Apple has an AR headset in the pipeline

Pablo Tucker
November 10, 2017

Corning, a key Apple supplier ever since the introduction of the original iPhone 10 years ago, has been working on dedicated glass wafers for augmented reality (AR) glasses and mixed reality headsets.

Bloomberg noted that Apple CEO Tim Cook views AR - which displays items in the wearer's field of vision - as more promising than virtual reality. Apple's release of AR glasses would drive this home, but the company needs its own custom chip that can handle the graphics and computational tasks required, which will be in real-time, and something that you wear.

The same report states that the new AR headset will have its own display and will run on a new chip as well as an operating system.

Apple and Corning didn't respond to a request for comment on whether these research and development efforts will also include augmented reality glass products.

One of the novelties Apple talked about during the iPhone X event in September was ARKit, the company's new augmented reality platform that allows developers to incorporate AR features into their apps, or to make AR apps and games. "Put simply, we believe AR is going to change the way we use technology forever", he said. Formerly software manager for Appple, Geoff Stahl, is one of the directors of the rOS department.

The product is part of several new gadgets being crafted under the T288 code name, Bloomberg said. Its based on iOS, the iPhone's operating system. Cook acknowledged as much in a recent interview with The Independent, when he said: "Anything you would see on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with".

The company is investigating the use of touchscreens, voice activation and hand signals to control the headset. The team are also building out applications, including messaging, virtual meetings, 360 video and navigation, and there are plans to potentially build out an App Store for the hardware. Apple's engineer's team is using HTC Vice headsets for testing.

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