Apple Readying Augmented-Reality Glasses For 2020 Launch

Apple Is Said to Ramp Up Work on Augmented Reality Headset

Of particular note here is the distinction between virtual and augmented reality.

APPLE'S LONG RUMOURED augmented reality (AR) headset could see an official launch in 2019. Instead, the standalone visor will have its own display and run on a new chip and operating system.

In September, at the launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller touted it as the "first smartphone designed for AR".

In the gap between now and release, Apple apparently intends to release a new version of ARKit with better software tools that make AR development much easier next year.

The Apple AR headset is said to have its own display and run a new chip with a new operating system, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

Cook also said in a recent earnings report that augmented reality, which overlays digital images onto the real world, will "change the way we use technology forever".

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"There are rumors and gossip about companies working on that, and we obviously don't talk about what we work on".

On Tuesday, a report noted Catcher Technology would soon begin making parts for an augmented reality product.

The operating system is known internally at Cupertino as "rOS" (for reality operating system). Microsoft has been squarely focused on business applications for its $3000 HoloLens headset, while at the same time using some of its technology to develop cheaper virtual reality devices. The headset will have its own display and use a custom system-on-a-chip, just like the Apple Watch now does. Microsoft is pushing mixed reality (capable of both AR and VR experiences) pretty hard with the Fall Creators Update for Windows 10, with several hardware partners introducing lower cost mixed reality headsets for use with the OS.

Apple boss Tim Cook has previously said that he favours AR over VR, mainly because it is "less isolating".

Apple has not yet finalised how users will interact with the headset, Bloomberg reports, though it seems to be exploring three main ways of interactions: Touch, voice (via Siri), and head gestures.

If everything goes according to plan, Apple's first independent AR headset could produce "virtual meeting rooms and 360-degree video playback" in 2020, as well as support a range of mapping and texting apps accumulated in a dedicated version of the App Store.

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