Andrew Vyrros, who led development on iMessage and FaceTime while at Apple, has left the company for messaging startup Layer. The company announced the news yesterday, but Vyrros left Apple several months ago, sources tell The Verge, where he was also responsible for Apple's push notification services, iTunes Genius, Game Center, and Back To My Mac. Prior to Apple, Vyrros held leadership roles at Yahoo and Xerox PARC, and was a developer at Steve Jobs' NeXT computer company.
Not much has been written on Vyrros, who has remained mostly under the radar during his time at Apple, but his contributions were immeasurable, sources say. Vyrros becomes CTO at Layer, a startup we profiled back in December that hopes to let any developer add chat features to their app with only ten lines of code. Layer also provides push notification services, cloud sync, offline storage, and most other services a message app would need. These kinds of services could take several months to build from scratch. Layer hopes to offer up these services for a small fee.
"Layer offers something beyond all that. Because we're not just focusing on a single application."
Vyrros is only the latest of several tech all stars to join Layer. Jeremie Miller, the man credited with creating the XMPP (Jabber) chat language joined the company last fall, as did George Patterson, former director of operations at OpenDNS — a global infrastructure that handles 50 billion queries per day. Layer was also co-founded by Ron Palmeri, one of the guys behind Grand Central, which was acquired by Google and became Google Voice. Few people have as much experience scaling infrastructures as the people Layer has collected. Vyrros, for one, saw iMessage grow from nothing to handling billions of messages per day.
"Building that crap is hard. If you want security, scalability, low latency, bandwidth and power efficiency (and you do), it becomes brutally difficult. But also interesting and challenging and pretty darn fun. This is where Layer comes in," Vyrros wrote in a blog post yesterday. "Layer offers something beyond all that. Because we're not just focusing on a single application. We're laying out a whole dang platform, something that can grow a multitude of novel apps."
Layer hasn't yet launched to the public, but has amassed a wait list developers hoping to add messaging features to their app.
Correction: An earlier version of this article credited Andrew Vyrros as the "inventor" of iMessage. Vyrros led the iMessage team, according to Layer, but was one of a small few credited with the actual invention of the product.