Sunday, May 28, 2023 | 07:38 pm

Gurman Reveals Apple’s Secretive XDG Project: The Tech Giant’s “Startup”

Gurman Reveals Apple’s Secretive XDG Project: The Tech Giant’s “Startup”

In the past week, Apple, Inc. was in the news over a report of a secret team at the company working on adding a non-invasive glucose monitoring feature to its smartwatch.

Bloomberg columnist Gurman now reports that the secret team could be developing a vast array of other technological innovations.

What Happened: The secretive “Exploratory Design Group,” or XDG, at Apple is working on several projects that are currently underway, apart from the non-invasive glucose monitoring technology, Gurman said in his weekly “Power On” newsletter.

XDG, according to Gurman, is similar to Alphabet, Inc’s X “moonshot factory,” which was the brain behind the Waymo self-driving car technology, Google Glass, and Loon internet balloons.

Apple’s XDG team has already had breakthroughs that have been used in the company’s products, Gurman said. He noted that the team is currently working on next-gen display technology, artificial intelligence, and features for AR/VR headsets that help people with eye diseases. Work on low-power processor technologies and next-generation batteries for smartphones is also continuing, he added.

Tracing XDG’s Origin, Evolution: The XDG team, set up several years ago, was initially led by Bill Athas, who was lauded as the brightest engineering mind at Apple both by co-founder Steve Jobs as well as CEO Tim Cook, Gurman said. Athas passed away unexpectedly late last year, he noted.

Apple’s Senior Vice President Johny Srouji is currently leading the XDG team, which is part of Cupertino’s Hardware Technologies Group, the columnist said. It works out of a building named “Tantau 9” right outside of the Apple Park spaceship-shaped ring, he said.

Gurman noted that XDG works as a startup within Apple and comprises a few hundred people, mostly engineers and academic types. This contrasted with the many hundreds working on the Apple Car project and over a thousand engineers working on the team that is building the mixed-reality headset, he said.

The team, which is more secretive than Alphabet’s X, is organized based on skill sets, and therefore one engineer could be working on more than one project/product, the Apple specialist said.