Will realityOS for AR/VR headsets make its debut at WWDC22? | Cult of Mac

Will realityOS for AR/VR headsets make its debut at WWDC22?

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Apple's new AR/VR headset and its realityOS may or may not debut at WWDC22.
Apple's new AR/VR headset and its realityOS may or may not debut at WWDC22.
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On Sunday, when people noticed “realityOS” trademarks set for international filing on June 8, mad speculation flew that at least the software platform for Apple’s planned AR/VR headsets could be rolled out at WWDC22, which gets underway June 6.

And while it’s tantalizing speculation with other supporting evidence, there is reason for doubt, too. Especially since a reputable analyst threw cold water on the idea on Tuesday, contradicting others.

Does realityOS trademark filing date mean Apple’s AR/VR headset may debut at WWDC22?

Rumors have long flown that Apple is working on augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets. Coming late this year or early next year, there could be a mixed-reality headset similar to current VR gear. Later, no sooner than 2025, an AR device called Apple Glasses could arrive.

Though probably coming sooner — as it was recently shown to Apple’s board of directors — the AR/VR headset might cost $3,000 or more, aimed primarily at a developer audience.

It’s even possible the headset and realityOS could debut at WWDC22. But it’s not a sure thing.

Predictions pro and con

TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks it’s pretty far from a sure thing, actually. He tweeted Tuesday that Apple isn’t likely to dangle its ideas in front of competitors so far ahead of mass production’s likely start.

But that contradicts what some others have said. Apple prognosticator Robert Scoble, who has a mixed record when it comes to accuracy, laid down a tweet thread on Saturday predicting WWDC22 will be the first of three events in the coming year where Apple introduces the world to a new form of augmented reality.

Scoble said Cupertino will roll out a “new development environment for a new kind of photorealistic 3D scenes, avatars and much more” at WWDC22. He said his predicted second event, around January 2023, will unveil the AR/VR headset. And the third event, around June 2023, will offer detailed looks at experiences and hype new products, like “dramatically expensive” headsets.

“Get ready for buying day,” he said.

Trademark filings theory

The first person to note the pair of trademark filings and their filing date’s interesting proximity to WWDC22, Parker Ortolani, said the situation brings to mind Apple’s historical behavior. Other jumped on that bandwagon.

Ortolani pointed out that Apple tends to file trademarks for products announced at a WWDC roughly a day or two after the keynote itself, making it “one helluva coincidence.”

Why the trademark filings point to Apple

While it’s possible for anyone to file for trademark, there are reasons beyond the conspicuous filing date to think the pair of filings and “realityOS” relates directly to Apple.

References to a dedicated OS for headsets go back to 2017, when a report said Apple’s headset would have its own display, processor and a new operating system then called “rOS.”

In addition, Cupertino often files under the names of shell companies it owns to hide its filings. That appears to be the case here, too.

The listings are both registered by “Realityo Systems LLC.” It incorporated in Delaware on December 3, 2021 via the Corporation Trust Company. That firm provides “registered agent services.” No other information is available.

‘realityOS’ in Apple code and other clues

The filings cover “wearable computer hardware” and many other areas of computing. The filings were made on December 8, 2021, two months before direct references to “realityOS” surfaced in Apple’s code, suggesting it’s the operating system for headsets.

One of Apple’s shell companies is “Yosemite Research LLC,” under which Cupertino registered macOS names like Yosemite and Big Sur. Last year, Apple registered the trademark “Monterey” days before WWDC 2021. And then Monterey turned out to be the official name of macOS 12, of course.

Some trademarks were submitted with a logo using Apple’s proprietary typography San Francisco.

And, finally, this is crucial to note: Both Yosemite Research LLC and Realityo Systems LLC are registered at the same address pointing to “Corporation Trust Center.” That’s a real company providing trademark services. And Apple is a client.

realityOS trademark timing: pure coincidence?

So, given the above, it seems like all of this “cannot be a coincidence,” particularly the June 8 filing date, as Ortolani said. And yet it could be just that.

The international filing date of June 8 coming in the middle of WWDC22 might just be a coincidence, 9to5Mac noted. “A lawyer pointed out that the deadline is actually a legal requirement,” the publication said.

As the lawyer said:

Attorney here. It’s a legal deadline. The Paris Convention requires that any foreign filings based on a first application made in a Convention country be made within 6 months of the date of filing of the first application

Since the first application was made on December 8 last year, Apple is required to file applications in the rest of the world no later than June 8, 2022.

It’s still possible Apple will tout realityOS and upcoming headsets at WWDC 2022 — particularly as it likes to encourage app development prior to public releases — but the trademark filings don’t ensure any such thing.