In hopes of strengthening its growing augmented reality team, Apple has reportedly hired Michael Abbott, an engineering and investment veteran with past ties to Twitter, Microsoft, Palm, and others.
The report was surfaced by MacRumors, which translated a MacGeneration post on Tuesday. Apple hasn't confirmed the hire publicly.
Most recently, Abbott spent time at Stanford University's Computational Vision and Geometry Lab as a visiting scholar, where he's conducted technical research into computer vision technology since Sept. 2017, according to his LinkedIn profile.
"Like you, perhaps, I am captivated by what AR could enable, and fascinated by 'real' applications of AI/ML, or how security techniques from the world of geopolitics are influencing enterprise technologies," wrote Abbott on his personal blog regarding his departure from venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins in August 2017.
With more than 30 years of experience in Silicon Valley, Abbott has left his imprint at more than 50 startups, enterprises, organizations, and institutions as an engineer, investor, founder, lecturer, and/or advisor.
At Twitter, he led efforts to scale up the social network's capacity to reduce appearances of the infamous "fail whale." Before that, at Microsoft, he helped lay the groundwork for the Azure cloud platform, and led the team at Palm behind webOS. He's also invested in Snapchat, Google acquisition SayNow, served as an advisor for Jawbone, and sat on the board at Plex, Quova, and Apple acquisition buddybuild.
Abbott will join an Apple AR team comprised of industry veterans from Oculus, Microsoft, Meta, Weta Digital, Google, Dolby, and NASA, along with acquihires Flyby Media and Metaio.
While it's not clear what his role will be, based on available information, his role could cover anything from leading Apple's rumored smartglasses push to using his computer vision experience on the software side (ARKit, etc.).
"I see AR as being profound. I think AR has the ability to amplify human performance instead of isolating humans," said Apple CEO Tim Cook during the company's last earnings call. "I don't want to say what we may do. But I could not be happier with how things are going right now."
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