Apple is said to ramp up work on augmented reality headset

Alicia Guzman
November 10, 2017

It's hard to imagine what this augmented reality headset will look like.

The company has not figured out how users will run the program and adjust the headset. Well, Bloomberg is out with a fresh report this morning that corroborates that potential timeline, saying that the Mac maker is indeed targeting 2020 to ship the forthcoming AR product, while the underlying technology should be ready around 2019.

AR glasses or a headset seems to be the most logical step moving forward with Apple's newfound focus on augmented reality.

"There are rumors and gossip about companies working on that, and we obviously don't talk about what we work on".

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The benefits of that strategy may also manifest in the AR headset, with the new chip being similar to the "system-on-a-package" chip that now powers Apple Watch.

Just like the Apple Watch, the augmented reality headset will have its own microprocessor and its own version of an operating system called rOS, which we presume will be based off of iOS just like watchOS and tvOS.

While the company has not yet finalized how users will control the headset and start apps, it is researching options such as touch panels, Siri voice activation, and head gestures, according to Bloomberg. There are considerable technical challenges with getting the display quality right, with Cook specifically referencing field of view as an area that's "not there yet".

Could an AR headset really transcend the iPhone as Apple's number one product?

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Other companies working on augmented-reality glasses include Alphabet (GOOGL)-owned Google, Microsoft (MSFT), Vuzix (VUZI), Osterhout Design Group, Meta and Magic Leap. And even though the headset is still more than two years from release, Bloomberg's sources said Apple's launch schedule is ambitious.

ARKit allows developers to build their own AR apps for Apple's iPhones and iPads, making use of the devices' front-facing cameras to map rooms and track objects.

"Apple have been on a trajectory for augmented reality for some time, with CEO Tim Cook publicly declaring interest and the release of the ARKit as a core component of IOS this year", he said. He didn't outright deny the rumours though, instead explaining there are technological issues preventing AR going mainstream this decade.

In a recent earnings call, he said: "We're already seeing things that will transform the way you work, play, connect and learn".

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