In recent code that was released with the final version of the iOS beta from Apple, there was hinting of an AR headset being testing with the iPhone as the main function inside of this headset. There has been rumblings about a headset from Apple in the past, but this is the most realistic release we have seen yet.
If you go the readme files inside of the new release, the mentioning of a stereoscopic AR app that would be ran through the phone for the headset is announced. Although this doesn’t mean Apple is releasing their headset, as there was no announcement of it yesterday, we know that the technology is being produced for the newest iPhone models.
The system that is going to be responsible for the AR capabilities is named Starboard and is the “System for Stereo AR enabled apps.” You can check out the screenshot from the readme filed below.
Also included in the screenshot above, you can see that the app can be in and out of “HME mode”, which could mean many things. If you don’t have a headset, can you still experience the AR? The meaning of HME is unknown, but it seems like it could be just a shorter way to say Head Mounted Experience. It isn’t a display, but more of an experience that Apple is trying to give their loyal customers.
The text also says that this is going to be an internal Apple app, but it hints at the idea that the technology will be wide open for third-party app developers to use this feature. There is also going to be an option for application developers to have Apple simply put their game into a AR gaming mode for them. This would be a win for both parties, as their app would pick up more popularity and fans, as the AR head mounted experience will receive more attention.
iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith says the technology will also be able to work with a ‘GameController’, although this has been in the works for some time with the readme files in the beta and public operating systems. This controller is for “a device meant to be used while using stereo AR apps,” according to Troughton Smith.
None of this means Apple planning on releasing a headset though. They had code and plans to release a charging pad and even announced a shipping date that never actually launched too. This could be exactly what it seems like. Some code to help the employees figure the future of Apple and AR, and not much more than that. There also haven’t been any renderings of any sort of headset that has been leaked either. This doesn’t meant that there isn’t one, but it wouldn’t come as too big of a surprise to see the headset be made by a third party. It could be very much like Google Cardboard or the very first mobile phone virtual reality headsets.
It does make sense for this to be augmented reality though. As the new “Pro Edition” iPhone has a whopping field of view of 110° on the cameras in the back. This would make it a perfect device for putting the phone right in front of your face as it changes the reality you see in front of you. The Pro Edition also has the ability to get much more bright than any competing phone or older iPhone models in the past. Don’t forget, Apple has another event coming this fall. This could all be in preparation of a phone inside of a head mounted experience very soon. For more AR and VR news, make sure to check back at VRGear.com.