Apple To Launch Own AR Headset

Apple To Launch Own AR Headset

Having ARKit was the company's way of testing out augmented reality on its existing products, while the AR glasses would be Apple's next big step.

So saysBloomberg, which claims that the firm is in the process of "ramping up" its plans to launch an AR device which would take on rival products from the likes of Microsoft, Facebook's Oculus and HTC.

Apple's rumored AR headset might be ready by 2019 and could be released to consumers as soon as 2020. The development timeline is now described as "aggressive" with plans to ship the product in 2020, while having it ready for 2019. It seems feasible that AR technology could get there in two to three years, with Apple aggressively pushing development and innovation. Apple isn't the only company working on the technology. It's designing one in-house that's similar in concept to the "system-on-a-package" component in the Apple Watch. This is part of a larger AR initiative which was kicked off by the development and the release of Apple's ARKit. The headset they're working on will run its own operating system, named rOS for "reality operating system", and will include its own built-in display instead of relying on the user's smartphone.

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.

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

AR "gives the capability for both of us to sit and be very present, talking to each other, but also have other things, visually, for both of us to see - maybe it's something we're talking about, maybe it's someone else ... that is not here ... but could be made to appear to be present with us", he continued.

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Apple's ARKit is already one of the best augmented reality engines around.

Apple publicly demoed a number of unusual and exciting augmented reality apps created with its new ARKit developer framework over the last few months. As we've seen from other AR developers, minimizing technology to work in an AR headset is still a hard proposition.

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.

During the company's most recent earnings call, he said that the company believes "AR is going to change the way we use technology forever".

Microsoft's primarily pushing HoloLens as a tool in the workplace, however (it costs $3000, or £2719 in the UK), while Apple's consumer-focused mindset will likely mean that its device would be pushed to the mainstream market at a more affordable price.

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