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Apple is reportedly making an AR headset to compete with HoloLens

10 November 2017

Apple's rumored AR headset might be ready by 2019 and could be released to consumers as soon as 2020.

"The development timeline is very aggressive and could still change", Bloomberg writer Mark Gurman noted, citing anonymous sources familiar with the project.

While virtual reality immerses the user in a digital world, augmented reality overlays images and data on the real one.

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

Apple's hope is to squeeze its graphics processors, AI chip and CPU into a smaller, one-size-fits-all package, akin to what it has done for the Apple Watch, the Bloomberg article stated.

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Since the release of Apple's iOS 11 mobile operating system on September 19, over 1,000 AR apps have been approved for the iPhone and iPad. The headset will "have its own display and run on a new chip and operating system" called "rOS", or "reality operating system", the report notes. Instead, the standalone visor will have its own display and run on a new chip and operating system.

There is no comfirmation how Apple's AR device will be controlled, but the Bloomberg report suggested that the firm is investigating touch panels, voice-activation (via Siri) and head gestures.

It is well known that Cook and Apple feel that AR has much more potential than virtual reality (VR), given how the technology allows for interaction with the physical world rather than immersing people in virtual ones. 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.

Augmented reality in a pair of glasses would be extremely hard.

During the company's most recent earnings call, he said that the company believes "AR is going to change the way we use technology forever". 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. A mass-usable prototype does not seem to have arrived yet, though; the report says that Apple is using HTC Vive headsets and an in-house design that uses an iPhone screen to test some aspects of the technology. And the Facebook-owned Oculus recently launched an Oculus for Business bundle and a less expensive Oculus Go headset for enterprise use. The company will continue to develop the system over the next few years, including the release of more advanced software tools in 2018.

Apple is reportedly making an AR headset to compete with HoloLens