DigiTimes: Apple Has Temporarily Stopped Developing AR/VR Headsets, Team Disbanded in May [Updated]
Update: As noted by Jeremy Horwitz, more details are now available on DigiTimes Taiwan, which reports that Apple has "temporarily stopped developing AR/VR headsets." The report claims the team working on them was disbanded in May and reassigned to other product developments. Original story below.
Apple has reportedly "terminated" development of its widely rumored augmented reality glasses project, according to DigiTimes.
Multiple sources have claimed that Apple plans to release augmented reality glasses as early as 2020, including well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, and CNET, so the DigiTimes report if accurate reflects a cancellation of a major hardware project on Apple's roadmap.
DigiTimes has a mixed track record in relation to reporting on Apple's future plans, but it appears to be citing another report in this case. However, the DigiTimes story is currently paywalled behind its "Before Going to Press" section, so we'll have to wait for specific details to be made public.
Kuo said Apple's glasses would be marketed as an iPhone accessory and primarily take a display role while wirelessly offloading computing, networking, and positioning to the iPhone. He believed mass production could begin at some point between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the second quarter of 2020.
In November 2017, Gurman reported that Apple's headset would run a custom iOS-based operating system dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system." At the time, he said Apple had not finalized how users would control the headset, but possibilities included touchscreens, Siri voice activation, and head gestures.
In April 2018, CNET said Apple was developing an augmented reality headset that features an 8K display for each eye and would be untethered from either a computer or a smartphone. The report claimed the headset would instead connect to a "dedicated box" using high-speed short-range 60GHz WiGig technology.
Gurman and other sources previously reported that Apple was working on several different wearable augmented reality prototypes under the umbrella code name of "T288," so it is still possible that a product of some kind could be released.
Apple has been exploring virtual reality and augmented reality technologies for more than 10 years based on patent filings. The company is also rumored to have a secretive research unit comprising hundreds of employees working on AR and VR, exploring ways the technologies could be used in future Apple products.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has talked up the prospect of augmented reality several times, saying he views AR as "profound" because the technology "amplifies human performance instead of isolating humans."