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Twitter pushing into AR and VR via new hire with Apple background

Could Twitter be working on new apps for virtual and augmented reality?

Nate Ralph

Twitter dancing in front of your eyes. Makes sense, doesn't it?

After embedding 360-degree NBA videos earlier this month, Twitter might soon be going a lot deeper with its future explorations in virtual and augmented reality. Alessandro Sabatelli, a former Apple designer, was recently hired by Twitter. His job title is Director of AR and VR.

A Twitter spokesperson on Tuesday confirmed the hire, which was first reported by UploadVR, and said Sabatelli is heading up a newly-formed Augmented Reality team within Twitter Cortex.

Indeed, Sabatelli's LinkedIn profile currently lists this title, along with a profile pic that shows him wearing an Oculus Rift headset. His job description says, "empowering us all in the spatial computing revolution."

The news matches up with where the entire tech industry is headed. Snapchat is exploring AR, Facebook has Oculus, and Google has Cardboard, Daydream and a host of other services (including a VR-ready YouTube).

Sabatelli's role at Apple, according to his LinkedIn profile, was as a user-interface designer for iOS, OS X and WatchOS. He also worked at Ixomoxi, a company that, according to LinkedIn, is an AR/VR company targeting millennials at music festivals.

VR is attempting to get more social fast, and social media is pushing to make inroads into these territories. Twitter is already exploring stickers, so why not AR and VR?

Sabatelli didn't respond to a request for comment.

Update, 3:08 p.m. ET: Adds Twitter's confirmation of the hire.