Apple Could Ship an Augmented Reality Headset in 2020


Now, a new report from Bloomberg suggests that Apple is developing an AR headset, and it could launch as soon as 2020.

Apple plans to build a standalone AR headset that will be powered by what the company internally calls rOS, or reality OS, according to Bloomberg. This in-house chip is similar to the concept of "system-on-a-package" that can be seen in the Apple Watch.

We have ARKit on our iPhones and iPads now, and Apple may extend to an augmented reality headset within a couple years. In a recent earnings report, CEO Tim Cook said that the AR technology will "change the way we use technology forever".

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It is well known that Cook and Apple feel that AR has much more potential than virtual reality (VR), given how the technology allows for interaction with the physical world rather than immersing people in virtual ones.

If successful, the new product could prove the natural successor to the iPhone, Apple's most successful and lucrative device. Previous rumors have revealed that Apple has hundreds of engineers working on AR applications and has developed multiple prototypes for AR glasses, and some bolder bloggers have even speculated that a partnership with Zeiss would lead to a viable product coming out this year. Apple will use the interim time to get consumers familiar with augmented reality using ARKit on the iPhone. Making augmented reality more accessible is the first step, and that's what Apple is doing right now. Scattered across office parks in both Cupertino and Sunnyvale, California, the team is working on several hardware and software projects under the umbrella code name of "T288". Several key features are still up in the air, including how users would use the headset and whether Siri voice activation should be part of the user experience.

Avid tech geeks will notice Apple's plans sound a lot like what Google's fledgling Daydream VR platform, which consists of the Daydream View VR headset with controller, and a special version of the Google Play Store just for discovering and installing VR apps. Assuming Apple designs something that's cool and comfortable to wear, plus easy to use-which is an area where the company has a history. In addition, Apple is also prototyping applications, which include AR versions of existing Apple apps like Maps and Messages and new apps like a virtual meeting room and 360-degree video playback.