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Gurman: Apple Considered Removing Lightning Connector on iPhone X

As a side note in his report about technical challenges facing the AirPower, expected to be released by September, well-connected reporter Mark Gurman also noted that Apple considered removing wired charging from the iPhone X. From his Bloomberg News story:During the development of the iPhone X, Apple weighed removing the wired charging system entirely. That wasn't feasible at the time because wireless charging was still slower than traditional methods. Including a wireless charger with new iPhones would also significantly raise the price of the phones.Just to be absolutely clear, Gurman confirmed to me that this would have included removing the Lightning connector from the device. In fact, his report notes that Apple designers eventually hope to "remove most of the external ports and buttons on the iPhone," although this is likely multiple years away. A few years ago, it was reported that Apple's design chief Jony Ive's end goal is for the iPhone to resemble a "single sheet of glass," while Apple has repeatedly expressed its ambitions to "create a wireless future," so the eventual removal of the Lightning connector should perhaps come as no surprise. Apple is already well on its way towards that wireless future, with products and technologies ranging from AirPods and AirPower to its W1 and W2 wireless chips. Apple also made the controversial decision to remove the headphone jack from iPhone 7 models a few years ago, pushing users towards wireless earphones. Still, removing the Lightning connector would certainly be another controversial decision, given it is

Gurman: Apple Aims to Release AirPower By September

Apple aims to release its multi-device AirPower charging mat "before or in September," after facing a handful of technical challenges with its hardware and software, according to well-connected reporter Mark Gurman. An excerpt from his Bloomberg News story:Apple didn't say when in 2018 it would release AirPower, but engineers hoped to launch the charger by June. The aim now is to put it on sale before or in September, according to one of the people. In recent months, some Apple engineers have ramped up testing of the device by using it as their charger at the office, another person said.Apple first previewed the AirPower alongside the iPhone X in September 2017. At the time, the company's marketing chief Phil Schiller said it would be available in 2018, as reflected on Apple's website. Pricing has not been disclosed. Gurman says Apple engineers initially hoped for a June launch, presumably at WWDC 2018, but noted the AirPower has been delayed due to technical challenges, including the potential for overheating, complex multi-device charging circuitry, and software bugs with the accessory's on-board firmware. AirPower is said to include a custom Apple chip running "a stripped down version of iOS" for power management and pairing with devices:The AirPower charger is also more advanced than the current competition because it includes a custom Apple chip running a stripped down version of the iOS mobile operating system to conduct on-device power management and pairing with devices. Apple engineers have also been working to squash bugs related to the on-board

Gurman: WWDC 2018 to Have Software Focus, New Macs, iPad Pros, and Larger-Screen Apple Watches Coming Later

Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference commences on Monday with an opening keynote, where the company previews the next major versions of its software platforms, and usually shares some other announcements. Ahead of the keynote, Bloomberg's well-sourced Mark Gurman has outlined what he expects Apple to discuss on stage:A series of Digital Health tools in the Settings app on iOS 12 that will help users monitor how much time they spend using their devices and individual apps, helping to address concerns about smartphone addiction. ARKit 2, including a new mode that allows for a multiplayer mode in augmented reality games. Another mode is said to allow objects to be dropped into an area and virtually remain in place. Apple could reveal its reported plans to allow iOS apps to run on Macs as early as this year. The wording suggests it's not entirely clear if Apple plans to discuss the project at WWDC or later. Minor new features for snoozing notifications, tracking the stock market, making video calls, and sending Animojis via FaceTime.Overall, Gurman expects this year's software updates across iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS to be more "muted," with "bigger changes later," as Apple has decided to focus more on the quality and stability improvements this year, according to an internal meeting the company reportedly held earlier this year. Planned new iOS 12 features that have been shelved until 2019 are said to include a redesigned home screen with more information, an artificial intelligence upgrade to the Photos app, and new file-management tools for iPads.

