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article imageReport: Apple to launch AR headset in 2020

By James Walker     Nov 8, 2017 in Technology
Apple will launch an augmented reality headset in 2020 according to an informed report today. The company is plotting an all-new wearable device that will function independently of a smartphone and run on a new chip and operating system.
Apple's known to be planning for the post-smartphone future and has repeatedly signalled it believes augmented reality to be the next big thing. This year's launch of ARKit with iOS 11 has laid down the groundwork for future development of the technology. According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple's working towards a dedicated AR headset that could one day succeed the iPhone and will be launched at the start of the next decade.
"Aggressive" timetable
Apple's set out a "very aggressive" timetable to build the device, anonymous people "familiar with the situation" told Bloomberg. The company wants to have the headset's core technologies completed by 2019. It will then be left with around a year to fine-tune, test and tweak the headset before a public unveiling in 2020. If the plans go ahead, the result could become Apple's most significant new device in years.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously explained his interest in AR as a less isolating alternative to VR. He considers the ability to overlay visuals on the real world as superior to creating a closed-off digital environment.
Apple s iOS 11
Apple's iOS 11
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Cook recently acknowledged the calls for Apple to build an AR headset or smart glasses, saying he "doesn't give a rats" about being the first to the idea. He didn't outright deny the rumours though, instead explaining there are technological issues preventing AR going mainstream this decade.
"I can tell you that the technology itself doesn't exist to do [AR glasses] in a quality way," Cook said to Vogue in October after dismissing "rumours and gossip" about the idea.
"We don't give a rats about being first, we want to be best in creating people's experiences. Something that you would see out in the market any time soon would not be something that any of us would be satisfied with."
Technological challenges
The headset's said to be in development under the codename "T288." Multiple challenges remain unsolved, including designing a wireless device that can display AR visuals for long enough without depleting the battery.
Work is ongoing on a dedicated processor for the device and designs have been commenced for its "rOS" operating system, short for "reality operating system." Bloomberg said "several hundred" engineers have been assigned to the overall project.
Apple is aiming to reinvent the smartphone  once again  with its new iPhone X released on November 3...
Apple is aiming to reinvent the smartphone, once again, with its new iPhone X released on November 3, 2017.
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With the public launch still so distant, the design and functionality of the device are a long way off being confirmed. Apple will use the interim time to get consumers familiar with augmented reality using ARKit on the iPhone.
The company will continue to develop the system over the next few years, including the release of more advanced software tools in 2018. This will give developers new options when creating AR apps, helping to get consumers hooked on the concept.
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