Last month Apple CEO Tim Cook made headlines when he said there was no technology fully-equipped to create a quality augmented reality (AR) glass. And a month later, reports have surfaced that Apple is diligently working towards releasing its own AR headset by 2019 that will start shipping in 2020. The iPhone-maker has put together a team of computer scientists, engineers, designers, and gamers for it. Apple’s AR headset will have its own display, and run on a new chip and rOS (reality operating system), Bloomberg reported.
Apple engineers are exploring a number of ways in which users can get to control the headset, including head gestures, touch panels, and voice control via Siri. Apple designers, meanwhile, are using HTC Vive VR headsets to test the potential of AR. Some applications that are being prototyped include mapping, messaging, “virtual meeting rooms” and 360-degree video playback. The team working on Apple’s standalone AR project had been assembled a couple of years ago, the report adds. Led by the former head of engineering at Dolby Labs, the AR team now consists of hundreds of Apple engineers. ALSO READ: ARKit: A definitive leap towards making augmented reality mainstream
In July, Apple had filed for a patent that hinted that the Cupertino-based company was getting serious about AR, which experts say is slightly more mainstream than virtual reality (VR). Its patent application indicated that the Apple AR glass and its companion apps could let users point out at objects, building or things like that. Some reports also stated that Apple’s AR glasses would come with 3D cameras. “A particular area of experimentation is a pair of AR glasses that might move cameras, sensors, and screens from the smartphone to the face,” one report claimed. ALSO READ: Apple to launch AR hardware in ‘coming weeks’: Report
Earlier this year at WWDC, Apple rolled out the ARRKit that gave the world a glimpse of the enormous possibilities of AR. Combined with the the iPhone X or the iPhone 8, the ARR apps (specifically designed for iOS11) is pretty much ‘AR hardware’ that doesn’t require a separate device. However, several Silicon Valley tech firms from Google and Facebook to Snapchat have attempted to make AR, VR as well as mixed reality headsets. None of them has take off really. Apple, meanwhile, has gone on record to say that AR is the next big thing in technology, and it is now placing its bets accordingly.