Apple tipped to launch standalone AR headset in 2019

Apple tipped to launch standalone AR headset in 2019

KitGuru Says: Given all of Tim Cook's gushing about Augmented Reality over the past year, this news isn't too surprising.

Bloomberg, which claims to have spoken with "people familiar with the situation", suggests the headset will have its own display, as opposed to using an iPhone as its screen.

Bloomberg reports that the headset will have its own display, and that it will be powered by a dedicated chip and operating system.

Speculation around Apple's intentions only increased when CEO Tim Cook earlier this year, predicted that AR technology could have as much impact as the smartphone. If all goes well, we could see an AR headset as soon as 2020. 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.

Speaking of hardware, Apple's metal framing and case supplier for the iPhone, Catcher Technology, says it will start making lightweight casing for augmented reality devices, reports Nikkei.

The company's AR efforts are being led by Mike Rockwell, a former Dolby Labs engineering leader.

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Because Apple doesn't yet have an augmented reality headset to call its own, the AR team in Cupertino is using HTC Vive headsets for testing purposes.

Apple has always been rumored to be secretly working on a standalone augmented reality device.

The chip, according to the publication, will be similar in concept to the SoC found in the Apple Watch. It is reported the AR team is working on several hardware and software projects under the umbrella code name of "T288".

Now that the team has successfully shipped ARKit for iOS devices, the next step is to build "a headset with a built-in display capable of streaming 3D video without draining the battery".

Apple hasn't finalised how users will control or interact with the headset just yet, but the company is said to be experimenting with Siri voice commands, head gestures and touch panels. "My own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far, because this 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". The team is now working on an AR device that will use the iPhone's screen, camera and processors, but notes that it will not be available for consumers.

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