Apple is shifting its augmented reality efforts into high gear and could have a consumer product ready to ship as early as 2020.
Sources familiar with the matter tell Bloomberg that the device will differ from traditional VR and AR headsets in that it won’t be powered by a smartphone. Instead, the standalone visor will have its own display and run on a new chip and operating system.
The chip, according to the publication, will be similar in concept to the SoC found in the Apple Watch. The new OS, meanwhile, is dubbed “rOS” for “reality operating system” and is based on iOS.
During the company’s most recent earnings call, CEO Tim Cook said they’re already seeing things that will transform the way people work, play, connect and learn. Simply put, he said, Apple believes AR is forever going to change the way we use technology.
Apple has been working on augmented reality for a few years. Sources say the team, led by former Dolby Labs engineering boss Mike Rockwell, now consists of several hundred engineers from across the company. They’re reportedly working on multiple hardware and software projects under the codename “T288.”
Geoff Stahl, a former software manager for games and graphics at Apple, is said to be one of the directors of the rOS development team.
Details such as how users will control the headset are still being investigated. Possible solutions reportedly include touch panels, head gestures and Siri voice activation.