Xcode 11 GM Confirms Apple’s Work on AR Headset

Code found in the golden master version of Xcode 11 confirms that Apple is working on an augmented reality headset of some kind, and perhaps planned to announce it at the event but scrapped the debut last minute.

9to5Mac's Guilherme Rambo and developer Steve Troughton-Smith found that Xcode 11 features an ARDisplayDevice framework with references to codenamed Apple headsets that are in development, including Franc, Luck, and Garta (which pertains to HoloKit, a third-party device).

An Apple Glasses mockup

References to these names were previously discovered in iOS 13 code alongside a STARTester app able to switch in and out of a head-mounted mode, replicating the functionality of an augmented reality headset on an iPhone for testing purposes.







There was also a reference to a StarBoard system shell for stereo AR-enabled apps, which has also been located in the Xcode 11 GM by developer Steve Troughton-Smith, along with a ReadMe file that specifically references an Apple "HME" headset.

It's not entirely clear what Apple is working on, but as 9to5Mac outlined last week, the stereo augmented reality data found in the iOS 13 and Xcode 11 GM code references support for a face-mounted AR experience said to be more similar to Google's Daydream than a pair of smart glasses.

The fact that Apple left this code in the Xcode 11 GM suggests that it was perhaps something that the company originally planned to talk about today, though it's not known if that is indeed the case.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

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Apple Watch Sleep Tracking, Schooltime Mode, AR/VR Headset Icon, and More Revealed in iOS 13 Code

Over the past few days, MacRumors has published several details about Apple's upcoming Tile competitor and its development of an augmented reality headset after receiving an internal build of iOS 13 from a source.


Digging further into the code, we have come across several other tidbits of information related to the Apple Watch and iPhone.

First, it appears Apple is working on a new Schooltime feature for the Apple Watch, which is designed to help students focus during school hours by blocking access to apps, complications, and notifications on the device. Emergency calls and alerts will not be blocked for safety reasons.

Users can set when Schooltime is enabled in the Apple Watch app on iPhone, such as every weekday.

Apple is also testing sleep tracking on the Watch, as reported by 9to5Mac earlier today. We can confirm this functionality is referred to as "Time in Bed tracking" based on internal iOS 13 code, with one string noting that "you can also track your sleep and get woken up silently by wearing your watch to bed."

A new Sleep app on the Apple Watch will provide users with an overview of their sleeping patterns, as well as send users bedtime and battery charging reminders. Apple Watch users will be recommended to have at least 30 percent of battery life to wear it to sleep, according to an iOS 13 string seen by MacRumors.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman was first to report that Apple was testing sleep tracking on the Apple Watch. Back in February, he said Apple plans to roll out the feature by 2020 if the testing is deemed successful. This follows Apple's acquisition of the iPhone-connected sleep tracking accessory Beddit in 2017.

MacRumors has also uncovered references to new Apple Watch complications, including ones for Altitude, Latitude, Longitude, and Sleep. When released, the Sleep app may also have an entire watch face, based on a "ClockFaces-Burrito" string. "Burrito" is the codename for the Apple Watch's sleep tracking.

As for the iPhone, internal strings in iOS 13 point towards new low-light photo settings in the stock Camera app and possibly a new Tournaments feature in Game Center for multiplayer games, although details are slim.

Earlier today, MacRumors uncovered an icon within Apple's internal Find My app that depicts what appears to be an AR or VR headset. There are "on" and "off" versions of the icon in white and gray respectively, and each has "B389" in its filename, the codename for Apple's upcoming Tile-like item trackers.


This icon could simply represent the expected augmented reality mode in the Find My app and likely does not depict Apple's actual augmented reality headset. Read our earlier coverage for more details on that project.

MacRumors continues to dig through the iOS 13 build, which is from June, and we will be sure to share any further discoveries.

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iOS 13 Code Suggests Apple Testing AR Headset With ‘StarBoard’ Mode, ‘Garta’ Codename, and More

Apple has long been rumored to be working on an augmented reality headset or glasses, and despite a recent DigiTimes report claiming the project had been suspended, documentation seen by MacRumors in an internal build of iOS 13 suggests development of a head-mounted augmented reality display has continued.

