Could an AR headset really transcend the iPhone as Apple's number one product? Citing sources "familiar with the situation", the report notes that this headset will feature a brand new display and run on a new chip and fresh operating system instead of the iOS mobile platform that now runs ARKit.
Sources familiar with the matter tell Bloomberg that the device will differ from traditional VR and AR headsets in that it won't be powered by a smartphone. Apple CEO Tim Cook did say last month that the technology to integrate AR on a pair of glasses doesn't exist yet and that kind of tech today wouldn't be implemented "in a quality way". Cook acknowledged as much in a recent interview with The Independent, when he said: "Anything you would see on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with". As we've seen from other AR developers, minimizing technology to work in an AR headset is still a hard proposition.
Apple was not immediately available for comment. Led by Mike Rockwell, who previously ran engineering at Dolby Labs, the group has now grown to several hundred engineers from across Apple, the people said.
Apple is said to be releasing a new version of ARKit software tools as early as next year to help developers create software that remembers where a digital object was placed in virtual space.
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Apple's known to be planning for the post-smartphone future and has repeatedly signalled it believes augmented reality to be the next big thing. The release of the device is at least two years away, but the 2020-ish launch will likely be preceded by an announcement and developer SDK in 2019.
Apple's push to create an AR headset has been expansive and aggressive, according to Bloomberg. The new operating system-called "rOS" for "reality operating system"-is based on iOS, Bloomberg reported". The headset will have its own display and use a custom system-on-a-chip, just like the Apple Watch now does. The company is also said to be working on a new device that's akin to the Oculus Gear VR headset that relies on an iPhone's screen. Apple is also considering launching an App Store specifically for the headset.
There is no comfirmation how Apple's AR device will be controlled, but the Bloomberg report suggested that the firm is investigating touch panels, voice-activation (via Siri) and head gestures.