Apple’s board of directors last week got a glimpse of a mixed reality headset capable of both augmented and virtual reality. Engineers at the Cupertino-based tech giant are hard at work on an operating system for the device, Bloomberg said in a report.
However, while this doesn’t mean Apple will announce the headset at its developer conference in June, it indicates that an announcement might be close.
Apple’s board, historically, sees devices shortly before an announcement, Bloomberg said in the report. Apple’s board got an early demo of Siri in 2011.
Apple is unlikely to want to go all in on software development before the hardware is near completion so that it knows the features and software to build. As part of that effort, Apple has “ramped up development” of “Reality OS,” or rOS, the operating system these headsets will run, Bloomberg reported.
Apple has been working on a mixed reality headset for a while. According to a recent report by The Information, board members also got to demo a few prototype AR/VR devices in 2016. While the report does clarify that these were early-stage devices, made mostly as a proof of concept and to get funding. Bloomberg reported that the headset’s consumer release was planned for late 2022 or early 2023 and it is likely that the one shown off was much closer to its final state.
Leaks suggest that the headset would be capable of both a complete immersive experience of virtual content as well as adding virtual elements to the real world. The Information reported it would have AirPods Max-esque fabric mesh and a headband resembling a fancy Apple Watch loop.
Rumours from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggest that the headset will be powered by an M1-class chip. This seems to track an earlier Bloomberg report that said Apple had to push back the announcement due to “challenges related to content and overheating” and difficulties getting the cameras right.