Apple May Launch Augmented Reality Headset With Custom 'rOS' Operating System by 2020

Apple is ramping up development of an augmented reality headset that will have its own display and run on a new chip and operating system, according to well-connected Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman.

A fanciful mockup of digital glasses via TechAcute

Apple aims to have technology ready for the headset by 2019, and could ship a product as early as 2020, the report claims. But the development timeline is said to be "very aggressive" and could still change.

The headset's custom operating system, based on iOS, is reportedly dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system."
Just as tvOS powers the Apple TV, macOS runs on Macs and watchOS runs on Apple Watches, "rOS" will power Apple’s AR headset. Geoff Stahl, formerly a software manager for games and graphics at Apple, is one of the directors of the "rOS" software group.
Apple hasn't finalized how users will control the headset and launch apps, but it is investigating touchscreens, Siri voice activation, and head gestures as it creates prototypes, according to the report.
Engineers are prototyping a range of applications, from mapping and texting to more advanced features including virtual meeting rooms and 360-degree video playback. The company has discussed pairing the headset with its own version of the App Store, where users would be able to download content, just as they do with the iPhone, Watch, Apple TV and Mac.
Apple software engineers are said to be using HTC Vive headsets, while working on a device similar to an Oculus Gear VR headset that uses an iPhone's display and other hardware, both for internal testing purposes only.

An augmented reality headset is one of several hardware and software projects that a team of Apple software engineers are supposedly working on under the umbrella code name of "T288" in Cupertino and Sunnyvale.

The same team was behind ARKit, which provides developers with tools to create augmented reality apps for iPhones and iPads.

Gurman previously reported that Apple was considering a pair of smart glasses that would connect wirelessly to an iPhone, much like the Apple Watch, and display "images and other information" to the wearer.

The Financial Times has also reported about Apple experimenting with "several different kinds" of wearable augmented reality prototypes, as it tries to figure out the "most compelling application" for a headset.

Apple CEO Tim Cook alluded to any headset being at least a few years away during a recent interview about augmented reality.

"Today I can tell you that the technology itself doesn't exist to do that in a quality way," Cook said. "We don't give a rats about being first, we want to be best in creating people's experiences. Something that you would see out in the market any time soon would not be something that any of us would be satisfied with."

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

Top Rated Comments

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29 months ago
Rating: 26 Votes
29 months ago
Rating: 16 Votes
29 months ago
It would be funny to have to upgrade my glasses every year. My last upgrade was 4 years ago.
Rating: 13 Votes
29 months ago
How about that Mac Mini Tim? Or that new new Mac Pro? How are they going?
Rating: 13 Votes
29 months ago

Would be pretty huge for location data. Showing stores and info about the stores as you walk past. Food places and others too. I could see it being pretty big for augmented reality maps.
They’ve showed this with phones before

Just gonna leave this here.
Rating: 12 Votes
29 months ago

What in holy hell... This is beyond obnoxious, like being trapped in a video game arcade or pachinko parlor. Hopefully Apple's implementation would be a lot more peaceful and relaxing. This is full-out assault on the eyes and ears.

It’s like visiting certain tech magazine sites without ad blocker turned on.
Rating: 10 Votes
29 months ago
I have no doubt that Apple is spending R&D money on tech like this, and proof-of concept devices could very well look similar to that image while they work to perfect the technology behind it, but it will be a cold day in hell when Ive releases something out of his lab that looks like that mock up.
Rating: 8 Votes
29 months ago


Apple is suffering Microsoftitis: an inflammation of self importance and a slowdown in all parts of the body, usually accompanied by bouts of ridiculous code and complicated infrastructure.

There’s literally nothing in this article that supports this statement. Self-important? Ridiculous code? Complicated infrastructure? Where does that even come from? You’re projecting a bunch of crap onto this that’s not there.

Apple is currently spending 5% of revenue on R&D. Almost a billion dollars per month. That’s how smart companies innovate and produce great products in the future. Would you have them cut back on R&D? Stop pursuing AR/VR? How would that help achieve their goals?

The ARKit team has already done some great work, and I can’t wait to see what they do over the next 5 years. For sure, Apple won’t release it until they think they’ve got a compelling product.
Rating: 7 Votes
29 months ago
I like the idea of using this when traveling abroad, but I’m most excited to see what augmented reality can do on a windshield in a vehicle.
Rating: 7 Votes
29 months ago
iGlasses could be the first product where Apple turns me into an early adopter.
I think the development will have issues with battery and logic board housing, when I think of glasses - the device can't be thick and bulky to match the Apple design philosophy.
Rating: 6 Votes

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