Apple is searching for its next killer product, and hopes an augmented reality headset might fit the bill. It will then be left with around a year to fine-tune, test and tweak the headset before a public unveiling in 2020. In its place could be an augmented reality headset that won't need a separate mobile device to operate. Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously explained his interest in AR as a less isolating alternative to VR.
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".
Ian Hughes, an analyst at 451 Research, believes that this technology could be big for the company.
The in-house chip would have a similar design to what's now in the Apple Watch, which allows for more components in a smaller area. The company is actually believed to be developing a standalone AR headset. While Bloomberg's sources say the product might be unveiled in 2019, they also note that development timelines are "very aggressive" and could still change.
According to the report, Apple is looking into using its expert knowledge in designing custom silicon to create a more power-efficient chip for the headset. Possible ways to control the smart glasses include touch panels, voice commands and head gestures, though final decisions may not be made until one or two years down the line.
Avid tech geeks will notice Apple's plans sound a lot like what Google's fledgling Daydream VR platform, which consists of the Daydream View VR headset with controller, and a special version of the Google Play Store just for discovering and installing VR apps.
Microsoft, which missed the mobile revolution boat nearly entirely, is also heavily focused on what it calls "mixed reality" (which includes both virtual and augmented reality), and has its own HoloLens headset.
"The field of view, the quality of the display itself, it's not there yet". "But now anything you would see on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with".
Cook, himself, has warned that AR glasses aren't coming soon.
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