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Apple is reportedly making an AR headset to compete with HoloLens

09 November 2017

Apple hopes to be able to have the requisite technology to make its headset a reality by 2019 and then get it to customers soon after.

Apple is building a new augmented reality headset that will overlay digital information on top of the real world, according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, which claims to have spoken with "people familiar with the situation", suggests the headset will have its own display, as opposed to using an iPhone as its screen. But unlike these headsets, which remain tethered to a smartphone or a computer, Apple's rumored AR headset would run independently, thanks to a new chip and operating system, according to Bloomberg, which broke the news Wednesday. In virtual reality (VR), the running has been done by HTC with its Vive headset, which was developed with Valve Software and runs via Valve's popular Steam PC game download service. During the company's most recent earnings call, he said that the company believes "AR is going to change the way we use technology forever". As of the time of this writing, Apple did not respond to a request for comment. The team is supposedly led by Mike Rockwell, who used to be charge of engineering at Dolby Labs. Apparently Apple is looking at creating a standalone augmented reality headset within the next two years.

Mixed reality (MR) is a relatively newcomer to the technology field, though is usually filed alongside the related technologies of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

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Microsoft, of course, is already well ensconced in the AR/VR world, having launched a v1 HoloLens past year as a $3,000 Developers Edition, and has talked about a HoloLens version 2, with built-in AI processing, but that device apparently won't ship until 2019. They're reportedly working on multiple hardware and software projects under the codename "T288".

Now that the team has successfully shipped ARKit for iOS devices, the next step is to build "a headset with a built-in display capable of streaming 3D video without draining the battery".

This OS will be based on iOS and comes after Apple also produced bespoke operating systems for Apple TV (tvOS) and Apple Watches (watchOS).

More detail includes that Apple is still considering how to control the device, using either head gestures and voice or a touch panel. 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.

Apple is reportedly making an AR headset to compete with HoloLens