Apple applies for two new AR patents adding fuel to rumors that it’s readying the release of its first-ever headset
- Apple has applied for two new patents having to do with AR technology
- The patents seem to further confirm the company’s interest in a headset
- Code found in iOS 13 describes support for a device code-named ‘Garta’
- Multiple reports suggest that the device could be released as soon as 2020
- Apple has been rumored to be developing AR glasses for at least several years
More details have surfaced regarding an augmented reality headset that is reportedly being developed by Apple.
A patent application from the company shows that the company is pursing a technology described as a ‘Display Device’ that uses a decidedly futuristic-sounding ‘reflective holographic combiner.’
Apple seems to think that this holographic technology — which is apparently capable of reflecting light in one’s environment — could more seamlessly blend objects rendered in the headset’s display, increasing the depth-of-field and combating the resulting eyestrain and nausea often associated with AR and VR technology.
Apple has introduced two new patents for AR technology that have added fuel to rumors that it is developing a first-of-its-kind headset
Apple has increasingly moved into augmented reality technology. In 2017, it launched AR Kit, an augmented reality platform for developers to create apps and other software using the tech
As reported by Apple Insider, the technology may also eliminate the need for some moving parts, subsequently simplifying the design and allowing for an unorthodox flat front lens as opposed to the characteristic curved lenses of other AR headsets like the Magic Leap or Microsoft’s Hololens.
A second patent also outlines an ‘image enhancement’ system that involves a gaze-tracking element which can operate the device with one’s eyes as well as a camera to read the wearer’s surroundings.
Both patents come after MacRumors reported seeing documentation for an internal iOS 13 build laying out support for an augmented reality headset.
Those documents show evidence of what MacRumors reports is a mysterious ‘STARTester’ app which can switch to a head-mounted mode as well as code designed to run stereo-enabled AR apps which the outlet said implies the existence of a headset.
Documents also suggest that Apple may have a prototype of the device which is reportedly code-named ‘Garta.’
Revelations about the augmented reality framework inside iOS 13 contradict prior reports in July that suggested that Apple had suspended its AR program entirely.
Reports in April have hinted at a headset that is also capable of operating independently of an iPhone. Those reports suggest that the device can run full virtual reality and is equipped with an 8K display for each eye.
Multiple outlets including CNET and Bloomberg have reported that the device could be ready as soon as 2020, so it’s possible the code is just a small snippet of what may be a more substantial release from the company in the year ahead.
Apple has long been rumored to be developing its own pair of augmented reality glasses.
In February, the tech giant filed a new patent that gives a glimpse into what it may be developing behind closed doors.
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Apple has long been rumored to be developing its own pair of AR glasses. The tech giant has filed a patent this year that gives a glimpse into what it may be developing behind closed doors
The patent, titled ‘Systems, Methods and Graphical User Interfaces for Interacting With Augmented and Virtual Reality Environments’ describes the creation of a virtual user interface that can be used on a device resembling an iPhone, as well as a wireless headset.
These items would then ‘provide a live view of at least a portion of the contents that are within the field of view of the cameras and optionally generate video outputs.’
Users would then operate a ‘touch-sensitive device’ to interact with ‘augmented reality environments.’
Augmented reality technology includes the process of overlaying 3D graphics into real-world environments.
This differs from virtual reality, wherein the user is completely immersed in a virtual environment.
A previous patent details a virtual user interface that can be used on a device like an iPhone or a headset. Users would interact with AR environments using a touchscreen device (pictured)
Apple has previously filed patents concerning an AR headset.
Last year, the firm described using a mixed reality headset for image editing, drawing, presenting, making phone calls, video conferences, emailing, workout demos, photography, web browsing and other uses.
A separate patent filed in 2017 described the creation of an AR headset.
Last month, Apple began offering a series of art-based augmented reality experiences at its stores around the world.
The company collaborated with seven lauded contemporary artists including Nick Cave, Cao Fei, Carsten Höller and Pipilotti Rist to create what it called [AR]T Walk.
By pointing an iPhone at objects in specified locations, users were able to take a walking tour through various cities and watch digital works art come alive in physical spaces.
APPLE’S AR GLASSES PATENT
There has been speculation that Apple is developing an AR headset that may work in tandem with the iPhone.
Catcher Technology, a Taiwanese company that manufactures metal casings for Apple products, may also make parts for Apple’s AR glasses.
In an interview with Nikkei Asian Review, Allen Horng, the chairman of Catcher Technology, did not confirm what project his company is working on, but there has been speculation that it’s working on Apple’s AR product given that the company already works with Apple on its product casings.
Apple filed a patent in 2017 for a head-mounted, touch-screen display that could work with an iPhone. The firm made its first step into the AR world with the launch of ARKit
The Apple AR glasses patent details a head-mounted, touch-screen display that could work alongside an iPhone.
It also presents a way of representing points of interest (a landmark or an object such as a moving car) in a view of a real environment on an iPhone screen, with interaction functionality.
As such, the iPhone could potentially connect to the AR headset, allowing the wearer to see point of interest in real time.
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