Just yesterday we highlighted a new patent from Apple for eye-tracking in a VR/AR headset — the latest in a long string of breadcrumbs from the company indicating spatial computing continues to be an area of extreme interest.
Today, a report from CNET writer Shara Tibken, citing an unnamed source, suggests Apple is targeting a 2020 release for what sounds like a combination AR/VR headset “that would be untethered from a computer or smartphone.”
The headset would use an ultra high-speed short-range wireless technology to perform processing tasks in a box set up somewhere nearby, the report suggested. So this device wouldn’t be a standalone VR headset akin to what we’re seeing with Oculus Go or Santa Cruz. We are expecting a roll-out of WiGig-based accessories this year to enable wireless high-fidelity VR systems, but the report suggests a second generation of this kind of technology might be more in line with Apple’s timing.
The project carries the “T288” codename, according to the report, and they are hoping to put an 8K display in the system for each eye.
Altogether, the details paint a picture of what is primarily a VR headset in development at Apple. It aims to provide an incredible increase in resolution over current systems, while using the nearby box to do processing and keep the goggles or glasses as lightweight as possible. The headset also apparently features certain AR characteristics, but if it requires a box nearby it is unlikely to be used (at least in the first generation) outside the home or office.
Overall, the description sounds like a plausible outline of a headset in development at Apple. Of course, plans change and it could get cancelled altogether if Apple executives decide the finished device doesn’t meet expectations. Also, if the device really does require a box nearby, then I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple is developing separate AR-focused prototype eyewear that is meant to be worn outside the home.