Apple has a secret research team — Gurman

Largan and Genius Periscope Lens conceptMark Gurman, in this weeks’s Power On newsletter, discusses how Apple is well-known for keeping its upcoming products under wraps, but the company’s Exploratory Design Group (XDG) is even more secretive. As revealed last week, this covert unit is the mastermind behind future non-invasive glucose tracking technology for the Apple Watch. The team is akin to Alphabet Inc.’s “moonshot factory” which was behind Waymo self-driving car technology, Google Glass, and Loon internet balloons.

The XDG team, originally led by the late Bill Athas, is primarily focused on the glucose work, but also developing next-generation display technology, AI, and features for AR/VR headsets. The group is considered a startup within Apple and consists of only a few hundred people, mostly engineers and scientists. They are granted vast financial resources and have already had some successes with their developments being featured in Apple products. Though the team is highly classified, and people working on different projects cannot communicate with each other about their work. They are, however, grouped by skill sets, allowing the same engineer to work on multiple initiatives that fit their specialties.

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