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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

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.


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

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2 weeks ago
I get it, it's an eyePod
Rating: 34 Votes
2 weeks 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
Rating: 20 Votes
2 weeks 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.
Rating: 20 Votes
2 weeks 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?
Rating: 15 Votes
2 weeks 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.
Rating: 12 Votes
2 weeks 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
Rating: 10 Votes
2 weeks ago

You should have convinced more of your friends to buy them


A lot of people actually bought the SE. It was always sold out.
Rating: 10 Votes
2 weeks 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?

Apple Cinema Display and the AirPort Extreme are for the regular people? Oh, man... I am so broke!
Rating: 9 Votes
2 weeks 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?

As Wayne Gretzky once said: You need to skate where the puck will be, not where it has been. Steve Jobs followed that rule (Link ('//www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXqrOkyAIEw')) and so does Tim Cook. The products you mentioned are products of the past. AR will become a really big thing.

You could argue whether Apple needs to support older tech for longer while skating to the new place, but your dumb personal attack disqualify you for any further discussion.

Let the iPhone handle the heavy AR processing.

For the beginning, yes. Long term, Apple Watch will do the "heavy lifting" and eventually replace the iPhone for most everyday tasks, with the AR glasses taking over the role of the AppleWatch as the slightly underpowered and battery-hungry device that has to rely on a supporting device for a couple of years.

I'm really looking forward to not be bound to a smallish Smartphone display anymore. Biggest problem I do see, though, is a proper user interface, if you want to use virtual screens with the trinity of AR glasses, AirPods and AppleWatch (as central CPU).
Rating: 9 Votes
2 weeks ago

How many Fortune 500 companies have you turned into a top 5 company? Apple’s profits continue to soar; sorry you can’t afford their products. Do better.

This kinda posts are the one that makes me roll of the chair laughing... You act like you dislike things you cannot buy, and that to me is hilarious:D

I cannot buy / afford a Ferrari, but like it very much, there are plenty of things I cannot buy but still like, on the other hand there are plenty of things I can afford but dislike ....
Then there is the assumption, what makes you think he cannot afford it?
And finally, just because a company is making money does not mean they make only good products, heck no company is even too big to fail.

I mean your silliness works on many level here :D

People are entitletd to their opinion (wich is also free BTW), and if they differ from yours you can decide to ignore them or disagree with them, but talking about money just shows you have no arguments.
Rating: 8 Votes

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