Analysts expect Apple to launch its first mixed reality headset in 2023. The company has reportedly come up with a new name for the platform – “xrOS” instead of “realityOS”. For Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, a sign that the launch is imminent.
Apple AR/VR Headset
“XR” stands for eXtended Reality, a term for headsets that support both VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality). VR creates a purely virtual environment, while AR overlays data and images over the real world. Headsets like the Meta Quest 2 do VR with a pinch of AR, the new Quest Pro is better at AR, Microsoft’s HoloLens and Google’s Glass focus on AR.
Trademark application for “xrOS” by Deep Dive LLC, an alleged shell company owned by Apple
Other big players include Valve and HTC, as well as Sony already taking pre-orders for the PSVR2 headset. This will be the first new market segment for Apple since the launch of the Apple Watch in 2015. It was far from the first smartwatch, but it has grown into an enormous success. According to the latest quarterly report, wearables, home and accessories raked in more net sales than the iPad and was not far behind the Mac.
Gurman reports that the headset will have its own app store and its own version of Apple’s core apps like Messages and Maps. And there will be tools for VR collaboration, as well as a VR version of FaceTime. It sounds like Apple wants to play in Zuckerberg’s Metaverse.
Apple already has experience in the AR space through its iPhones and iPads equipped with LiDAR scanners. This allows the devices to create a 3D scan of their environment and place virtual objects in it. Early reports claimed that the XR headset will also use LiDAR technology.
As for the name of the headset, Apple trademarked Reality One and Reality Pro a few months ago. It’s not clear if the names will change alongside the new OS branding. Apple could also return to realityOS for the software platform.