Report: Apple CEO Tim Cook ordered a headset launch despite designers warning it wasn’t ready

Apple CEO Tim Cook has sided with Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams in pressing to launch a first-generation mixed reality headset this year, against the wishes of the company’s design team, financial times reports.

It seems that the timing of the launch of the mixed reality headset was the cause of a great deal of contention at Apple. The company’s industrial design team warned that devices in this category weren’t ready for launch yet and wanted to delay until the lightweight augmented reality glasses product was several years away. On the other hand, Apple’s operations team wanted to ship an early version of the product in the form of a VR-focused headset that would allow users to watch 3D videos, do interactive exercises, or make FaceTime calls with virtual avatars.

Tim Cook, who served as Apple’s chief operating officer before becoming CEO, reportedly sided with Jeff Williams, overruling the objections of Apple designers and pushing for an early launch with a more limited product. Talking to financial timesFormer Apple engineers who worked on the device described the “tremendous pressure of charging”.

Upon the departure of design chief Jony Ive in 2019, Apple’s design team now reports directly to Williams. While design led the direction of Apple’s products under Steve Jobs’ leadership, employees noted that operations increasingly dominated product development under Cook’s leadership. A former engineer said that the best part of working at Apple was devising engineering solutions to meet the “crazy demands” of the design team, but that has clearly changed in recent years.

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Apple’s headset is said to have been in active development for seven years, twice as long as the original iPhone before it was launched. The device is seen as directly tied to the legacy of “Tim Cook,” as Apple’s first new computing platform was developed entirely under his leadership.

The company still expects to sell only about 1 million units of the headphones during its first year on sale for as much as $3,000. However, Apple is allegedly preparing a “marketing campaign” for the product later this year.

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