In detailing the development process of the Apple Vision Pro, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman illustrates the management shift Apple embraced in the late 1990s. Instead of departments focusing solely on individual products like the iPhone or Mac, the change favored a “functional” structure with departments organized by job roles, thus contributing to products across the Apple range.
The creation of the Vision Products Group (VPG), tasked specifically with the development of the Vision Pro headset, signifies a return to product-specific departments. Initially part of the Technology Development Group headed by Mike Rockwell since 2015, the division has been renamed to focus solely on the Vision Pro. Operating as a miniature version of Apple’s broader management structure, the VPG encompasses teams in software, hardware engineering, strategy, computer vision, content, app development, and project management under Rockwell’s leadership.
Despite the VPG’s focus, the group collaborates with larger teams outside its purview, working closely with design and operations teams, chip units for processors, and borrowing from frameworks developed by software engineering teams.
The shift to the Vision Products Group name suggests the team will not be dissolved or merged into existing structures in the near future. It also hints at the potential for multiple products to stem from this group, including future versions of more affordable headsets.
Gurman posits that maintaining a smaller, dedicated group can expedite development while preserving confidentiality. A specialized team may also be necessary to bring such a complex product to market successfully.
Strategically, Apple may be keeping the VPG separate until it evolves into a major category, at which point it might be easier to disband and merge with other teams. Integration too soon could potentially redirect vital resources away from existing revenue-generating products.
Previously, Apple has modified its management structure for new products, such as the Apple Watch, for which COO Jeff Williams oversaw both hardware and software teams.
Meanwhile, the existence of the Special Projects Group for self-driving car development suggests that it may continue to be a distinct section within Apple, even following the potential launch of an Apple Car.