Apple Inc.’s long-await mixed reality headset is moving closer to fruition with a report claiming that its operating system has been given a new name ahead of an expected debut next year.
Apple guru Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, referencing people with knowledge of the matter, claims that the name of the OS that will power the headset has been changed from “realityOS” to “xrOS.” The “XR” stands for extended reality, a term encompassing both augmented and virtual reality, or what others have previously referred to as mixed reality.
Features of the OS are said to include new versions of core apps such as Messages and Maps. xrOS will also offer a software development kit allowing third parties to create their own apps and games.
Gurman also refers to recent Apple job listings that suggest that Apple is looking to create its own 3D-based “mixed-reality world,” which is somewhat surprising as Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has previously stated that he doesn’t like the “metaverse.” The metaverse refers to virtual reality platforms where people can interact, work, shop and play games.
Other features expected with the headset include virtual collaboration tools and a VR version of FaceTime that will rival Meta Platforms Inc.’s Horizon Workrooms.
Reports of a possible Apple headset date back to at least 2015, with the headset described in a report in May as struggling because of internal politics. The operating system name change is somewhat surprising as it was reported in August that an Apple subsidiary had trademarked the word “Reality,” along with “Reality One,” “Reality Pro” and “Reality Processor” in the U.S., the EU, the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica and Uruguay.
The headset itself may still end up being called Reality or a variation on the theme, but typically Apple devices have part of their names in their OS names, such as iOS, tvOS, macOS and watchOS.
While “next year” is when the headset may debut, reports had also previously suggested that it would debut this year. As of August, the speculated debut date by acclaimed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Cho is January, with models retailing for somewhere around the $2,000 to $2,5000 range.
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