With Apple rumored to be getting into the TV streaming business later this fall, the company recently made an extremely interesting executive hire. First spotted by Mark Gurman over at 9to5Mac, Apple last month was able to lure Mike Rockwell away from Dolby, where he most recently served as the company’s Executive Vice President of Products and Technology.
The Rockwell hire is particularly interesting given that his top two listed skills on his LinkedIn profile are “streaming media” and “digital video,” two areas Apple has a keen interest in. Of course, Apple’s Beats Music revamp is slated to launch with iOS 9 while the company’s rumored TV streaming service may launch as soon as this October.
Also interesting is that Rockwell’s work at Dolby also involved research into developing incredibly vivid TV displays. To wit, take a look at this 2013 blogpost Rockwell wrote on Dolby’s website.
If you just raise the brightness of a TV display without increasing the contrast, you end up with dull, washed-out images. When you raise both, something magical happens: images on the TV start to look like the real world. It truly seems like you are looking out a window and not at a display. Exciting.
What are we doing here at Dolby with what we’ve learned about light and displays? We’re developing a technology called Dolby Vision that we’re convinced will revolutionize television.
Interesting stuff, especially in light of all the Apple TV rumors we’ve seen throughout the years.
While Apple has for years researched technologies and products that don’t ever see the light of day, executive hires typically signal something more tangible. For instance, Apple began hiring a number of high profile executives from the fashion world in the 18 months preceding the Apple Watch launch. It therefore stands to reason that Rockwell, at Apple, will likely be working on products and technologies that are far more baked than your typical research and development initiatives.