Apple preparing to release AR headset in 2020

This is in line with what CEO Tim Cook said last month while addressing rumors of the AR glasses. The headset would feature its own display rather than relying an iPhone, and it would run a new spin-off from iOS in the vein of watchOS or tvOS, now called rOS internally, for "reality operating system". It's not clear whether the device's design is ultimately expected to resemble a headset similar to Microsoft's HoloLens or something closer to a pair of glasses. The advantage of such a chip is that it's able to integrate more components than more common system-on-a-chip configurations, while at the same time using less power.

Tthe operating system has been dubbed "rOS", which means "reality operating system". Apple's "rOS" will power the AR headset very much like how watchOS and tvOS powers the Apple Watch and the Apple TV. Stahl used to be one of Apple's software managers for games and graphics. We could still see some sort of affordable Apple Gear AR device someday, especially if the company falls behind on its plans for the AR holy grail. To that end, Apple is reportedly still deciding how users will navigate the headset's UI and launch apps, "but is investigating touch panels, voice-activation via Siri and head gestures". Engineers are also prototyping a number of apps, including mapping, texting, virtual meeting rooms, and 360-degree video.

Apple will also likely play up the user experience-"bringing together technology in such a way that's interesting, useful and easy to use", Nguyen said.

Employees of Apple are developing an augmented reality headset. If the plans go ahead, the result could become Apple's most significant new device in years.

AR headsets already exist, but they mainly rely on smartphones for their processors and screens. ARKit can run on compatible iPhones and iPads and uses of the devices' displays and built-in cameras. There are considerable technical challenges with getting the display quality right, with Cook specifically referencing field of view as an area that's "not there yet".

It seems that Apple began assembling a team to work on AR-related projects a couple of years ago, Bloomberg reported in March. And now it looks like the company might be looking to officially release its headset in 2020. The company wants to have technology for a headset ready by 2019, and sell it as early as 2020, according to the report.

  • Joe Gonzales