Apple 'working on AR headset to replace the iPhone by 2020'

Apple's AR headset planned for 2020

A new report from Bloomberg - which is based on information from anonymous sources close to the matter - claims that the technology needed for Apple's AR ambitions could be finished by 2019, with a reveal of the headset itself in 2020.

Also on today's podcast, we talk about Snap's lousy quarterly results and Twitter doubling its character limit to 280. While Apple CEO Tim Cook has acknowledged that the technology "doesn't exist" to hit the level of quality the company wants to reach, that isn't stopping the AR team from forging ahead with building its own chip, similar to the S1 chip in the Apple Watch.

The eventual AR headset will reportedly be powered by an iOS variant now codenamed rOS, or "reality operating system". Instead, the standalone visor will have its own display and run on a new chip and operating system.

Apple's known to be planning for the post-smartphone future and has repeatedly signalled it believes augmented reality to be the next big thing.

Apple engineers are said to be now prototyping a range of applications for use in AR, reportedly using HTC Vive headsets for testing them.

Apple's push to create an AR headset has been expansive and aggressive, according to Bloomberg. It wouldn't say which company it would make AR components for, but given its key relationship with Apple it's hard not to assume it's anyone but the Cupertino company. "AR is going to change everything". As pointed out in the report Apple is not waiting for chip makers to make a custom AR chip.

The company's AR efforts are being led by Mike Rockwell, a former Dolby Labs engineering leader.

"We're already seeing things that will transform the way you work, play, connect and learn", Cook said on a November 3 conference call with analysts.

The in-house chip would have a similar design to what's now in the Apple Watch, which allows for more components in a smaller area.

The new AR operating system is also dubbed "rOS", much like tvOS is for Apple TV and macOS is for Macs, Bloomberg reported. But as it will run an AR headset, it will have to function differently from the mobile OS.

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.

Finally, Bloomberg reports that Apple is gearing up to release a new version of ARKit next year that will bring a new technology called persistent tracking "that remembers accurately where a digital object was placed in a virtual space".

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