Apple Expected to Launch Subscription News Service Within Next Year Following Texture Acquisition

Apple plans to offer a subscription-based news service within the next year, according to Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg News. Apple declined to comment on the report, as it has not announced the plans publicly. The service is said to be based on subscription-based digital magazine app Texture, which is expected to be integrated into the Apple News app on iPhone and iPad, pending approval of Apple's agreement to acquire the company. Texture provides unlimited access to over 200 digital magazines for $9.99 per month. Available magazine titles include People, Vogue, Rolling Stone, National Geographic, GQ, Sports Illustrated, Wired, Maxim, Men's Health, GQ, Bloomberg Businessweek, ESPN The Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly. "We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users," said Apple's services chief Eddy Cue, on Apple acquiring Texture. The service would essentially be like Apple Music, which provides unlimited streaming of over 45 million songs for $9.99 per month, but for news and magazines. The revenue would help boost Apple's growing services division, including the App Store and iCloud, while a cut would also go to publishers. The premium tier would likely complement the existing ad-supported content available within the Apple News app, which is currently available in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom on iOS 9 and later. Apple previously offered a Newsstand app with digital magazines and newspapers, but subscriptions

Apple Planning iPhones With Touchless Gesture Controls and Curved Screens to Launch Within Three Years

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has a new report out this morning, claiming that Apple is working on future iPhone models that will incorporate "touchless gesture control" as well as curved screens. The company is said to be looking at how it can differentiate its flagship product in a smartphone market that's becoming increasingly saturated with devices. According to people with knowledge of Apple's plans, the touchless control feature is described as a hover-like gesture system that would let future iPhone owners navigate iOS "by moving their finger close to the screen without actually tapping it." This technology would be advanced enough to take into account the proximity of a finger to the screen and is predicted to still be around two years away, if Apple chooses to move forward with it. Gurman also compared Apple's gesture design to Samsung's Air Gestures in Android smartphones and Google's Project Soli. In comparison, Apple's future iPhone "would require gestures to be closer to the screen than with Project Soli," and be based on technology built in the display rather than some kind of motion sensor added to the iPhone's bezel, as it is with Air Gestures. Secondly, Apple is in the works on an iPhone display that curves inward "gradually from top to bottom," unlike Samsung's smartphones that curve down and away at the edges of the screen. Gurman's sources said that this major iPhone upgrade is around two to three years away. The company has been connected to curved display rumors in the past, and in October 2017 was said to be working with LG Display on an iPhone

Apple Plans to Ditch Intel and Use Custom Mac Chips Starting in 2020

Apple is planning to transition from Intel chips to its own custom made Mac chips as early as 2020, reports Bloomberg. Apple's initiative, reportedly code named "Kalamata," is part of an effort to make Macs, iPhones, and iPads work "more similarly and seamlessly together" according to unspecified sources that spoke to Bloomberg. Apple already designs its own A-series chips found in iPhones and iPads. The Mac chip plans are said to be in the early stages of development and the transition from Intel chips to Apple chips could involve multiple steps, starting with the "Marzipan" initiative coming in iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 to allow developers to create a single app able to run on both iOS and macOS. With its own chips, Apple would not be forced to wait on new Intel chips before being able to release updated Macs, and the company could integrate new features on a faster schedule.The shift would also allow Cupertino, California-based Apple to more quickly bring new features to all of its products and differentiate them from the competition. Using its own main chips would make Apple the only major PC maker to use its own processors. Dell Technologies Inc., HP Inc., Lenovo Group Ltd., and Asustek Computer Inc. use Intel chips. By using its own chips, Apple would be able to more tightly integrate new hardware and software, potentially resulting in systems with better battery life -- similar to iPads, which use Apple chips.Apple has already begun using custom designed T1 and T2 chips in its MacBook Pro and iMac Pro machines, and the company is said to be planning to

