Apple's untethered headset would have a newly designed chip and operating system, according to Bloomberg's sources, though those details could change.
Apple's hope is to squeeze its graphics processors, AI chip and CPU into a smaller, one-size-fits-all package, akin to what it has done for the Apple Watch, the Bloomberg article stated.
In the gap between now and release, Apple apparently intends to release a new version of ARKit with better software tools that make AR development much easier next year. "AR is going to change everything".
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The report further goes to point that Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke on Good Morning America saying "We're already seeing things that will transform the way you work, play, connect and learn". They're also using a device like the Oculus Gear VR headset that uses an iPhone's screen, cameras, and chipsets. This will be a device for internal development only.
As promising as an AR headset sounds, it's also important to remember that Apple could scrap such plans at any time. Earlier this year, Apple hired an accomplished VR and AR researcher named Doug Bowman from Virginia Tech, too. Several key features are still up in the air, including how users would use the headset and whether Siri voice activation should be part of the user experience. They're reportedly working on multiple hardware and software projects under the codename "T288".
According to Bloomberg, the iPhone maker is now experimenting with ways in which the headset can be operated, like using Siri, head gestures or a touch panel. Augmented reality on the other hand is basically a digital world overlay for the real world. Apple is already getting users familiar with interacting with mixed reality, and enabling apps that could port over to its eventual dedicated device.
As with previous products, Apple isn't waiting around for someone else to create a chip capable of powering its AR headset. The team is now working on an AR device that will use the iPhone's screen, camera and processors, but notes that it will not be available for consumers.