Apple Glasses concept

Namely, internal builds of iOS 13 include a "STARTester" app that can switch in and out of a head-mounted mode, presumably to replicate the functionality of an augmented reality headset on an iPhone for testing purposes. There are two head-mounted states for testing, including "worn" and "held."

There is also an internal README file in iOS 13 that describes a "StarBoard" system shell for stereo AR-enabled apps, which implies a headset of some kind. The file also suggests Apple is developing an augmented reality device codenamed "Garta," possibly as one of several prototypes under the "T288" umbrella.

Digging further into the internal iOS 13 code, we uncovered numerous strings related to a so-called "StarBoard mode" and various "views" and "scenes." Many of the strings reference augmented reality, including "ARStarBoardViewController" and "ARStarBoardSceneManager."

Multiple sources have claimed that Apple plans to release augmented reality glasses as early as 2020, including analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, CNET, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who in November 2017 reported that Apple's headset would run a custom iOS-based operating system dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system."

Apple CEO Tim Cook has talked up the prospect of augmented reality several times, saying he views AR as "profound" because the technology "amplifies human performance instead of isolating humans."

Steve Moser contributed to this report.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

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Apple Shifts ‘Bug Wrangler’ to AR Team to ‘Bring Some Order’ to AR Headset Development

Apple has moved one of its software executives over to the division developing an augmented reality headset with the intent of bringing "some order" to the team, reports The Information.

Kim Vorrath, who has led program management on the software development team for over 15 years, has now moved over to the AR and virtual reality team, headed up by Mike Rockwell. Rockwell oversees close to a dozen people working on AR and VR software and hardware.

An Apple Glasses concept

According to The Information, Vorrath was a "powerful force" on the software team, making sure employees met deadlines while also testing software to find and fix bugs. She could bring some of that same expertise to the AR team as it works to develop software for the augmented reality headset that's rumored to be in the works.

Earlier this month, a report from DigiTimes suggested Apple had disbanded the team working on an augmented reality glasses project and had assigned them to other products, but it's not clear if that's accurate, especially given the new report from The Information about Vorrath's move.

Over the course of the last couple of years, multiple sources have said that Apple is working on augmented reality glasses. Bloomberg in 2017 said that the glasses could launch as early as 2020, though a source that spoke to The Information says it is unclear if the team will meet that deadline.

There are some mixed rumors about Apple's work on an AR/VR headset, suggesting multiple products are in the works and being tested. Bloomberg believes Apple is working on a headset that will use custom iOS-based "rOS" (reality operating system) software, and Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said Apple will market its smart glasses as an iPhone accessory.

CNET in April 2018 said that Apple is working on an augmented reality headset that features an 8K display for each eye and that is untethered from a computer or smartphone, connecting instead to a "dedicated box" over high-speed short-range WiGig technology.

It's unclear what kind of project Apple will ultimately come out with given the various rumors we've heard, but it sounds like there still may be a headset or glasses in the works despite the rumors of the AR headset team being disbanded.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

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DigiTimes Says Apple AR Glasses Have Reportedly Been ‘Terminated’

Apple has reportedly "terminated" development of its widely rumored augmented reality glasses project, according to DigiTimes.


Multiple sources have claimed that Apple planned to release augmented reality glasses as early as 2020, including well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, and CNET, so if the DigiTimes report is accurate, this would reflect a cancellation of a major hardware project on Apple's roadmap.


DigiTimes has a mixed track record in relation to reporting on Apple's future plans, but it appears to be citing another report in this case. However, the DigiTimes story is currently paywalled behind its "Before Going to Press" section, so we'll have to wait for specific details to be made public.

Kuo said Apple's glasses would be marketed as an iPhone accessory and primarily take a display role while wirelessly offloading computing, networking, and positioning to the iPhone. He believed mass production could begin at some point between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the second quarter of 2020.

In November 2017, Gurman reported that Apple's headset would run a custom iOS-based operating system dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system." At the time, he said Apple had not finalized how users would control the headset, but possibilities included touchscreens, Siri voice activation, and head gestures.

