According to a Bloomberg report, Apple may be prepping a standalone VR device for use as soon as 2019. Those in the technology industry have already seen Apple’s interest in VR and AR, and the company’s CEO Tim Cook said recently that it is Apple’s belief that AR technology will be a fulcrum for change in technology usage.
It was only this year that they launched a major AR project, the ARkit, which was part of iOS 11.
The Bloomberg report provided further details on the AR headset and what is planned for it. It should have its own display, an operating system that’s different from anything that has come before it and a new chip. The operating system is being called the reality operating system, or rOS, for short.
It is said that Apple’s team of engineers are looking for a variety of ways for users to operate the headset. This could include making it work with voice commons through Siri or using head gestures or touch input.
Prototype headsets are still being developed and there are not a lot of concrete details yet. We know there is a chance that what we think we know about these new AR headsets could be different from the final product. A lot of iteration is possible down the line and even for the first release of the product.
Supposedly, HTC Vive VR headsets are being used to determine the potential applications of the AR and how it may be able to be used. There are a variety of applications being considered here. Virtual conferences, messaging, mapping capabilities and much more are all on the table.
How many of these will be implemented remains to be seen, and there is limitless potential once developers start making apps to work with the product.
The report states that Apple is planning to have its new AR product ready to go by 2019, and it could be shipped out as early as 2020. We saw some patents leak out from Apple regarding AR glasses and similar products. Apple showed some of its plans for how the glasses might work in those patents.
While virtual reality and augmented reality have been backed by tons of hype, we have seen limited public appeal for these kinds of products. AR devices have the potential to do so much more and to reach a far wider audience. These take what the user is seeing and overlay them with digital readouts.
There are practical applications that go far beyond the mostly entertainment uses of VRand its growing place at events to bring a digital wow factor to the exhibition. Google Glass and Microsoft HoloLens are already being used by car manufacturers and factories to improve production and design.
Cook’s statements on the matter show that Apple really believes in AR for the future of the company. They could be launching products with much wider appeal than their current VR line-up. AR doesn’t isolate the user as much as VR does, and there is a chance that this kind of technology could be as ground-breaking for the masses as the introduction of the smartphone.