Thursday, September 20, 2018
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What’s Cooking in Apple’s Kitchen: The Company Plans to Launch Its Own Augmented Reality Headset by 2019

Apple is quietly working on its own augmented reality headset and operating system, but will only launch the products when it is satisfied with their quality.

Apple is a company whose name equals innovation and smart branding strategies. For some time now, the company has been manifesting its interest in augmented reality technology: first, by acquiring AR startup Metaio, and second, in the summer of last year, by launching the ARKit, Apple’s proprietary AR app development platform. Soon, we may see the first Apple branded augmented reality headset.

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Details About the Fully Branded Apple Augmented Reality Headset

Just like every other product it launches, Apple pays attention to all the details and incorporates as much proprietary technology as possible in their releases. For the coming augmented reality headset, things will not be any different. Apple is working on a proprietary operating system, dubbed rOS, a new chip and Apple-designed lenses.

The details that have surfaced so far (first spotted by Patently Apple) are based on a patent application by Apple filed on February 8, 2018. The drawings and sketches obtained by Patently Apple, which are an initial version prior to the actual patent application, show how AR content will be overlaid on the real-world image:

Apple augmented reality headset
Image Source: The Verge

Unlike other augmented reality goggles, the Apple device will be completely standalone, that is, it will not need to be connected to a smartphone or computer to process the real-life image and overlay holographic information.

 

rOS–A Dedicated Operating System Built for Augmented Reality

The Apple augmented reality headset will run on its own operating system. We have already seen instances of a dedicated Apple OS built for a specific device, not only in iOS, but also in watchOS and tvOS. According to information obtained by Bloomberg, rOS will be capable of creating virtual meeting rooms and running 360-degree videos. It will even have its own AR App Store.

The OS development team is allegedly led by Geoff Stahl, who also held the position of software manager for graphics and games at Apple. The key question every stakeholder has is how Apple will solve the issue of interaction with the standalone AR headsets. Voice activation (a version of Siri), head gestures and touch screen capabilities are among the best bets, but there is no official confirmation so far.

 

An Aggressive Timeline

Although no definite part of the Apple augmented reality headset–device, chipset, software–exists even as a prototype, the Cupertino based company has set an aggressive timeline. The device is planned to be launched in 2019 and shipped to customers by 2020.

However, the official statements made by CEO Tim Cook do not indicate any hurry to come up with the product, unless the company can launch it “in a quality way.” In an interview with the British newspaper the Independent, Cook stated that “Anything you would see on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with.”

Cook has already declared his preference for augmented reality over virtual reality, because it is less isolating and has the potential to be as revolutionary as the smartphone.

We will certainly keep you informed of any future developments and, of course, cover all the details of the launch event for Apple’s augmented reality headset.

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