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Apple said to be working on augmented reality headset

09 November, 2017, 01:57 | Author: Janis Wilson
  • Apple is apparently building glasses that overlay the digital world on top of the real world

And according to a Bloomberg report, Apple will have its AR ducks in a row in terms of production by 2019, and could ship a product by 2020.

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. 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.

Cook has been shouting out the potential of AR for a long time, but as recently as October, he told reporters that "the technology itself doesn't exist" yet for anyone to produce a quality augmented reality device. Apple's use of full-faced devices such as the HTC Vive suggests that instead of trying to tackle the hard and expensive problem of lightfield technology Apple may simply be going for a simpler passthrough system where the only challenge would be to improve latency to an acceptable level.

Apple was not immediately available for comment.

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Bloomberg's report claims that Apple is now using HTC's Vive virtual reality headsets to test out all of its AR-related experiments. Led by Mike Rockwell, who previously ran engineering at Dolby Labs, the group has now grown to several hundred engineers from across Apple, the people said. Apple has infused its latest smartphones with augmented-reality capabilities and released software development tools called the AR Kit to spur development of apps. Scattered across office parks in both Cupertino and Sunnyvale, California, the team is working on several hardware and software projects under the umbrella code name of "T288". Apple officially unveiled ARKit at its developer conference earlier this year, and has since integrated into iOS 11, the most recent version of its mobile operating system. It's designing one in-house that's similar in concept to the "system-on-a-package" component in the Apple Watch.

Among the challenges for Apple is creating a headset with a power-efficient display capable of rendering 3D video, Gurman notes. It's being built by the same team building on ARKit, which Bloomberg confirms was a first step to testing and building an AR ecosystem before the hardware was ready.

Apple engineers are reportedly experimenting with ways to interact with the headset, either by voice, touch, or head gestures.

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