Apple developing a device of augmented reality

Isaac Cain
November 9, 2017

The company will continue to develop the system over the next few years, including the release of more advanced software tools in 2018.

Speaking of hardware, Apple's metal framing and case supplier for the iPhone, Catcher Technology, says it will start making lightweight casing for augmented reality devices, reports Nikkei. The company has been working on the augmented reality technology behind the scenes and it aims at readying the technology ready for an AR headset by 2019 according to a report by Bloomberg.

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.

Apple's product would have its own display, processor and operating system via a "system-on-a-package" component similar to the one in the Apple Watch.

Apple engineers are said to be now prototyping a range of applications for use in AR, reportedly using HTC Vive headsets for testing them. "AR is going to change everything". Apple is also reportedly testing different methods for controlling the headsets such as touchscreens and voice activation using Siri.

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The headset is just one part of the equation, though.

If everything goes according to plan, Apple's first independent AR headset could produce "virtual meeting rooms and 360-degree video playback" in 2020, as well as support a range of mapping and texting apps accumulated in a dedicated version of the App Store. Earlier that year, word spread that Apple has been secretly growing a large VR and AR research team, which had already constructed some prototype headsets.

Augmented reality in a pair of glasses would be extremely hard. Referring to challenges creating displays, Chief Design Officer Jony Ive told a tech panel last month that "there are certain ideas that we have and we are waiting for the technology to catch up with the idea".

KitGuru Says: Given all of Tim Cook's gushing about Augmented Reality over the past year, this news isn't too surprising.

"Now anything you would see on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with", Cook said. Virtual reality places a user inside a virtual world, completely removing them from the physical world. They were intrusive, instead of pushing technology to the background, as we've always believed. Here's what we know about the device that could make that happen.

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