Apple Readying Augmented-Reality Glasses For 2020 Launch

Apple is building augmented reality glasses that overlay the digital world on top of the real world Report

Apple publicly demoed a number of unusual and exciting augmented reality apps created with its new ARKit developer framework over the last few months.

Apple is ramping up its development of augmented reality (AR) hardware, according to a new Bloomberg report.

The 3:59 gives you bite-size news and analysis about the top stories of the day, brought to you by the CNET News team in NY and producer Bryan VanGelder. Apple officially unveiled ARKit at its developer conference earlier this year, and has since integrated into iOS 11, the most recent version of its mobile operating system.

Apple was not immediately available for comment.

It is no secret that Apple is now infatuated with augmented reality technology. Cook believes that augmented reality will be able to change the current use of technology. In other words, it would be a standalone device - and wouldn't rely on a smartphone to power it, like most headsets now on the market.

Citing unnamed sources "familiar with the situation", Bloomberg reports that Cupertino is moving ahead with the development of an AR headset, which it aims to start selling by 2020-a loose deadline that could be pushed back. As expected, Apple will be using its own SoC design to power the headset, rather than relying on a third-party to make a chip that meets its requirements/expectations. Many had thought the iPhone X would have more augmented reality capability, but its key 3D sensing kit is on the front of the device to detect faces for unlocking and animation.

Apple is searching for its next killer product, and hopes an augmented reality headset might fit the bill. The OS that the Apple AR headset would use will be specially designed, and is being referred to as the "rOS" or "reality operating system". The headset will have its own display and use a custom system-on-a-chip, just like the Apple Watch now does.

As for input, the company is allegedly experimenting with touch panels, voice activation serviced by Siri and head gestures. For now, Apple hasn't finalized how users will control the handset and launch apps. For launch apps, engineers are said to be already prototyping a range of applications that involves mapping, texting, holding virtual meetings and watching 360-degree videos.

Apple will also likely play up the user experience-"bringing together technology in such a way that's interesting, useful and easy to use", Nguyen said. Instead, he wants Apple "to be the best". AR on smartphones is seen as a first step toward consumer adoption of the technology.

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