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An Apple AR Headset, Coming in 2020?

November 8, 2017

The iPhone maker is reported to be developing new chips and software to launch dedicated augmented reality hardware within the next three years.

Apple’s desire to build an augmented reality device is no secret. Really, no secret at all. But according to a new report from Bloomberg, the firm “aims to have technology ready for an augmented-reality headset in 2019 and could ship a product as early as 2020.” To make that happen, Apple is apparently building a dedicated low-power chipset and developing a new operating system called Reality OS.

A lot more still needs to happen, though. Earlier this year, Tim Cook told the Independent that the display technology required for AR headset systems didn’t yet exist in a form that would provide a quality user experience, explaining that “the field of view, the quality of the display itself—it’s not there yet.” He also pointed out that “putting enough stuff around your face—there’s huge challenges with that.”

Meanwhile, Bloomberg also notes that Apple doesn’t yet know how users should interact with such a device. It’s said to be exploring “touch panels, voice activation via Siri, and head gestures” as possible input methods. 

In other words, it sounds as if there’s plenty of work still be done before 2020 if the firm is going to launch a device. But at this stage, it feels like a matter of when the thing arrives, rather than if.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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