Development of Apple’s Vision Pro headset attributed to specialized division

Apple’s approach to developing the Vision Pro headset sets it apart from its traditional product development structure. Unlike its diverse collaboration across departments for other products, Apple has created a dedicated division exclusively focused on the Apple Vision Pro.

Vision Pro represents a shift back to product-specific departments within Apple

In an overview of the Apple Vision Pro’s development, Mark Gurman sheds light on Apple’s management shift in the late 1990s, favoring a “functional” structure. This organizational change saw departments organized by job roles, where various teams contributed to products across the entire Apple lineup, rather than focusing solely on specific items like the iPhone or Mac.

However, the Apple Vision Pro marks a return to product-specific departments. Initially developed under the Technology Development Group led by Mike Rockwell since 2015, the team has now been renamed the Vision Products Group (VPG). This group operates as a miniature version of Apple’s management structure, encompassing software, hardware engineering, and other teams internally. Under Rockwell’s supervision, the VPG includes strategy, computer vision, content, app development, and project management departments.

Apple Vision Pro - R1 chip

While the VPG primarily keeps its work within the group, it does collaborate with larger teams outside its scope. This involves working with design and operations teams, chip units for processors, and leveraging frameworks from software engineering group teams.

Contrary to expectations, the name change to the Vision Products Group suggests that the team will not be disbanded or absorbed into existing structures, at least for the foreseeable future. The plural “Projects” in the name hints at the possibility of multiple products emerging from the group, such as future iterations of more affordable headsets.

Gurman suggests that maintaining a smaller, dedicated group allows for faster development while safeguarding secrecy. Additionally, a specialized team within a dedicated unit may be necessary to successfully bring such a complex product to fruition.

apple vision pro

From a strategic perspective, Apple might also be keeping the VPG separate until it becomes a substantial category, making it easier to disband and integrate into other teams. Premature integration could divert valuable resources from existing revenue-generating products.

Apple has previously adjusted its management structure for new products, such as the Apple Watch, where COO Jeff Williams oversaw both hardware and software teams. Similarly, the existence of the Special Projects Group for self-driving car development suggests that it may remain a distinct section of Apple’s empire even after the eventual launch of an Apple Car.


About the Author

Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.

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