Gurman and other sources previously reported that Apple was working several different wearable augmented reality prototypes under the umbrella code name of "T288," so it is still possible that a product of some kind could be released.

Apple has been exploring virtual reality and augmented reality technologies for more than 10 years based on patent filings. The company is also rumored to have a secret research unit comprising hundreds of employees working on AR and VR, exploring ways the emerging technologies could be used in future Apple products.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has talked up the prospect of augmented reality several times, saying he views AR as "profound" because the technology "amplifies human performance instead of isolating humans."

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

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Apple Hires Jaunt VR Founder Arthur van Hoff

Apple this month added Jaunt VR founder Arthur van Hoff to its AR/VR team, according to van Hoff's updated LinkedIn profile that was first noticed by Variety.

Van Hoff is now working as a senior architect at Apple, with no other detail provided. His company, Jaunt VR, created VR capture hardware, including a $100,000 3D VR camera, the Jaunt One.


Rumors of troubles at the company started in 2018, and in October, Jaunt VR let go of much of its staff, pivoting from VR hardware to augmented reality. Jaunt is now focusing on building a platform for the scaled creation of AR content.

At the time, van Hoff said he would be leaving Jaunt by the end of 2018, and it appears he ended up at Apple instead. It's not clear specifically what he's doing at the Cupertino company, but given his expertise in AR and VR, he's likely joined Apple's augmented and virtual reality efforts.

Prior to founding Jaunt, van Hoff was CTO of Flipboard, software and services CTO at Dell, and an engineer at TiVo.

Rumors have suggested Apple is working on developing a set of AR smart glasses, which could be released as soon as 2020. Apple also has other AR/VR prototypes in the works, and there have been mixed rumors that have also pointed towards the possibility of some kind of virtual reality hardware product in the future.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

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Kuo: Apple’s AR Glasses to Launch in 2020 as iPhone Accessory

Apple's first rumored head-mounted augmented reality device could be ready by the middle of next year, according to a new report out today from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via Economic Daily News [Google Translate]).

A fanciful mockup of digital glasses via TechAcute

According to Kuo, Apple's AR glasses will be marketed as an iPhone accessory and primarily take a display role while wirelessly offloading computing, networking, and positioning to the iPhone.

Designing the AR glasses to work as an iPhone accessory is also expected to allow Apple to keep the glasses slim and lightweight, rather than trying to pack in all the processing hardware into the one device.

Kuo believes Apple is aiming to begin mass-producing the glasses as early as the fourth quarter of this year, although he admits the timeframe could be pushed back to the second quarter of 2020.

Back in November 2017, Bloomberg reported that Apple was developing an AR headset and aimed to have it ready by 2019, although the company could ship a product in 2020. The report said the headset would run on a new custom operating system, based on iOS, and dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system."

Apple has been exploring virtual reality and augmented reality technologies for more than 10 years based on patent filings. The company is also rumored to have a secret research unit comprising hundreds of employees working on AR and VR, exploring ways the emerging technologies could be used in future Apple products.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has talked up the prospect of augmented reality several times, saying he views AR as "profound" because the technology "amplifies human performance instead of isolating humans."

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

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Apple Outlines How Augmented Reality Glasses Could Overlay Points of Interest

Multiple reports suggest that Apple is developing an augmented reality headset or glasses that could be released by 2020 or 2021, and a newly granted Apple patent may provide some broad clues about potential features.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted Apple a patent describing a "method for representing points of interest in a view of a real environment on a mobile device," and while there is no specific mention of so-called Apple Glasses, the patent describes a "head-mounted display."


As with many other augmented reality devices, the head-mounted display would be able to overlay computer-generated virtual information onto a view of the real environment. More specifically, the headset would have a camera that is able to identify and annotate points of interest and other objects.

One illustration in the patent shows a head-mounted display showing buildings, each identified with an overlaying label. On a paired iPhone, a user would be able to tap on the point of interest to view additional information.


While the head-mounted display looks like a pair of snowboarding goggles, patent illustrations are merely examples.

