Apple publicly demoed a number of strange and exciting augmented reality apps created with its new ARKit developer framework over the last few months. Its bullish attitude toward the emerging technology led to speculation that the mobile giant will start building AR hardware.
It appears the rumors are true. Apple is hoping to complete the development of its own augmented reality headset by 2019, according to a report from Bloomberg.
The news shouldn’t come as a surprise. Apple CEO Tim Cook has been outspoken about his excitement for the technology. He recently compared it to virtual reality in an interview with Good Morning America. “My own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far, because this gives the capability for both of us to sit and be very present talking to each other, but also have other things visually for both of us to see.”
Cook also said in a recent earnings report that augmented reality, which overlays digital images onto the real world, will “change the way we use technology forever.”
We don’t know too many details about the headset, but it sounds like it will be a direct competitor to Microsoft Hololens. Unlike most current mobile-based virtual reality setups, which fully immerse a user in a digital world, Apple’s headset will have its own display, operating system, and system-on-a-chip (SoC).
Apple engineers are reportedly experimenting with ways to interact with the headset, either by voice, touch, or head gestures. They are also developing a range of apps, from messaging to mapping to 360-degree video playback.
If Cook is right, the next big disruptor in technology could be coming sooner than expected.