If it makes an appearance, the headset will mark Apple’s first major new product release since the Apple Watch came out in 2015. Gurman reports(Opens in a new window) that the xrOS moniker was selected to better represent the extended, augmented, and virtual reality features the headset is expected to offer. The name change could also indicate that Apple is readying the project for a launch sometime next year, he said.
The headset, which is likely to be priced(Opens in a new window) between $2,000 and $3,000, will contain a Mac-level M2 chip, as well as over 10 cameras placed inside and outside the device. According to Gurman, it will additionally feature the highest-resolution displays ever featured in a mass-market headset.
In addition to the internal name change, Gurman says a secretive shell corporation named Deep Dive LLC was filed to trademark the brand “xrOS” in several countries internationally including Switzerland, the UK, Israel, Malaysia, and Mexico.
In its filing application, the shell corporation wrote that it was applying for a trademark for “head-mounted displays” and devices that provide “virtual reality and augmented reality experiences.” It’s not been confirmed by Apple whether it was behind these filings, however.
According to Engadget(Opens in a new window), the headset will feature virtual versions of Apple’s apps, such as Messages, FaceTime, and Maps, with third parties being able to create their own apps and games via a software development kit. The mixed-reality operating system will reportedly also use iris scanning for payments and sign-ins.
In his Bloomberg tech newsletter, Gurman writes that the headset and its accompanying operating system and apps are developed within the Technology Development Group, or TDG, a secretive unit(Opens in a new window) led by executive Mike Rockwell. The operating system has been overseen by Geoff Stahl, a senior engineering manager who has worked at Apple for nearly 24 years.
It’s also been reported(Opens in a new window) that the tech giant is planning to compete with the metaverse through its own 3D mixed reality world. But Apple SVP of marketing Greg Joswiak said at a recent Wall Street Journal conference(Opens in a new window) that the metaverse is “a word I’ll never use,” so don’t expect like-for-like metaverse comparisons to be made by Apple on the upcoming mixed reality plans.