DigiTimes: Apple Has Temporarily Stopped Developing AR/VR Headsets, Team Disbanded in May [Updated]

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Update: As noted by Jeremy Horwitz, more details are now available on DigiTimes Taiwan, which reports that Apple has "temporarily stopped developing AR/VR headsets." The report claims the team working on them was disbanded in May and reassigned to other product developments. Original story below.


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

MacRumors concept of Apple Glasses

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

DigiTimes preliminary headline

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.

In April 2018, CNET said Apple was developing an augmented reality headset that features an 8K display for each eye and would be untethered from either a computer or a smartphone. The report claimed the headset would instead connect to a "dedicated box" using high-speed short-range 60GHz WiGig technology.

Gurman and other sources previously reported that Apple was working on 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 secretive research unit comprising hundreds of employees working on AR and VR, exploring ways the 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."

Article Link: DigiTimes: Apple Has Temporarily Stopped Developing AR/VR Headsets, Team Disbanded in May [Updated]
 

IIGS User

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Feb 24, 2019
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Those things look horrible from an aesthetic and industrial design standpoint....
 
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melancholy

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That’s what I heard too. DigiTimes is a reliable source too. Hmmm, tRagic. Probably due to Ive leaving. Apple is failing so hard recently... what an in comp etent comp any. Tim be failin’ and Steve be rollin’
 
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spiderman0616

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Aug 1, 2010
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That’s what I heard too. DigiTimes is a reliable source too. Hmmm, tRagic. Probably due to Ive leaving. Apple is failing so hard recently... what an in comp etent comp any. Tim be failin’ and Steve be rollin’
Yes you should definitely assume the worst when it comes to Digitimes. Their reporting has been so spot on in the past.
 

bbednarz

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Oof, that product pipeline starting to look a little less exciting Mr Cook
When Tim says “great products in the pipeline” did he mean Apple News+? No car, no glasses, what are they planning that is new hardware? I guess they are destined to just be services and monthly fees now?
"It's worth noting that DigiTimes itself has a mixed track record in terms of Apple rumors, so this could be flat out incorrect."

"It's worth noting that DigiTimes itself has a mixed track record in terms of Apple rumors, so this could be flat out incorrect."
 
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bbednarz

macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2017
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That’s what I heard too. DigiTimes is a reliable source too. Hmmm, tRagic. Probably due to Ive leaving. Apple is failing so hard recently... what an in comp etent comp any. Tim be failin’ and Steve be rollin’
"It's worth noting that DigiTimes itself has a mixed track record in terms of Apple rumors, so this could be flat out incorrect."
 

chrisdazzo

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Apr 11, 2006
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Yawn. Focus on products people care about - what makes you think Apple's AR glasses would've: A. been priced for the average consumer, or B. taken off any better than Google's multiple tries? Maybe someday in the future once the tech catches up in affordability and practicality.

Truly, where Apple should focus their "privacy" efforts next is a branded set of hardware for home security - give us secure, well-made cameras, sensors, and OLED control systems. If priced appropriately they'll sell like hotcakes, and can use the cameras, sensors, and screens Apple already has in its supply chain. Part of me wonders if this will ever happen, though, considering Apple mainly licenses out HomeKit and Secure Video to third parties who do home security pretty well already.
 

MacsRgr8

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I would really be surprised if this is true. Apple has invested a lot of time and effort in AR technology and I think Apple Watch, Air Pods & Apple Glasses would make a great trio of wearable devices to allow people to stay connected while they walk around "heads up" and "hands free".
TBH, I don't know if many people really would like to ware glasses, especially made by tech companies, just for keeping "heads-up online".

It's getting too nerdy.

I feel the same nowadays about the Apple Watch. All those same square mini-iPads on your wrist...
It's one of the reasons I got a Gamin Smart Watch after owning 2 Apple Watches. I know is personal preference, but my Garmin looks sooooo much better.
 

CWallace

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Aug 17, 2007
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Considering this rumor is coming from Digitimes and their contacts are almost exclusively within the supply chain, the more likely "truth" is that Apple has terminated production contracts that they might have had in place to produce these devices.

So rather than scrapping the entire project, another possibility is that Apple does not feel they are ready to go into production near-term and will continue to develop the product internally until they are. So expect another article from them in a year or two detailing how Apple is preparing to ship these things. :p

EDIT - Changed MCK to Digitimes.
 
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AlexJoda

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Apr 8, 2015
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When Tim says “great products in the pipeline” did he mean Apple News+? No car, no glasses, what are they planning that is new hardware? I guess they are destined to just be services and monthly fees now?
In that way it makes sense to let go Jony Ive. A company that did not develop new hardware did not need such a guy....
 

Digital Dude

macrumors 6502a
Apple continues to act more like Microsoft every day. If something doesn't work out soon enough, they give up! Can't believe how Apple has fallen to just another mundane consumer store. I remember the days when exceptionalism was Apple's mantra. As I type this post on my 2018 fully configured MBP with a flattened-out return key, I shake my head. Can't wait to replace it with a ThinkPad Extream. Conversely, Microsoft is finally making strides with hardware and their software - go figure.
 
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