11 September 2019
Apple is rumored to be working on its own augmented reality (AR) headset for quite long but most recently in July 2019, a Digitimes report emerged claiming that the project has been suspended and people working on the same have been moved to other teams and projects. But now, MacRumors has found evidence suggesting that Apple's AR headset is still under development and might be closer to an official release.
The team got access to an internal iOS 13 build which had references to a new app called STARTester. It is aimed at enabling or disabling the head-mounted mode on the iPhone. This is expected to help with the testing as it will allow the iPhone to simulate an AR headset performance. This particular mode has two further states for AR headset being worn and being held.
During further investigation, the team came across a new README file which spilled even more beans. It mentions a system shell named StarBoard meant for stereo AR-enabled apps and device codename "Garta". It is not confirmed but this device could be the AR headset from Apple. Some other references that have been spotted are StarBoard mode along with views and scenes. There are also strings featuring the word "AR" which are another piece of evidence related to the existence of an AR headset in development.
As mentioned in the beginning, this is not the first time that we are hearing about Apple working on an AR headset. There have reported that Apple might announce one as soon as 2020 which means by the end of this year. The team is also reported to be developing a new operating system which will be called rOS (Reality Operating System). It is possible that the OS would be used for both VR and AR experiences and devices.
Apple has already debuted ARKit 2 earlier this year which shows that it is quite serious and committed towards AR space. In other words, we should be expecting an official announcement anytime in the near future regarding an Apple AR headset.