According to an anonymous source with CNet, Apple is working on a standalone AR/VR headset. The device will reportedly use two 8K displays and will not need to be tethered to a computer or smartphone.
The headset, codenamed T288, is currently scheduled to launch in 2020. However, as it is still in the early stages of development, plans are tentative at best. Release date changes and even cancellation are still possible.
Although anonymous leaks are often unreliable, Apple CEO Tim Cook's enthusiasm about augmented reality is encouraging. He believes that AR technology is possibly the most significant development since the smartphone.
In an interview with Independent last year Cook said, “I regard [AR] as a big idea like the smartphone. The smartphone is for everyone; we don't have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic, or country or vertical market: it’s for everyone. I think AR is that big; it’s huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives.”
According to the source, the T288 would go a step beyond by making the headset an AR/VR hybrid. In addition to the super high-resolution screens for each eye, the device would have dual cameras to allow the user to see his or her surroundings.
One of the biggest drawbacks with VR setups is the fact that they usually require being tethered to a high-end computer. While CNet said the device would be “standalone,” the source claims that the headset will connect wirelessly to a “box” through something called 60GHz WiGig. The box will be driven by a proprietary Apple chip that will supposedly be built on a 5-nanometer architecture.
These new technologies have me a bit skeptical about the leak. It was only around this time last year that Samsung was investing in the development of a 7nm process. Apple’s current flagship, the iPhone X uses the A11 Bionic processor, which is a 10nm chip. The source appears to be saying that Apple is planning on using technology that has not even been developed yet for its AR/VR headset.
CNet contacted Apple about the T288, but the company declined to comment. With no official confirmation, it is hard to say how much (if any) of what the source had to say is true, so take the leak with a healthy pinch of salt.