Sunday, 19 November, 2017

Apple augmented reality headset is finally getting serious

Apple is apparently building glasses that overlay the digital world on top of the real world Apple working on an AR headset powered by rOS for release in 2020, claims report
Cecilia Poole | 09 November, 2017, 00:53

While it may be another newly designed iPhone, one report hints at something truly different and possibly revolutionary: an augmented reality headset.

READ NEXT:DAQRI launches its professional AR smart glasses With the public launch still so distant, the design and functionality of the device are a long way off being confirmed. The company just may change that with its rumored augmented reality headset, which apparently now has a codename and its own operating system.

Cook said in an interview last month that quality AR headsets or glasses are not there yet technologically.

In the meantime, Apple plans to release a new version of the ARKit software tools as early as 2018, Bloomberg reported, which could help developers create software that remembers accurately where a digital object is placed in a virtual space, and make it easier to create AR games for multiple players. Apple is using HTC Vive headset to experiment with AR experiences, and next year it should have a headset that plugs into an iPhone like Gear VR and Samsung's devices.

Apple's push to create an AR headset has been expansive and aggressive, according to Bloomberg. "We're already seeing things that will transform the way you work, play, connect and learn", Cook said in the most recent Apple earnings call, according to Bloomberg. Instead, the company is working on designing a chip in-house. Apple will use the interim time to get consumers familiar with augmented reality using ARKit on the iPhone. 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 isn't interested in the current crop of AR devices that use a phone as both the screen and the processor.

Apple is said to be developing its own "system-on-a-package" chip for this AR headset, much like the one we see in the Apple Watch. The headset would feature its own display rather than relying an iPhone, and it would run a new spin-off from iOS in the vein of watchOS or tvOS, now called rOS internally, for "reality operating system". It wouldn't say which company it would make AR components for, but given its key relationship with Apple it's hard not to assume it's anyone but the Cupertino company.

Apple has not yet finalised how users will interact with the headset, Bloomberg reports, though it seems to be exploring three main ways of interactions: Touch, voice (via Siri), and head gestures.

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