Bloomber is reporting that Apple is looking to expand its business into VR and AR and might release a headset that combines virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in 2021 or 2022. This headset would have a “focus on gaming.”
Bloomberg added that Apple currently employs a team of around 1,000 engineers who are working on the company’s various VR and AR projects. The team is said to be made up of executives who previously worked on Apple’s gaming projects and with them are former game developers and graphics “experts”. The team is apparantly working from a “nondescript area” close to Apple’s main HQ in Cupertino, California.
The new VR and AR technology will reportedly join other existing Apple wearable products such as AirPods, Beats headphones, and the Apple Watch.
CEO Tim Cook has talked up AR for some time, and the technology is the core of Apple’s next big hardware push beyond the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. The new 3D sensor system will be the centerpiece of this. It has been in development inside Apple for several years and is a more advanced version of the Face ID sensor on the front of Apple’s latest mobile devices, said the people.
The Bloomberg report also claims that Apple is working on a new iPad for release in 2020 that would feature two camera sensors and a “small hole” for a new “3D system” that would allow people to create 3D models of objects, people, and rooms. This technology is also said to be introduced in high-end iPhones in 2020.
Microsoft has already taken the lead having created a “mixed reality” headset that incorporates VR and AR called HoloLens. The headset could have interesting applications for gaming, but right now Microsoft is focusing on commercial instead of consumer use. In 2018, the US government paid Microsoft around $500 million for a contract to use HoloLens headsets to create new military equipment.