We’ve heard rumors that Apple is working on some kind of augmented reality headset for years now, and those rumors have started building steam. Certain builds of iOS 13 are packed with references to what looks like AR headsets, either in the form of glasses or a face-mounted display like the Google Daydream (or both).
The most credible rumors suggest we may see whatever Apple’s been working on within a matter of months, and so we’ve compiled those reports in one handy spot so you’ll know what to expect.
Apple may be working with Valve on an AR headset
According to a new report from the often unreliable DigiTimes (via MacRumors), Apple is working with Valve to release a headset that will drop in the second half of next year. While sketchy, this would at least be in line with a report from trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who said in October that Apple is working with third-party brands to release a headset that would drop in 2020.
Valve would definitely be a valuable partner for Apple, as it became one of the big players in this decade’s revival of virtual reality when it partnered with HTC to release the acclaimed HTC Vive. In April, it released its own headset called the Valve Index, which our sister publication PCWorld called “the new bar for VR headsets.” Valve is also the creator of the popular digital game storefront Steam and the developer of popular games like Half-Life 2 and Portal 2.
This also wouldn’t be the first time the two companies have worked together. Back in 2017, Valve and Apple worked together to bring support for virtual reality to macOS High Sierra, mainly with the support for external GPUs. In 2017, when rumors about the AR headsets were still new, Bloomberg reported that Apple employees were using HTC Vive headsets for testing.
According to the new report, this rumored project with Valve will focus entirely on augmented rather than virtual reality, as Apple “CEO Tim Cook believes that AR can make digital content become part of the user’s world and will be as popular as smartphones with consumers.”
Keep in mind, though, that DigiTimes is also the outlet that reported in July that Apple had disbanded its AR and VR teams and assigned them to other projects. Judging from the frequency of AR rumors dropping afterward, that never happened—or at least the reassignments weren’t as extensive as reported.
Apple’s AR glasses may appear in 2020
On October 19, Bloomberg released a report claiming that Apple had “targeted” 2020 for the release of its AR headset, although no specifics about the date were given beyond that. This suggests Apple is on track with the project, as Bloomberg claimed we could see the headset in 2020 all the way back in 2017.
Well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was more specific about the timing, as he claimed we’d likely see Apple’s AR glasses sometime in the second quarter of 2020, echoing a similar prediction of his from March.