Apple almost never talks about its future projects, which are still being developed. There are exceptions, such as the AirPower charging station, which was prematurely presented but never released. Even without this, the level of secrecy within the company is a separate topic for conversation.
Mark Gurman from Bloomberg spoke about a secret group in a company called XDG – Exploratory Design Group. It is part of the Apple Hardware Technologies and is even in a separate building Tantau 9.
This team was assembled several years ago under the leadership of Bill Athas. Even Steve Jobs and Tim Cook considered him one of the company’s brightest engineers. Unfortunately, Mr. Athas died last year. But the team remained working. It is currently led by Jeff Koller, Dave Simon, Heather Sullens, Bryan Raines, and Jared Zerbe.
Internally, XDG is something of a startup. It consists of a few hundred employees, most of whom are engineers and scientists, and this group is much smaller than those involved in self-driving car projects or mixed reality headsets, where you can count thousands of employees.
At the same time, the level of secrecy is still maintained at the highest level. For example, team members from different projects cannot communicate with each other about ongoing work. At the same time, some engineers may work on several initiatives that match their skills.
XDG has a huge financial backing and resources to explore many ideas. The group’s employees have different competencies from those of the engineers on the teams that produce new iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches every year. Instead, they work on projects until they determine whether certain ideas are feasible.