iOS 13 Code Suggests Apple Testing AR Headset With 'StarBoard' Mode, 'Garta' Codename, and More [Updated]

Apple has long been rumored to be working on an augmented reality headset or glasses, and despite a recent DigiTimes report claiming the project had been suspended, documentation seen by MacRumors in an internal build of iOS 13 suggests development of a head-mounted augmented reality display has continued.

apple glasses concept mockup

Apple Glasses concept

Namely, internal builds of iOS 13 include a "STARTester" app that can switch in and out of a head-mounted mode, presumably to replicate the functionality of an augmented reality headset on an iPhone for testing purposes. There are two head-mounted states for testing, including "worn" and "held."

There is also an internal README file in iOS 13 that describes a "StarBoard" system shell for stereo AR-enabled apps, which implies a headset of some kind. The file also suggests Apple is developing an augmented reality device codenamed "Garta," possibly as one of several prototypes under the "T288" umbrella.

Digging further into the internal iOS 13 code, we uncovered numerous strings related to a so-called "StarBoard mode" and various "views" and "scenes." Many of the strings reference augmented reality, including "ARStarBoardViewController" and "ARStarBoardSceneManager."

Multiple sources have claimed that Apple plans to release augmented reality glasses as early as 2020, including analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, CNET, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who in November 2017 reported that Apple's headset would run a custom iOS-based operating system dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system."

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."

Steve Moser contributed to this report.

Update: Within the internal Find My app bundle that MacRumors exclusively shared last week, there is an icon depicting what appears to be an AR or VR headset that looks similar to the Google Cardboard.

mockmode b389
There are "on" and "off" versions of the icon in white and gray respectively, and each has "MockMode" and "B389" in its filename, which is the codename for Apple's item tracking tags. As such, this icon could simply represent the expected AR mode in the Find My app and likely does not depict Apple's actual headset.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

Top Rated Comments

Pakaku Avatar
37 months ago
I get it, it's an eyePod
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ipedro Avatar
37 months ago
Just Never it’ll happen in 2020. Tech isn’t ready yet. If they do release next year, I promise a disaster.
The tech for the iPhone didn’t exist in 2007. Apple had to invent it. Critical technology from multi touch to an entire operating system had to be invented from scratch.

Apple has been working on these glasses for at least the past 4 years that we know of, probably longer if you account for their interest in AR going back 6 or more years. The primary technology is retinal projection. That tech in fact already exists. Apple will have poured billions in R&D into making what already exists into what will feel like technology from the future when introduced.

The iPhone did not feel possible in 2007. There was simply nothing like it nor since then for years after. The trinity of Watch + AirPods + Glasses have the potential to repeat that surge in technological advance.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
genovelle Avatar
37 months ago
AR glasses... Yet more nonsense from Clueless Cook. Hey, Tim, how about instead of creating luxury toys for the rich, how about you bring back tools for regular people such as AirPort Extreme, iPhone SE, and Apple Cinema Display?
You should have convinced more of your friends to buy them
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThomasJL Avatar
37 months ago
AR glasses... Yet more nonsense from Clueless Cook. Hey, Tim, how about instead of creating luxury toys for the rich, how about you bring back tools for regular people such as AirPort Extreme, iPhone SE, and Apple Cinema Display?
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Seoras Avatar
37 months ago
By Innovation Only. I love how Apple is baiting the haters with that invite slogan.
I'll bet they don't just do visual but also sound via bone conduction too using the H1 chip or a variant.
That's the thing I think gives Apple the edge right now, it's the in house silicon they are churning out.
ARM processors that are still years ahead of the competition and Face ID that has yet to be replicated as well.
Touch ID? Pfff... So yesterday... My iPhone X is coming up on 2 and still feels super fast and state of the art.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JustinCymbal Avatar
37 months ago
I wear prescription glasses and would love to get a pair of these!

It would be cool to use these at National Parks, museums etc and the glasses can tell you info about what you are looking at
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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