Apple is working on new augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) devices for future release, Bloomberg reports. According to people familiar with these projects, Apple will release a headset with both VR and AR capabilities that will have a focus on gaming, as well as watching videos and engaging in virtual meetings. This headset is supposed to come out in 2021 or 2022.
Following the headset, Apple plans to also release AR glasses, which could come as early as 2023. The headset was originally supposed to be finished in 2019 to be release in 2020, but the company pushed it back, according to Bloomberg’s anonymous source. The Information reports these devices were first announced within the company at an internal October meeting with Apple executives.
These devices will build upon a new 3D sensor system that will reportedly come with the next iPad Pro, which will release as early as the first half of 2020. This new sensor system will come from a small hole beside the two camera sensors and will allow people to reconstruct rooms, objects, and people three-dimensionally on their device. According to Bloomberg’s source, this system will be available on the new iPhones released later in 2020. It has been in development within the company for several years and can be described as “a more advanced version of the Face ID sensor.”
There are about 1000 engineers working on the AR and VR initiative, led by vice president Mike Rockwell, which is part of Apple’s hardware engineering division. The team includes ex-NASA engineers, former game developers, and graphics experts.
It’s not clear yet how these AR and VR devices will cater to gaming, but it may be compatible with Apple Arcade, Apple’s gaming subscription service that launched back in September. At the very least, Bloomberg suspects the headset and glasses will join Apple’s growing number of wearable devices, which includes the Watch and AirPods, in generating more revenue for the company when there’s a slowdown in iPhone sales.