Apple veteran Frank Casanova was recently named senior director of worldwide product marketing for augmented reality, the company’s first such position related to the burgeoning AR field.
A longtime Apple executive, Casanova first joined the company in 1997 as senior director of MacOS X Graphics, Audio and Video. He served in that role for ten years before being named senior director of iPhone partner marketing in 2007, a position he kept until the shift to head of AR marketing in February.
Bloomberg reported the LinkedIn profile change on Monday.
The creation of Casanova’s new role makes clear just how important AR is to the future of Apple.
Unlike virtual reality, which places users in a completely digitized 3D environment, AR is best described as a layer of digital information overlaid onto the physical world. Mixing advanced hardware like cameras and positioning components with equally complex software, the technology has become a tentpole feature of the latest iPhone and iPad models.
Apple’s focus on AR was first revealed with iOS 11, which delivered an initial set of consumer-facing AR products and tools like the ARKit framework for developers. First-party apps and features like Animoji and the Measure app are early examples of finished products, but rumors point to more comprehensive solution that could include an AR headset.
CEO Tim Cook continuously touts the company’s AR pursuits in public interviews and investor conference calls. In the past, Cook has referred to AR as a “big idea” like the smartphone, saying the technology holds great value for consumers. Beyond the AR solutions built into iOS, however, Apple has yet to detail its wider ambitions in the space.