of Apple patents that include display and battery technology.

With both Barra and Hillman at Oculus, it's likely they'll follow a similar approach. It wouldn't be surprising to see Oculus push forward with mass market VR hardware that leverage Facebook's user base and strike up partnerships with more third parties, like Samsung. And hey, wouldn't Oculus' standalone VR headset Santa Cruz be a prime first project for these two?

Oculus VR just hired an ex-Apple exec, and here's what it could mean


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Husain Sumra


Husain joined Wareable in 2017 as a member of our San Fransisco based team. Husain is a movies expert, and runs his own blog, and contributes to MacRumors.

He has spent hours in the world of virtual reality, getting eyes on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Samsung Gear VR. 

At Wareable, Husain's role is to investigate, report and write features and news about the wearable industry – from smartwatches and fitness trackers to health devices, virtual reality, augmented reality and more.

He writes buyers guides, how-to content, hardware reviews and more.

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