Employees of Apple are developing an augmented reality headset. According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple's working towards a dedicated AR headset that could one day succeed the iPhone and will be launched at the start of the next decade.
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Apple was not immediately available for comment.
Apple's known to be planning for the post-smartphone future and has repeatedly signalled it believes augmented reality to be the next big thing. Oculus and HTC are building virtual reality headsets, and Microsoft 's new "Mixed Reality" headsets also take advantage of VR. As pointed out in the report Apple is not waiting for chip makers to make a custom AR chip. The current crop of Android-based products are based on smartphones-you have to dock your phone inside the headset to power the device. "There's virtual reality and there's augmented reality-both of these are incredibly interesting".
There are several real-world applications of AR, however, Apple has close competition from Google wherein the latter is working on a business-oriented variant of the Google Glass as pointed out in the report. The chip could be similar to the integrated system used on the Apple Watch. The headset would feature its own display rather than relying an iPhone, and it would run a new spin-off from iOS in the vein of watchOS or tvOS, now called rOS internally, for "reality operating system".
According to Bloomberg, the iPhone maker is now experimenting with ways in which the headset can be operated, like using Siri, head gestures or a touch panel. Aetna workers are co-located at Apple's offices in Cupertino, he said, as the company looks to have a variety of apps ready in time for the January 1 start of the Apple Watch pilot program. Possible applications include messaging, virtual meetings and 360-degree video. For now, Apple hasn't finalized how users will control the handset and launch apps.
Apple will also likely play up the user experience-"bringing together technology in such a way that's interesting, useful and easy to use", Nguyen said. This is apparently an interim step, in order to give Apple an opportunity to test the technology on an existing product. Instead, he wants Apple "to be the best".