DigiTimes: Apple Partnering With Valve to Develop AR Headset

DigiTimes is reporting this morning that Apple has partnered with U.S. game developer Valve to develop its rumored AR headset, which is expected to launch next year.

valve logo

Apple reportedly has partnered with US game developer Valve to develop AR head-mounted display devices, which may be released in the second half of 2020 at the earliest, with Taiwan's ODMs Quanta Computer and Pegatron said to handle the assembly job, according to industry sources.

Creator of the popular Steam digital storefront and delivery platform, Valve launched Steam machine consoles in 2015 and released its first VR headset, Valve Index, in April 2019.

Notably, Valve worked with Apple in 2017 to bring native VR headset support to macOS High Sierra, leveraging the operating system's then-new eGPU support with a Mac version of Valve's SteamVR software. However, Apple's latest partnership with the company is said to be focused on AR, not VR.

Apple will cooperate with Valve on AR headsets rather than VR devices, as its CEO Tim Cook believes that AR can make digital content become part of the user's world and will be as popular as smartphones with consumers. This has also promoted Apple to step up the development of AR software by recruiting more engineers for graphic design, system interface and system architecture segments.

Back in July, DigiTimes reported that Apple had temporarily stopped developing AR/VR headsets and that the team working on them was disbanded in May and reassigned to other product developments.

However, according to the latest information from the Taiwan website's sources, Apple was actually in the process of shifting from in-house development to collaborative development with Valve.

Just last month, respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple was cooperating with third-party brands to launch its first head-mounted AR product. Kuo believes Apple's AR headset is rumored to enter mass production as soon as the fourth quarter of this year in time for an early 2020 launch.

Code found in Xcode 11 and iOS 13 as recently as September has confirmed that Apple is still working on an augmented reality headset of some kind. In addition, there is an icon within the internal Find My app bundlede picting what appears to be an AR or VR headset that looks similar to the Google Cardboard.

apple glasses concept macrumors

MacRumors concept of Apple Glasses

Kuo has 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.

As early as November 2017, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reported that Apple's headset would run a custom iOS-based operating system dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system." At the time, Gurman said Apple had not finalized how users would control the headset, but possibilities included touchscreens, Siri voice activation, and head gestures.

Apple originally aimed to have its AR product ready by 2019, but the company is said to have been relaxed about not shipping a product until 2020.

Quanta Computer and Pegatron are said to be handling the manufacturing and assembly job for Apple's headset. Quanta can reportedly produce AR headsets at a lower cost by leveraging camera lens technology licensed by Lumus, according to today's report.

DigiTimes' sources often provide reliable information, but the site has a mixed track record when it comes to interpreting that information and accurately deciphering Apple's plans, so treat this report with the necessary degree of skepticism for now until we can corroborate it from other sources.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

Top Rated Comments

ophh1 Avatar
17 months ago
First app: Half Life 3
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tobiastimpe Avatar
17 months ago
Just imagine Apple buying Valve and getting all those games and turning Steam into a part of Apple Arcade. This should be fun.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
farewelwilliams Avatar
17 months ago
I stopped reading after "Digitimes..."
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
M3gatron Avatar
17 months ago

Not true, macOS is a better platform for gaming the Windows thanks to Metal and stability. The issue is market share and bad porting. But this is gradually going to change.
Check MrMacright YouTube channels:

Ok so what you mean is that in theory MacOS could be a better platform for gaming but in practice it's not, because it lacks the necessary support and optimisations Windows gets.
Also honestly I haven't seen things evolve in Mac's favour when it comes to gaming and I don't see why they should. Nvidia, one of the biggest forces in AAA gaming doesn't work very with MacOS and the Metal API when it comes to AAA gaming is actually a disadvantage for Apple's platform. It would be way more productive for Apple if they would support Vulkan. Between DirectX 12, Vulkan and Metal, Apple's API will be in the last place in terms of support from game developers.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
frou Avatar
17 months ago
Fast-forward 10 years and I think anyone who was pooh-poohing the concept of AR glasses will be eating their words
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
star-affinity Avatar
17 months ago

Not true, macOS is a better platform for gaming the Windows thanks to Metal and stability.
In what way is Metal better than Direct3D for gaming?
In what way is macOS more stable than Windows when it comes to gaming?

How can macOS be a better gaming platform than Windows when the graphics card vendors (AMD and Nvidia currently) are focusing so heavily on driver optimization even for specific games?

It sounds to me that you mean macOS has the potential to be a better gaming platform than Windows, but it currently sure isn't. :)
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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