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Apple’s next big product is an entire ‘Reality’ ecosystem

There have been rumors for a long time that Apple will introduce its own mixed reality headset that will allow users to interact with immersive apps combining AR and VR. This new headset is now expected to be announced in the coming months, and Apple seems to have even more ambitious plans for its new “Reality” ecosystem.

Of course, all eyes are now on Apple’s new AR/VR headset, which will be a device quite different from any other product the company has ever shipped. But for a device like this, Apple is seeking to do much more than just put iOS and an iPhone chip in it. And that’s why Apple’s next big product won’t be the headset itself, but the new “Apple Reality” platform.

realityOS

The iPhone and iOS have certainly paved the way for other Apple products such as the Apple Watch, Apple TV, and the HomePod. While all of these devices run a heavily iOS-based operating system, each has its own APIs to take advantage of that specific hardware.

Back in 2017, Bloomberg reported that Apple had been developing another iOS-based operating system known internally as “rOS.”

This version of iOS would have been created with augmented and virtual reality in mind, so that it uses existing ARKit capabilities to run AR/VR apps on new categories of devices. Earlier this year, Bloomberg revealed that this new system has AR versions of core iPhone apps, as well as new Apple apps that run in an AR/VR environment.

As the official announcement approaches, references to “realityOS” have been found by developers in Apple’s open-source code. Then, in May of this year, Apple registered the “realityOS” trademark in many countries around the world.

This not only confirms that Apple has been working on this new operating system but also that the product may have something with “Reality” in its name.

The “Apple Reality” ecosystem

Until recently, “realityOS” was the only clue we had about the possible name of Apple’s new mixed reality headset. However, it was revealed this week that Apple has applied to register the trademarks “Reality One,” “Reality Pro,” and “Reality Processor.” With all this in mind, I have some theories about how Apple will position its new products.

“Reality Processor” clearly suggests that the headset (and possibly other upcoming AR/VR products from Apple) will have its own family of Apple Silicon chips. Just as iPhones have A-series chips, Macs have M-series chips, and Apple Watch models have S-series chips, Apple’s AR/VR devices might have R-series chips.

Apple's next big product is not just a headset, but an entire 'Reality' ecosystem

Certainly, Apple could simply throw an A-series or M-series chip into its new headset – after all, all Apple chips have a lot in common – but a new product category like this seems to need chips made exclusively for it. We’re talking about devices that are expected to run 8K, AR/VR content while relying on battery power. Not only that, but marketing means a lot in this case.

That’s where “Reality One” comes in. To me, it seems that “Reality One” could easily be “R1,” Apple’s first Reality Processor. But what about the name of the headset?

Apple Reality devices

Well, that one I think will be “Reality Pro,” or “Apple Reality Pro.” Here, the name “Pro” may corroborate that this is a niche product rather than something for the masses. Rumors suggest that Apple’s first mixed reality headset may cost up to $3,000.

If we consider previous reports by analysts Jeff Pu and Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple has already been working on a second generation of its headset, as well as a “more affordable model” of the product. Rumors also suggest that Apple is working on AR glasses. These glasses might be part of the Apple Reality ecosystem as well, running realityOS with a Reality Processor.

Apple's next big product is not just a headset, but an entire 'Reality' ecosystem

“Apple Reality” won’t be just a single product, but an entire ecosystem based on augmented and virtual reality. Apple seems to really believe that AR/VR is the future, as the company has been investing a lot in this area in recent years. Now, it seems that we’re finally getting close to seeing all this effort becoming a bigger thing.

It remains unclear, however, when exactly Apple will unveil its new Reality ecosystem. Some believe the headset will be introduced in the first half of 2023, but others expect to see at least a teaser of the new platform by the end of this year.

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