Apple planning AR headset for 2020

Apple augmented reality Apple AR headsets Apple iPhones ARKit virtual reality headsets Tim Cook iPads virtual 3D interfaces 3D video streaming system-on-a-packet component Apple Watch AI chip graphics processors iOS watchOS tvOS rOS Siri

Apple augmented reality Apple AR headsets Apple iPhones ARKit virtual reality headsets Tim Cook iPads virtual 3D interfaces 3D video streaming system-on-a-packet component Apple Watch AI chip graphics processors iOS watchOS tvOS rOS Siri

Apple publicly demoed a number of odd and exciting augmented reality apps created with its new ARKit developer framework over the last few months. Now, the company is looking to the future, with plans to ready an augmented reality headset by 2019.

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Just as tvOS powers the Apple TV, macOS runs on Macs and watchOS runs on Apple Watches, "rOS" will power Apple's AR headset. Such a system would benefit from being able to implement Apple's ARKit API directly without any significant modifications at all, which should mean a ready pool of software available right of the bat. If all goes well, we could see an AR headset as soon as 2020. Being an independent product, it will also have its own display, unlike most of the virtual reality headsets on the market. The current crop of Android-based products are based on smartphones-you have to dock your phone inside the headset to power the device.

Cook believes augmented reality is a more important technology than virtual reality.

But while viewing AR objects through a phone screen now works, what everyone really wants is a headset that puts digital information right in front of your eyes.

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"We're already seeing things that will transform the way you work, play, connect and learn", Cook said on a November 3 conference call with analysts. But unlike these headsets, which remain tethered to a smartphone or a computer, Apple's rumored AR headset would run independently, thanks to a new chip and operating system, according to Bloomberg, which broke the news Wednesday. The headset will have its own display and use a custom system-on-a-chip, just like the Apple Watch now does. They are also developing a range of apps, from messaging to mapping to 360-degree video playback.

While the company has not yet finalized how users will control the headset and start apps, it is researching options such as touch panels, Siri voice activation, and head gestures, according to Bloomberg.

Apple boss Tim Cook has previously said that he favours AR over VR, mainly because it is "less isolating". The tools will also make it easier to create AR games for multiple players. Instead, he wants Apple "to be the best".

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