Apple is working on a standalone AR headset, says report

Rear of iPhone X

Apple is looking into the augmented reality (AR) headset scene, according to Bloomberg. The multi-billion dollar company aims to produce its first AR headset technology in 2019 and may start shipping the headset as early as 2020.

However, the time frame for the development is aggressive and may possibly change, according to Bloomberg‘s source.

Unlike Lenovo Star Wars: Jedi Challenges AR headset or Samsung’s Gear VR, Apple AR headset will reportedly be a standalone device and does not require the assistance of a smartphone. The source also stated it will also have its own chip and operating system.

Currently, Apple refers to the aforementioned chip internally as ‘rOS’ or ‘reality operating system.’ Similarly to how macOS runs on Macs and watchOS runs on Apple Watches, the reported rOS will power Apple’s AR headset.

The sources didn’t indicate how to control the headset or launch apps, however the company is reportedly looking into touch panels, voice-activation with Apple’s voice assistant Siri and head gestures.

The sources did note, however, that the engineers are working on a wide range of applications for the headset such as mapping and texting, and advance features such as virtual meeting rooms and 360-degree video playback.  The launch of ARKit also provides potential uses, with developer creating apps for AR gaming and home redesign.

Additionally, the company is looking to make its own version of the App Store where headset users can download apps.

The report makes sense considering Apple’s high level of interest in the technology. CEO Tim Cook stated in Apple’s earnings report that, “put simply, we believe AR is going to change the way we use technology forever.”

Since Apple doesn’t have a headset of its own, the company has reportedly started using the HTC Vive for testing.

Meanwhile, the company is reportedly looking to build a headset that requires the iPhone’s screen, cameras and chipsets for a device that works similarly to the Gear VR, however that headset is not for sale and only for internal use.

“Tim Cook considers AR less isolating than VR and as potentially revolutionary as the smartphone,” according to Bloomberg.

Source: Bloomberg