Apple wants to have a standalone augmented reality headset ready for use by 2019, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The company’s interest in the technology is well-established, with CEO Tim Cook stating in a recent earnings report that Apple believes “AR is going to change the way we use technology forever.” The company took a first major step into augmented reality this year with the launch of ARKit in iOS 11.
According to Bloomberg, the planned AR headset would have its own display, a new chip, and a specially-designed operating system, currently referred to internally as “rOS” or “reality operating system.” Apple’s engineers are reportedly exploring a number of ways users might control the headset, including head gestures, touch panels, and voice control via Siri. Citing sources familiar with the matter, the report maintains Apple has definite plans to produce a dedicated AR headset, and could ship a product as early as 2020.
VR and AR headsets are beginning to proliferate in the market, but they mostly require another device. Desktop VR headsets are basically a monitor powered by a PC over HDMI. The current crop of Android-based products are based on smartphones–you have to dock your phone inside the headset to power the device. Apple plans to give its device all the hardware it needs to operate without a phone.
Apple boss Tim Cook is said to personally think that AR offers a less isolating experiencer than VR, which closes a user off from their immediate surroundings. Instead, AR brings overlaid computer elements into the physical world. In a recent earnings call Cook even went as far as to say that the company believes “AR is going to change the way we use technology forever”.
However, Cook has also confessed elsewhere that the current available technology isn’t quite where he needs it to be, saying it’s not currently possible to release a system that the company would be happy with. The feeling is that Apple is waiting for the technology to catch up with its ideas.
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