Apple Readying Standalone AR Headset for 2020 Release?


Apple is working towards releasing its own standalone augmented reality headset in 2020, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The report states that the new device, affectionately called “rOS” for the time being, would work independently of any computer or mobile device, with its own display and on-board custom processor.

Bloomberg also reports that Apple has employed several AR experts in recent months, with the team spearheaded by Mike Rockwell, former engineering executive at Dolby Labs.

rOS is still in the tentative early stages, but according to Bloomberg, Apple is using an HTC Vive for internal testing purposes, as well as a separate device that is similar to the Samsung Gear VR but uses an iPhone screen. Apple is also investigating a range of interaction methods including head movement gestures, Siri voice activation and touch input. (and, of course, Apple bought SMI for gaze Apple Buys SMI to Acquire Gaze Technology – Man. Ed.)

The team are also reportedly working on apps including messaging, 360° video and navigation, according to the report. It also claims that a new version of ARKit is planned for release in 2018, which may also tie into the development of this device.

Analyst Comment

So, nothing is confirmed, but what we do know is that Apple CEO Tim Cook is a huge fan of augmented reality (Tim Cook: “AR Will Change the Way We Use Technology Forever”) so it wouldn’t exactly be earth-shatteringly surprising if this report turned out to be accurate.