Apple will create a augmented reality headset

It is no secret that Apple is now infatuated with augmented reality technology.

Microsoft, of course, is already well ensconced in the AR/VR world, having launched a v1 HoloLens past year as a $3,000 Developers Edition, and has talked about a HoloLens version 2, with built-in AI processing, but that device apparently won't ship until 2019.

Apple's development timeline is fast-paced and could change, according to the sources.

Apple has been working on augmented reality for a few years. And as Apple gets closer to potentially becoming the world's first trillion-dollar publicly traded company, it needs to continue to surprise and amaze its fans with "one more thing". This in-house chip is similar to the concept of "system-on-a-package" that can be seen in the Apple Watch. Apple has been invested in AR for the past couple of years, starting with the formation of a team dedicated to AR projects.

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According to sources speaking with Bloomberg this week, Apple is now developing an augmented reality headset with its own in-built display. The creators of the headset will be equipped with its own screen, and now it will be on the operating system rOS.

Apple hasn't finalised how users will control or interact with the headset just yet, but the company is said to be experimenting with Siri voice commands, head gestures and touch panels.

Mike Rockwell, who previously led the engineering efforts at Dolby Labs, is at the helm of a team of several hundred engineers from across Apple all working on various hardware and software projects - including the AR headset - under the codename "T288", Bloomber reports. As we've seen from other AR developers, minimizing technology to work in an AR headset is still a hard proposition. There are considerable technical challenges with getting the display quality right, with Cook specifically referencing field of view as an area that's "not there yet". Googles headset unlike Apples will focus on education and medical uses. It is not the first time when we noticed what Apple thinks, is the ideal form-factor for an AR headset. But as it will run an AR headset, it will have to function differently from the mobile OS.

In the meantime, Apple plans to release a new version of the ARKit software tools as early as 2018, Bloomberg reported, which could help developers create software that remembers accurately where a digital object is placed in a virtual space, and make it easier to create AR games for multiple players.

  • Regina Walsh