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Apple may be working on an AR headset for 2020

Apple may be working on an AR headset for 2020

Mixed reality (MR) is a relatively newcomer to the technology field, though is usually filed alongside the related technologies of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

And now according to Bloomberg, which cited people familiar with the situation, Apple aims to have technology ready for an augmented-reality headset in 2019 with a view to shipping it in 2020. Apple CEO Tim Cook did say last month that the technology to integrate AR on a pair of glasses doesn't exist yet and that kind of tech today wouldn't be implemented "in a quality way". The company wants to have the headset's core technologies completed by 2019. The company does not have a working headset of its own yet, so in the meantime, it has been using the Rift and HTC Vive for testing. In other words, it would be a standalone device - and wouldn't rely on a smartphone to power it, like most headsets now on the market.

Could an AR headset really transcend the iPhone as Apple's number one product?

However, during his interview with The Independent, Cook said he wasn't concerned about "being first".

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Gurman claims the device will run a new OS dubbed rOS and says Apple is designing a custom chip that will power the new wearable. He didn't outright deny the rumours though, instead explaining there are technological issues preventing AR going mainstream this decade. The team is supposedly led by Mike Rockwell, who used to be charge of engineering at Dolby Labs.

According to Bloomberg, the chip powering the headset will be similar in concept to the "system-on-a-package" component in the Apple Watch, which can fit more components like graphics processors into a smaller area than standard processors, and consume less power. Microsoft, with its expertise in gaming, the cloud, and a head start with HoloLens, seems to be in the driver's seat, but Apple is a consumer facing powerhouse, with lots and lots of money to throw at these hard problems. Apple has already launched its ARKit with iOS 11 this year, so an Apple AR headset is not much of a surprise. "Something that you would see out in the market any time soon would not be something that any of us would be satisfied with".

There are still plenty of details to work out, such as how users will launch apps or control them through the headset.

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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