Apple AR Headset With Custom OS To Come By 2020

Apple Is Said to Ramp Up Work on Augmented Reality Headset

In the meantime, we can expect Apple to further flesh out ARKit as it prepares to make a larger push into the AR/VR industry with a headset of its own. It will have its own embedded display, run on a custom system-on-chip (SoC) that is being developed in-house, and have its own OS. Having ARKit was the company's way of testing out augmented reality on its existing products, while the AR glasses would be Apple's next big step. Apple has infused its latest smartphones with augmented-reality capabilities and released software development tools called the AR Kit to spur development of apps.

Apple's team has used HTC Vive headsets as it works to develop a prototype for its own headset.

"There are rumors and gossip about companies working on that, and we obviously don't talk about what we work on". But unlike these headsets, which remain tethered to a smartphone or a computer, Apple's rumored AR headset would run independently, thanks to a new chip and operating system, according to Bloomberg, which broke the news Wednesday.

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Apple engineers are said to be now prototyping a range of applications for use in AR, reportedly using HTC Vive headsets for testing them. With augmented reality, you aren't shut off from the world around you, but virtual elements can be overlaid on the real world. Cook acknowledged as much in a recent interview with The Independent, when he said: "Anything you would see on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with".

Microsoft, of course, is already well ensconced in the AR/VR world, having launched a v1 HoloLens a year ago as a $3,000 Developers Edition, and has talked about a HoloLens version 2, with built-in AI processing, but that device apparently won't ship until 2019. Cook believes that augmented reality will be able to change the current use of technology.

The operating system is known internally at Cupertino as "rOS" (for reality operating system).

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Apple's product would have its own display, processor and operating system via a "system-on-a-package" component similar to the one in the Apple Watch.

To be competitive in the space, Apple will likely focus on marketing, Nguyen said, and positioning their product in a way that users both understand it and want to use it. Currently, Apple is looking at touch panels, Siri control, and head gestures.

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