Most of Apple’s chief executives and main engineers are anonymous, never appearing on the stage or in the news, but Rubén Caballero is an exception – VP of long-term wireless engineering that helped develop several iPhones from the time original model, and reported red flag iPhone 4 antenna design internally before becoming notorious. Now Caballero has joined Microsoft, its LinkedIn page confirm (through Bloomberg), and his new role could be significant: He left Apple during the drama development of his 5G modem, and is likely to bring significant cellular and wireless expertise to his new employer.
Caballero’s new position includes hardware design and technology engineering for a mix of Microsoft reality and AI division, which he noted will include “HoloLens, Special Projects, and many more to come” – a kind of open scope that shows eventual engagement with many Microsoft-branded devices . . During his 14 years at Apple, Caballero was significantly involved in wireless chips and antenna components for not only the iPhone but also the recent iPad, Mac, Apple TV and the latest AirPort wireless router, which said that his work for Microsoft might ultimately include improving performance Surface cellular or wireless computers and AI-powered “smart devices”, in addition to mixed reality hardware.
At present, HoloLens is one of Microsoft’s main products that can utilize its cellular engineering expertise. That current generation headset uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for communication, but doesn’t have integrated cellular capabilities – something that the last two HoloLens all-in-one designs might struggle to provide given the placement of all hardware in the user’s head. While cellular phones are widely considered safe for short periods of direct head exposure, radio emission guidelines usually recommend limiting the use of close ears for short periods, with headphone or speakerphone modes as an option.
The leading AR headset makers are all working towards lighter, more comfortable products with high-speed wireless connectivity, although companies may differ in their choice Wi-Fi (like Wi-Fi 6E), one of several 5G cellular frequency bands, or Bluetooth standards in the future. In any case, familiarity with sophisticated antennas and chip designs will be crucial for engineering the next generation of devices with smaller sizes and less power consumption.
Immediately before leaving Apple last year, Caballero was reportedly ruled out in an effort to develop the company’s internal 5G modem, as chosen by the company bought a business Intel 5G smartphone modem for Senior VP of engineering Johny Srouji to lead. He then became an advisor or strategist for four different companies, including at least two staff with former key Apple employees – Keyssa wireless business, supported by the pioneers of the iPod and Nest Tony Fadell, and a secret startup Human, run by iPad UX leading Bethany Bongiorno and Imran Chaudhri. It remains to be seen whether he will continue to participate in these endeavors during his tenure at Microsoft, but they are currently listed as present rather than past tense on his profile.
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