Gurman: Cheaper iPad to Debut Next Week, Sub-$1,000 MacBook Likely Not Ready Yet

Apple plans to introduce a cheaper iPad next week that should appeal to the education market, and new software for the classroom, according to Bloomberg News' Mark Gurman. The new products should be announced at Apple's education-themed event on Tuesday at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago. Apple is also said to be working on a new, lower-priced notebook, likely to replace the MacBook Air with a sub-$1,000 price in the United States:A new, cheaper MacBook laptop is in the works and likely destined to replace the MacBook Air at a price less than $1,000, but it probably won't be ready in time for next week, the people said. The MacBook Air, introduced about a decade ago, hasn't seen a major change since 2010, the same year the iPad came out. Although the laptop is popular with college students, it has languished as Apple focuses on more expensive Macs.At first glance, it would appear that Gurman is referring to a lower-priced 12-inch MacBook, as many people believe that Apple will eventually phase out the MacBook Air. However, the "MacBook laptop" wording is perhaps intentionally vague, in case it does end up being a cheaper MacBook Air. 12-inch MacBook models currently start at $1,299, and were last updated with Kaby Lake processors and faster graphics in June 2017. MacBook Air starts at $999 and hasn't received a meaningful update since March 2015. Earlier this month, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple plans to launch a more affordable MacBook Air in the second quarter of 2018, which essentially runs between next week and the end of

Apple Developing Its Own MicroLED Displays for Future Devices

Apple has a secret manufacturing facility in Santa Clara, California, where it is designing and producing test samples of its own displays, reports Bloomberg. The company is reportedly using MicroLED technology in an effort to replace Samsung's OLED displays in future devices. Apple's MicroLED facility in Santa Clara (Bloomberg) The technology giant is making a significant investment in the development of next-generation MicroLED screens, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. MicroLED screens use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and promise to make future gadgets slimmer, brighter and less power-hungry.Apple's desire to expand its supply chain beyond Samsung has been extensively rumored, with Apple reportedly spending billions of dollars to help LG get its own OLED production up to speed and LG displays rumored to be making their way into this year's "iPhone X Plus" device. Looking beyond OLED, many believe MicroLED will be the next display technology to appear in mobile devices, and Apple's interest in the technology was revealed in its acquisition of MicroLED firm LuxVue back in 2014. Apple has reportedly been working to first bring MicroLED to the Apple Watch, with some rumors pointing to that happening as soon as this year. Bloomberg's report suggests, however, that it will likely be a few years until Apple's MicroLED displays will appear in shipping products, perhaps two years for the Apple Watch and three to five years for the iPhone. Apple will likely also outsource full-scale production of the

iOS 12 Said to Feature Animoji in FaceTime, Deeper Siri Integration, and Do Not Disturb Improvements

Apple's alleged plans to double down on the quality of its iPhone, iPad, and Mac software platforms, rather than rush to introduce new features, have been revealed in more detail by Mark Gurman at Bloomberg News. The report claims that Apple's software engineers will have more discretion to delay features that aren't as polished, with the company essentially shifting to more of a two-year roadmap for iOS and macOS, rather than trying to release major feature-packed upgrades every single year without question.Instead of keeping engineers on a relentless annual schedule and cramming features into a single update, Apple will start focusing on the next two years of updates for its iPhone and iPad operating system, according to people familiar with the change. The company will continue to update its software annually, but internally engineers will have more discretion to push back features that aren't as polished to the following year.The report describes Apple's new strategy as a "major cultural shift," and an admission that its recent software updates have suffered from an uncharacteristic number of bugs, ranging from a critical root superuser vulnerability on Mac to iMessages appearing in the wrong order across Apple devices. Apple's commitment to a fast-paced iOS release schedule already led some features to be delayed regardless, including Apple Pay Cash and Messages on iCloud, so the new strategy would likely involve not announcing or testing those features in beta until they are much closer to being ready for public release. Despite the increased focus on

Apple's Decision to Delay Some New Features and Focus on Software Quality Extends to Mac

