Oculus turns to Apple veteran for the future of its VR hardware

Facebook, owners of the Oculus virtual reality company, has hired former Apple senior engineer and design lead, Michael Hillman, to head up its Oculus hardware division.

In his 15 years of engineering and designing at Apple, Hillman helped to develop consumer products such as the iMac desktop. With so much experience in launching consumer products behind him, Hillman will be particularly useful for Oculus as virtual reality hardware enters its second generation and attempts to break into the mainstream. 

According to Bloomberg, the job listing for the position that Hillman has now filled stated that the person hired would “set the strategy and execute on our consumer product roadmap” as well as building and leading the hardware organization.

An Apple hire a day...

Oculus is certainly attracting some big names from across the tech industry. Hillman will be working closely with chief operating officer Andrea Schubert, who previously held the same position at Fitbit, as well as former Xiaomi employee Hugo Barra who now heads up virtual reality at Facebook. 

Oculus will need to recruit these big names if it’s to compete with HTC and Microsoft, both of whom have more experience with building out a successful hardware business. 

The next big move for high-end virtual reality headsets is to untether them from the powerful desktop PCs they currently rely on and lower their price points. 

Oculus has already started on its untethered device and has demonstrated its prototype codenamed Santa Cruz, though it hasn’t revealed any immediate plans for consumer release.

We imagine this will be where Hillman will come in handy. Though the iMac isn’t exactly inexpensive, it’s a compact and neat design for a category of device that’s otherwise known for being in two parts and fairly bulky. 

It’s the Apple veteran’s experience in designing and launching this kind of product that will make him a key part of Oculus’ move into the second generation of virtual reality. 

Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.