All of the big tech names have released virtual and augmented reality devices. All, that is, except Apple. iPhone users have been frustrated that they can’t properly get involved with VR like their Android counterparts can; Google and Samsung have both released dedicated headsets. Similarly, Mac users bemoan the lack of VR or AR that Windows users have. So, when will Apple release a VR or AR headset? Thankfully, it seems that the company is working on an AR device, and possibly even a mixed AR/VR headset.
Apple has already started their foray into the world of AR, with their launch of the ARKit dev tool. This kit will allow developers to create AR apps for iPhones and iPads. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, has long championed the importance of AR for the iPhone, and the capabilities of the technology in general. He hopes that augmented reality will become an increasingly integrated part of our lives.
“Simply put, we believe augmented reality is going to change the way we use technology forever” — Tim Cook
This news is encouraging for the industry, and we’re excited to see what Apple can bring to the table.
A Mixed VR/AR Device?
In a previous post, we outlined the differences between AR, VR, and MR. However, it looks as though Apple is planning a device that would combine elements of both AR and VR. A report from CNET earlier this year suggest that the headset will feature two 8K screens and a wireless processing hub, as well as run on a whole new processing chip and operating system. These specs certainly seem impressive, particularly when considering that the best VR headsets currently available have only 4K screens at best, and are tethered by lots of wires. Apple’s planned headset would represent a significant step forward for the industry.
When Will Apple Release a VR or AR Headset?
Of course, the big question is when we can expect to see this headset, if at all? Well, CNET’s sources claim that the AR/VR device could be with us as soon as 2020. That’s realistically only 18-30 months away depending on when exactly they release it. Further news has not been forthcoming, so until Apple confirms the existence of the headset, we can only wait and speculate. It’s also possible that the tech giants will abandon their plans altogether. However, we remain optimistic about seeing something further regarding the headset in 2019.
For Apple fans, this could be potentially huge news. Although Oculus has been working with the company to give Mac compatibility for the Rift, there are still no clear details on when that will happen. iPhone users must also wait for a premium mobile VR experience. The prospect of a standalone Apple AR/VR device is therefore incredibly appealing. Whether or not they can deliver on the early rumours remains to be seen; it’s quite possible that technology required to power such a device doesn’t exist in the mainstream yet. Regardless, we’ll keep watch with great interest.