Apple's reported plans to delay some features planned for iOS 12 until next year will similarly extend to the Mac, although to a lesser degree, according to Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg News. Gurman's sources corroborate an earlier report from Ina Fried at Axios, which claimed that Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi disclosed the revised plans during a meeting with employees earlier this month. While the shift in strategy appears to extend to macOS, it reportedly will not affect the development cycles of watchOS or tvOS.The company told its software engineering groups about the change this month, one of the people said. The shift will also affect this year's update to Mac computer software, but to a lesser degree, the person said, adding that planned upgrades to Apple Watch and Apple TV software won’t be affected.Apple's plans to focus on the quality of its current software platforms will presumably result in a greater emphasis on bug fixes, performance improvements, and the general stability of its operating systems. The shift in strategy follows a few embarrassing mishaps for Apple in recent months, including a major security vulnerability that enabled access to the root superuser account with a blank password on macOS High Sierra version 10.13.1. Apple promptly fixed the critical bug in a security update. Just weeks later, MacRumors was alerted to a security flaw in macOS High Sierra version 10.13.2 that allowed the App Store menu in System Preferences to be unlocked with any password. While this bug was much less serious, it was

Apple Working on Trio of New Macs With Custom Co-Processors That Could Launch This Year

Apple is developing at at least three new Mac models integrated with custom co-processors, including updated notebooks and a new desktop, according to Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg News. The report claims the new models could be released as early as this year, but it doesn't specify which ones they'll be. Of course, Apple's notebook lineup includes the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro, while its desktop lineup includes the iMac and iMac Pro, Mac Pro, and aging Mac mini. In terms of notebooks, the MacBook and MacBook Pro are the most likely candidates for a refresh this year, as the MacBook Air has not received any meaningful updates since March 2015, nearly three years ago, and it seems like Apple is only keeping it around for its $999 price tag at this point. MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models released in 2016 and later are already equipped with Apple's custom T1 chip that authenticates and secures Touch ID and Apple Pay respectively, and it's possible the notebook could be updated with a newer chip that offloads even more tasks from the main Intel processor. MacBook models do not feature a custom co-processor, but unless Apple is planning to extend the Touch Bar to the 12-inch notebooks, it remains to be seen if there would be much necessity for a T-series chip. There's also a single rumor from DigiTimes, which doesn't have the most reliable track record, claiming Apple will release a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook in the second half of this year. It's unclear if this model would be a potential MacBook Air replacement, or where else it would

Apple 'Accelerating' Efforts to Catch Up With Self-Driving Competition, Expands California Fleet to 27 Vehicles

Apple has expanded its California fleet of self-driving vehicles from three registered last April to 27 as of early 2018, according to a new report posted by Bloomberg today and sourced from emails with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Following the first three vehicle registrations, from July 2017 to January 2018 Apple has registered 24 more Lexus RX450h sports utility vehicles in California as part of its self-driving tests. The company is believed to be "accelerating" efforts to catch up to one of the current leaders in the self-driving field, Alphabet's Waymo. One of Apple's previous self-driving Lexus vehicles spotted on the road last year Work on the "Apple Car" began circulating in rumors from early 2015, when reports of "Project Titan" emerged and pointed towards upwards of 1,000 employees working on developing an electric vehicle at a secret location near the company's Cupertino headquarters. Over time, the project pivoted away from Apple constructing a vehicle of its own to the development of a self-driving software system, which CEO Tim Cook confirmed last summer. We're focusing on autonomous systems," Cook said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. "It's a core technology that we view as very important." "We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects," Cook said in his most detailed comments to date on Apple's plans in the car space. "It's probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on." Now, Apple is said to be gearing up to compete with Waymo and its self-driving tests, which have currently expanded into

Twitter 'Taking Cues' From Snapchat and Testing Update That Makes the Camera More Accessible

Twitter is "experimenting" with a new update to its mobile iOS and Android apps that is said to make it easier for users to share videos and photos on the social network. According to people familiar with the matter, speaking with Bloomberg, the update is still in an early testing phase and could "change significantly" over the next few months, but comes at a time when Twitter is looking to attract more users and convince current users to stick around. The exact design of the update wasn't specified, but Twitter is said to have a working demo of a "camera-centered" update that will "entice people" to quickly and easily post video clips of what's happening near them. The current method of accessing the camera to post photos and videos on Twitter for iOS Bloomberg compared the description of the camera feature to Snapchat's mobile apps, which open to the camera first so users can quickly take snaps. In 2016, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted that the network can be confusing to newcomers and called Snapchat "very modern." To be clear, it doesn't appear that Twitter aims to launch "Twitter Stories," but is simply looking to rearrange its app in a way that allows for more prominent placement of the camera. Twitter Inc. is working on a new Snapchat-style feature that makes it easier to post videos on the social-media company’s app, according to people familiar with the matter, aiming to attract more users and cement a nascent turnaround. Social-media leader Facebook Inc. has famously copied innovations from Snap Inc.’s Snapchat, a mobile app focused on ephemeral

