Apple Reportedly Developing Standalone AR Headset For 2019 Release

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According to the report, North America remains the dominant force in the growth of MR technology, due to companies such as Canon, Infinity Augmented Reality, Magic Leap, Ubisoft and Microsoft's work on the HoloLens.

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. If all goes well, we could see an AR headset as soon as 2020.

Virtual reality is proving to be more than a passing fad. "We're already seeing things that will transform the way you work, play, connect and learn", he said in the most recent call. Microsoft is pushing mixed reality (capable of both AR and VR experiences) pretty hard with the Fall Creators Update for Windows 10, with several hardware partners introducing lower cost mixed reality headsets for use with the OS.

The device, dubbed T288 internally, will have its own screen instead of relying on an iPhone to provide one. It will then be left with around a year to fine-tune, test and tweak the headset before a public unveiling in 2020. 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.

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Apple has been working on augmented reality for a few years. Currently, Apple is looking at touch panels, Siri control, and head gestures.

This integrated design would be classic Apple, and could be a potential threat to Qualcomm's efforts to make its Snapdragon processors, typically used in most Android devices, a viable chipset for standalone mobile headsets. Apple is said to be discussing the possibility of launching a new type of App Store for the headset where users can download compatible AR apps. In addition, Apple is also prototyping applications, which include AR versions of existing Apple apps like Maps and Messages and new apps like a virtual meeting room and 360-degree video playback. As pointed out in the report Apple is not waiting for chip makers to make a custom AR chip. Apple kicked off its support for it with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X earlier this year, bringing AR apps to iOS and experimenting with new camera features.

In his interview with Nikkei, Catcher CEO Allen Horng said that his company is now working on an AR device, but stopped short of specifically naming Apple.