Twitter Hires Former Apple Designer Alessandro Sabatelli to Head Up VR and Augmented Reality

Twitter is ramping up its push into virtual reality and augmented reality content: The social media company has hired Alessandro Sabatelli, formerly a top user-interface designer at Apple, as director of AR and VR.

Sabatelli disclosed that he had joined Twitter on his LinkedIn page, describing his role as “empowering us all in the spatial computing revolution.” Twitter’s hiring of Sabatelli was first reported by UploadVR and was confirmed by a company rep.

At Twitter, Sabatelli will lead a new augmented-reality team within Twitter Cortex, the company’s unit focused on machine learning and artificial intelligence. Twitter this month acquired U.K. startup Magic Pony Technology for a reported $150 million, and said it would fold the team specializing in machine-learning visual processing into Twitter Cortex to enhance live and video offerings. The company describes Twitter Cortex as dedicated to “building a product in which people can easily find new experiences to share and participate in.”

Most recently, Sabatelli was CEO of music VR experience startup IXOMOXI. At Apple, where Sabatelli worked for nearly nine years, he was a UI designer for iOS, OS X and Watch OS operating systems and related software. Among the most notable projects he worked on were Apple’s YouTube app for the iPad; Siri for iOS; the fourth generation of Apple TV, and animation lead for iOS 7 including the Compass and Weather apps.

Twitter has dipped its toes into VR content, striking its first deal ad-supported deal for 360-degree video clips with Samsung for the NBA Finals earlier this month.

Last fall, Kevin Weil, then Twitter’s senior VP of product before he exited the company in January, hinted at its VR amibitions. “VR will be a fantastic world,” he told Variety, adding that Twitter “can work great in a VR device.”

More Digital

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Plans to Expand to Brazil, Other Countries (EXCLUSIVE)

    Roku plans to expand to multiple new territories in the coming months, Variety has learned. One of the first new markets for the company will likely be Brazil. An international expansion could help Roku grow its customer base, which in turn should lead to growing advertising revenues. Roku executives have been hinting at plans to [...]

  • Google Stadia Pro to Include 1

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service to Include Free Monthly Game

    Google has been busy sharing additional details about its upcoming game streaming service Stadia, clearing up some confusion in the process. Stadia’s pro subscription tier, which will cost $10 per month, won’t be a Netflix-type subscription service. However, subscribers will get free games at the rate of about a title per month. That’s according to [...]

  • Crypt-TV-Facebook

    Facebook Signs Deal With Crypt TV for Slate of Five Horror Series

    Crypt TV, the digital studio founded by Eli Roth and Jack Davis and backed by Jason Blum, expanded its deal with Facebook, inking a content partnership to create a slate of five horror and monster-themed series exclusively for Facebook Watch. For Facebook Watch, it’s one of the first deals for a full slate of content [...]

  • Elaine Paul - Amazon Studios

    Elaine Paul Exits as Hulu CFO to Join Amazon Studios

    Elaine Paul has departed Hulu after nearly six years as chief financial officer to join Amazon Studios as CFO/VP of finance. She started at the ecommerce company’s studio division on July 15, reporting to Dan Jedda, VP of digital, advertising and corporate development finance for Amazon, a company rep said. Paul’s move to Amazon, first [...]

  • BritBox to Roll Out in the

    'Downton Abbey' and 'The Office' Heading to BritBox as Streamer Unveils U.K. Launch

    British broadcasters the BBC and ITV have formally agreed to launch their joint streaming service, BritBox, in the U.K. in the fourth quarter of 2019. It will be priced at £5.99 ($7.50) per month, making it the same price as the cheapest Netflix subscription in the U.K. ITV will control BritBox, holding a 90% stake. [...]

  • Vobile - ZEFR acquisition - Yangbin

    Zefr Sells Its Copyright-Flagging and YouTube Channel-Management Businesses to Vobile for $90 Million

    Vobile Group, a video protection and measurement company, announced a deal to acquire Zefr’s RightsID copyright-management and ChannelID YouTube channel-management businesses for about $90 million. According to the companies, Zefr’s RightsID and ChannelID together generated over $40 million in revenue in 2018 and were profitable. The deal stands to more than triple the revenue for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content