Apple Working on Redesigned Books App With 'Simpler' Interface and Overhauled Store

After changing the iBooks app to simply be called "Books" in the iOS 11.3 beta that released to developers yesterday, a new report out today by Mark Gurman at Bloomberg states that Apple is preparing to revamp the internals of the iPhone and iPad app as well. In an update coming in the next few months -- potentially with the public release of iOS 11.3 in the spring -- Apple will redesign Books with a "simpler" interface aimed at highlighting books you're currently reading in a "Reading Now" section. On the store side of things, Books will gain a marketplace that looks like the new iOS App Store that debuted in iOS 11, tying more of Apple's apps in together aesthetically. There will also be a dedicated tab for audio books. According to Gurman, this major update to Books is Apple's move to take on Amazon and the Kindle digital book market again. The Books redesign will come nearly five years after Apple and five publishers were found guilty of conspiring to inflate the prices of e-books to weaken Amazon's dominant position in the market. Apple is working on a redesigned version of its iBooks e-book reading application for iPhones and iPads and has hired an executive from Amazon to help. This will be the biggest upgrade to Apple’s e-book service in several years and provides renewed competition in a market that Amazon has dominated. In its preparation to fight against Amazon in the e-book market, Apple last month hired a senior vice president away from Amazon's Audible business. The VP, Kashif Zafar, had also previously worked at Barnes & Noble on its Nook

Apple Reportedly Met With Potential Suppliers of Augmented Reality Glasses at CES 2018

Apple representatives met with suppliers who make the type of parts required to power augmented reality glasses at CES this week, according to Bloomberg News.During CES, representatives from major players like Apple, Facebook, and Google met with suppliers that make the nuts and bolts required to power AR glasses, according to people familiar with the meetings.The report doesn't provide any additional details about the meetings, or what was discussed, but it's yet more anecdotal evidence that so-called "Apple Glasses" may one day go from rumor to reality. Bloomberg News has previously reported that Apple is working on an augmented reality headset that could launch by 2020. An early version is said to have a dedicated display, a built-in processor, and a custom operating system dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system," but many prototypes are thought to exist. The early November report said Apple hasn't finalized how users will control the headset and launch apps, but it is supposedly investigating touchscreens, Siri voice activation, and head gestures, likely among other ideas.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.At the time, Apple software engineers were said to be using HTC Vive headsets for internal testing purposes, while working on a device similar

Apple Working on EKG Heart Monitor for Future Apple Watch Models

Future Apple Watch models could include a sensor that allows for continuous electrocardiograph monitoring to better detect serious heart conditions, reports Bloomberg. Apple is said to be testing a version of the Apple Watch that records the electrical activity of the heart using two fingers on either side of the device, a test that is known as an electrocardiogram or EKG/ECG. With an EKG, sensors detect electrical changes in the skin caused by the rhythm of your heart beat. A version being tested requires users to squeeze the frame of the Apple Watch with two fingers from the hand that's not wearing the device, one of the people said. It then passes an imperceptible current across the person's chest to track electrical signals in the heart and detect any abnormalities like irregular heart rates.EKGs today are most often done in medical offices and hospitals, but there are some continuous-wear EKG monitors on the market for those who need more frequent monitoring. With the ability to detect irregular heart beats and other oddities, the Apple Watch would be able to better predict and monitor serious heart conditions. Such functionality has the potential to allow people to catch and treat heart problems early. Bloomberg says development is ongoing on the EKG functionality for the Apple Watch, and Apple could still decide to scrap it. With the first Apple Watch, Apple reportedly dropped several sensors because they weren't accurate enough. Apple has taken a deep interest in heart health in recent months, and in November launched a ResearchKit-based Apple Heart

