Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

Apple developing AR headset, could launch it in 2020, report says

Apple to Ramp Up Work on Augmented Reality Headset Apple working on AR headset, may be ready by 2020 - report
Kayla Schwartz | 10 November, 2017, 03:05

As per reports from Bloomberg, Apple might have the technology ready for the headset by 2019 and could ship a product as early as 2020. The device would be independent from Apple's iPhone or other mobile devices, with its own built-in display, OS (dubbed "rOS" internally), and a new custom processor, per the report. Apple engineers are also said to be now prototyping a range of applications for use in AR, reportedly using HTC Vive headsets for testing them.

CEO Tim Cook has already spoken enthusiastically about AR in the press, the report noted.

Sources familiar with the plan told Bloomberg that the AR system, unlike current headsets, would not need an accompanying smartphone to function.

As with previous products, Apple isn't waiting around for someone else to create a chip capable of powering its AR headset.

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"Put simply, we believe AR is going to change the way we use technology forever", Cook said in the company's third-quarter earnings call last week. Formerly software manager for Appple, Geoff Stahl, is one of the directors of the rOS department. The small surface area also saves battery life, which will be crucial to run intensive graphics from the headset.

Apps they are now exploring include maps, messaging, virtual meeting rooms, 360-degree video playback, etc.

Based on reports from Bloomberg, the company has not yet finalized how users would control the headset or launch apps, but it is investigating Siri voice activation, touchscreens, and head gestures as it creates prototypes. Apple also invested $200 million in Corning in May as part of a $1 billion commitment to strengthen USA manufacturing. They're also working on a device similar to an Oculus Gear VR headset that uses an iPhone's screen, cameras and chipsets.

With a new display format on the way, developers can expect a heavily revised version of ARKit within the year.

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