Apple to launch AR headset in 2020

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The headset will receive from Apple engineers special applications: from text and maps to 360-degree video playback.

So saysBloomberg, which claims that the firm is in the process of "ramping up" its plans to launch an AR device which would take on rival products from the likes of Microsoft, Facebook's Oculus and HTC.

The Californian company is working on a headset with inbuilt screen and native operating system, and hopes to have the technology ready by 2019, Bloomberg alleges. The development timeline is now described as "aggressive" with plans to ship the product in 2020, while having it ready for 2019. And as Apple gets closer to potentially becoming the world's first trillion-dollar publicly traded company, it needs to continue to surprise and amaze its fans with "one more thing".

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. Apple has been invested in AR for the past couple of years, starting with the formation of a team dedicated to AR projects. Unlike most current mobile-based virtual reality setups, which fully immerse a user in a digital world, Apple's headset will have its own display, operating system, and system-on-a-chip (SoC).

The report says Apple is also putting together its own version of Gear VR for internal testing, using the phone's hardware to make a rudimentary AR headset.

There is no comfirmation how Apple's AR device will be controlled, but the Bloomberg report suggested that the firm is investigating touch panels, voice-activation (via Siri) and head gestures.

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In his interview with Nikkei, Catcher CEO Allen Horng said that his company is now working on an AR device, but stopped short of specifically naming Apple.

The report mostly jibes with CEO Tim Cook's recent interview with The Independent, in which Cook said, "But today I can tell you the [AR] technology itself doesn't exist to do that in a quality way". Apple's AR team, under the umbrella code name of "T288", is working on many hardware and software projects, notes Bloomberg.

Could an AR headset really transcend the iPhone as Apple's number one product? Simply put, he said, Apple believes AR is forever going to change the way we use technology.

"Now anything you would see on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with", Cook said.

Because Apple doesn't yet have an augmented reality headset of its own, it's using other companies' devices to develop and test features for their new device.

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