Apple files numerous patent applications every week, of course, and many of the inventions do not see the light of day. Patents are also very detailed, encompassing many possible ideas, even ones that Apple might not have any plans to advance. So, the exact implementation if any remains to be seen.

At this point, it's not entirely clear if Apple is working on Google Glasses-like glasses or a HoloLens-like headset. Apple CEO Tim Cook has expressed more of an interest in augmented reality than virtual reality, however, and the patent does suggest that Apple is focused on augmenting the real world.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has previously reported that Apple's headset will use a custom iOS-based operating system dubbed "rOS" for now. He also said the headset would wirelessly connect to an iPhone.

Apple has acquired multiple augmented reality startups including Metaio in 2015, Vrvana in 2017 and Akonia Holographics last year, and has hired away employees from HoloLens and similar companies, as it continues to work on the project. In fact, the inventors listed on this patent are former Metaio employees.

AppleInsider was first to report on the patent being granted today. Apple applied for the patent back in 2017.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses
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Longtime iPhone Executive Named New Head of Augmented Reality Marketing

Apple has named longtime Apple employee and iPhone executive Frank Casanova as its first head of marketing for augmented reality, reports Bloomberg.

Casanova, who has been at Apple since 1988, is responsible for all aspects of product marketing for Apple's "augmented reality initiative," according to his LinkedIn profile.


Prior to being named head of Apple's AR marketing effort, Casanova worked as Apple's senior director of iPhone partner marketing. He started at Apple as a product manager in May 1988, spent a short stint at another company for a year in 1997, and has been working at Apple since then. He was around for the launch of the iPhone as well as many other pivotal products.

As Bloomberg points out, Apple's decision to name a head of product marketing for augmented reality indicates the importance of the feature for the future of the company. Apple debuted ARKit, its augmented reality platform, in iOS 11, and made significant improvements to it in iOS 12.

ARKit turned Apple's iPhones and iPads the largest augmented reality platform available, with many apps now taking advantage of augmented reality capabilities.

Apple is also working on improved AR functionality for iPhones in 2020 through a laser-based 3D rear camera, and the company is said to have an augmented reality headset in the works, which could launch around the same timeframe.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

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HoloLens Inventor Avi Bar-Zeev Departs Apple’s AR/VR Team

Avi Bar-Zeev, who was the co-creator of Microsoft's HoloLens, has left his position at Apple, reports Variety.

Bar-Zeev was reportedly working on Apple's augmented reality headset, which rumors have suggested could launch as early as 2020. Bar-Zeev left his position at Apple in January and provided the following statement to Variety:
"I left my full-time position at Apple in January. I had the best exit one can imagine. I have only nice things to say about Apple and won't comment on any specific product plans."
Prior to joining Apple, Bar-Zeev worked at Microsoft and helped to found and invent the HoloLens, Microsoft's mixed reality headset. Before that, he worked at Disney and helped develop VR experiences, and he worked at Keyhole, a company that was purchased by Google and became the foundation of Apple Maps.

Microsoft's HoloLens

Bar-Zeev had been at Apple since 2016, presumably on the AR/VR team. His LinkedIn profile said that he led the "experience prototyping" team "for a new effort."

"Developed key prototypes to rapidly prove concepts, explore, educate and build support. Developed user stories and technical requirements for the long-term roadmap, while working across design and engineering to ensure success," reads Bar-Zeev's profile.



Rumors have suggested Apple has a secret research unit comprising hundreds of employees working on AR and VR, exploring ways the emerging technologies can be used in future products.

Apple is said to have developed multiple virtual and augmented reality headset prototypes, and rumors seem to have coalesced around a pair of smart glasses that will be coming as soon as next year.

The Apple Glasses supposedly have a dedicated display, a built-in processor, and an "rOS" reality operating system based on iOS.

There have also been a few rumors suggesting Apple is also exploring a powerful AR/VR headset with 8K displays for each eye and support for both AR and VR applications.

It's not entirely clear just yet what Apple's first augmented or virtual reality headset will look like, but we may not have too much longer to wait to find out.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

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