Rumor | Apple working on its own AR headset, believes it to be a game changer
If the grapevine is to be believed, Apple could well be on its way to debut its Augmented Reality (AR) headset sometime between late-2019 to early-2020. Deviating from the current norm, the Apple AR headset would feature its own screen, CPU, and OS. Most likely, it will be independent of the iPhone/iPad but will somehow tie in the Apple ecosystem via compatible apps.
Bloomberg reports that Apple has a strong AR team spread across its Cupertino and Sunnyvale offices, all working under the code name 'T288'. The team's first product was ARKit that works on existing iPhones and iPads running iOS 11. The natural evolution of this is to create dedicated hardware for AR leveraging the best of Apple's SoC and display prowess. Apple has been leading the SoC race by a mile and could very well be building custom silicon that can power the headset through most tasks. The headset could also run on what is currently called 'rOS', short for 'reality OS' based on iOS, which in all likelihood will come with its own App Store. Apple engineers are also prototyping various methods of interacting with the headset viz. touch, Siri, and head gestures.
AR is an important technology and Apple would be foolhardy to not take a slice of the pie (and possibly, lead the pack). Apple CEO, Tim Cook, considers AR to be a potential game changer that will transform the way people work, connect, and play in the future. In July this year, Patently Apple reported of a patent application that shows a method for representing points of interest overlaid on a display with interactive functionality. The application was originally filed by AR solutions company, Metaio, which was later acquired by Apple. Apple also recently acquired AR startup company, Vrvana, cementing the fact that Apple is quite bullish about making a mark for itself in the VR/AR space.
Current prototyping of the headset is reportedly being done on an HTC Vive and there are also plans for a device similar to Oculus Gear VR that will use the iPhone's hardware for internally testing AR apps.