Huawei and Xiaomi Could Get Major Boost in United States With AT&T and Verizon Sales Partnerships

Chinese smartphone makers Huawei and Xiaomi are reportedly in discussions with carriers AT&T and Verizon, who may begin selling each company's flagship Android smartphones in the United States as early as next year. The negotiations are still in progress, and it's possible no final agreements will materialize, according to Bloomberg News. The news echoes an earlier report from The Information that claimed AT&T has tentatively agreed to sell at least one Huawei smartphone, which was believed to be a high-end model resembling the company's flagship Mate 10 handset. A partnership with AT&T and/or Verizon would be a major win for Huawei, already the world's third largest smartphone maker by market share behind Samsung and Apple, which dominate the smartphone market in the United States. Huawei is the most popular smartphone maker in China, and it has aggressively pushed into Europe and Canada, but it has considerably less brand awareness in the United States since no major carriers sell its smartphones in the country. American customers currently have to resort to retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart, or Amazon to purchase a Huawei smartphone. If it wants to achieve its lofty goal of becoming the largest smartphone maker in the entire world by 2021, Huawei will almost certainly have to secure these types of agreements with AT&T, Verizon, and other carriers. Huawei remained in third place with an estimated 39.1 million smartphone shipments worldwide last quarter, according to research firm Strategy Analytics, while Apple reported sales of 46.7 million iPhones

Apple Reportedly Working on 3D Sensor System for Rear Camera in 2019 iPhones

Apple is developing 3D depth sensing technology for the rear-facing cameras in its 2019 iPhones, according to a new report by Bloomberg on Tuesday. The 3D sensor system will be different to the one found in the iPhone X's front-facing camera, and is said to be the next big step in turning the smartphone into a leading augmented reality device. Apple is evaluating a different technology from the one it currently uses in the TrueDepth sensor system on the front of the iPhone X, the people said. The existing system relies on a structured-light technique that projects a pattern of 30,000 laser dots onto a user's face and measures the distortion to generate an accurate 3D image for authentication. The planned rear-facing sensor would instead use a time-of-flight approach that calculates the time it takes for a laser to bounce off surrounding objects to create a three-dimensional picture of the environment.The existing TrueDepth camera would continue to be used in the front-facing camera of future iPhones in order to power Face ID, while the new system would bring the more advanced "time-of-flight" 3D sensing capability to the rear camera, according to the sources cited. Discussions with manufacturers are reportedly already underway, and include Infineon, Sony, STMicroelectronics, and Panasonic. Testing is said to be still in the early stages, and could end up not being used in the phones at all. With the release of iOS 11, Apple introduced the ARKit software framework that allows iPhone developers to build augmented reality experiences into their apps. The addition of a

Apple Developing Redesigned 2018 iPad With Face ID, Slimmer Bezels and No Home Button

Apple is working on a new high-end 2018 iPad that will adopt many of the design elements from the revamped iPhone X, reports Bloomberg. The new tablet device, which is likely to be a "Pro" model, will reportedly do away with the Home button. iPad Pro render via Benjamin Geskin It will feature slimmer edges, a faster processor, a custom Apple-built GPU, and built-in support for Face ID, allowing it to be unlocked with a facial scan much like the iPhone X. With Face ID, there's no need for a Touch ID Home button.By removing the home button, Apple plans to noticeably reduce the size of the edges on the top and bottom of the device for the first time since its introduction in 2010, bringing the design closer to that of the recently released flagship iPhone X. The new version will mark the first revamped look for the iPad since the first iPad Pro debuted in 2015.While the new 2018 iPad is said to be adopting many iPhone X features, Bloomberg's sources do not believe it will feature an OLED display. Instead, it will continue to use an LCD, likely because Apple suppliers are still working on ramping up OLED production. Samsung continues to be the only display maker capable of producing OLED displays suitable for an iPad, but technical and financial constraints will prevent Apple from adopting OLED at this time. iPad Pro render via Benjamin Geskin A new version of its Apple Pencil and new "software tools" for using the stylus are also said to be in development alongside the new iPad model. According to Bloomberg, the revamped iPad is expected to be released "a little

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