Apple’s rumored augmented reality headset could debut in 2019 and ship in 2020, a new report claims.
The headset will reportedly be a standalone device, running on a completely new chip and original operating system, according to people familiar with the project.
Apple’s Reality Operating System
The operating system has been dubbed “rOS,” standing for “reality operating system.” It is based on iOS, but distinct — similar to how tvOS and watchOS are separate from the mobile OS which runs on iPhone and iPad. The project is supposedly being headed up by Geoff Stahl, who was previously a software manager for games and graphics.
Apple hasn’t yet finalized how the headset will be controlled or used to launch apps, although the company is reportedly looking at touch panels, Siri, and head gestures as possibilities.
In terms of software, engineers are exploring the idea of virtual meeting rooms, and 360-degree video playback, as well as an rOS App Store.
To work on the project, Apple engineers are using HTC Vive headsets, as well a device “similar to an Oculus Gear VR headset that uses an iPhone’s screen, cameras and chipsets.” Apple has no plans to sell the latter device, but is rather using it entirely for testing purposes.
The timeline Apple hopes to deliver the project on is described as “very aggressive,” and still open to change, depending on how it progresses from here. The project is being developed under the internal umbrella code name “T288,” and reportedly includes hundreds of engineers from all across Apple, working in offices in both Cupertino and Sunnyvale, California.
Apple aims for quality over speed
During a recent interview with the U.K.’s Independent newspaper, Tim Cook noted his dissatisfaction with current VR headsets, saying that the “field of view, the quality of the display itself” are something he views as “not there yet.”
Apple will only ship a product, Cook suggested, if it can do it in “a quality way.”