iOS 13 Code Suggests Apple Testing AR Headset With 'StarBoard' Mode, 'Garta' Codename, and More [Updated]

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
46,769
8,955



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.

Update: Within the internal Find My app bundle that MacRumors exclusively shared last week, there is an icon depicting what appears to be an AR or VR headset that looks similar to the Google Cardboard.


There are "on" and "off" versions of the icon in white and gray respectively, and each has "MockMode" and "B389" in its filename, which is the codename for Apple's item tracking tags. As such, this icon could simply represent the expected AR mode in the Find My app and likely does not depict Apple's actual headset.

Article Link: iOS 13 Code Suggests Apple Testing AR Headset With 'StarBoard' Mode, 'Garta' Codename, and More [Updated]
 

ThomasJL

macrumors 6502a
Oct 16, 2008
783
1,365
AR glasses... Yet more nonsense from Clueless Cook. Hey, Tim, how about instead of creating luxury toys for the rich, how about you bring back tools for regular people such as AirPort Extreme, iPhone SE, and Apple Cinema Display?
 

chfilm

macrumors 68030
Nov 15, 2012
2,668
1,473
Berlin
Just Never it’ll happen in 2020. Tech isn’t ready yet. If they do release next year, I promise a disaster.
 
  • Like
Reactions: iPadCary

Seoras

macrumors 6502
Oct 25, 2007
380
553
Scotsman in New Zealand
By Innovation Only. I love how Apple is baiting the haters with that invite slogan.
I'll bet they don't just do visual but also sound via bone conduction too using the H1 chip or a variant.
That's the thing I think gives Apple the edge right now, it's the in house silicon they are churning out.
ARM processors that are still years ahead of the competition and Face ID that has yet to be replicated as well.
Touch ID? Pfff... So yesterday... My iPhone X is coming up on 2 and still feels super fast and state of the art.
 

GubbyMan

macrumors 6502
Apr 3, 2011
298
893
This needs to be very lightweight (or at least not front heavy) in order to replace prescription glasses for everyday use. I also think they should focus on making it fashionable and customizable as they did with the Watch. Maybe make the frames swappable?

Functionality should be a secondary thought when designing this but dual displays, bone conducting speakers, a small camera for AR and video recording and a battery that lasts for a day of non-AR use would be nice. Let the iPhone handle the heavy AR processing.
 

ipedro

Suspended
Nov 30, 2004
4,704
4,998
Toronto, ON
Just Never it’ll happen in 2020. Tech isn’t ready yet. If they do release next year, I promise a disaster.
The tech for the iPhone didn’t exist in 2007. Apple had to invent it. Critical technology from multi touch to an entire operating system had to be invented from scratch.

Apple has been working on these glasses for at least the past 4 years that we know of, probably longer if you account for their interest in AR going back 6 or more years. The primary technology is retinal projection. That tech in fact already exists. Apple will have poured billions in R&D into making what already exists into what will feel like technology from the future when introduced.

The iPhone did not feel possible in 2007. There was simply nothing like it nor since then for years after. The trinity of Watch + AirPods + Glasses have the potential to repeat that surge in technological advance.
 

NightFox

macrumors 68020
May 10, 2005
2,172
1,210
Shropshire, UK
I don't understand why Apple include references to all these 'secret' projects in their public releases. Why not use an internal-only iOS version for testing whilst the project's in this early stage of development and port it to the public version when it's almost ready to launch? They must know by now that iOS beta releases get picked through in great detail and anything relating to a new product in there will be pounced upon. Remember HomePod?

Of course, this could just be Apple's way of teasing and building the hype around their product pipeline, but it seems a funny way of going about it.

Edit - OK, so someone pointed out that this was an internal build of iOS.
 
Last edited:

YaBe

macrumors 6502a
Oct 5, 2017
846
1,464
The tech for the iPhone didn’t exist in 2007. Apple had to invent it. Critical technology from multi touch to an entire operating system had to be invented from scratch.
Bell Labs (1982), and many others, begs to differ!

So NO Apple did not invet neither OSes not Multitouch.
I don't understand why Apple include references to all these 'secret' projects in their public releases.
Of course, this could just be Apple's way of teasing and building the hype around their product pipeline, but it seems a funny way of going about it.
Hey it works...why change it? :D
 

Frantisekj

macrumors regular
Mar 9, 2017
199
108
Deep inside Europe :-)
I don't understand why Apple include references to all these 'secret' projects in their public releases.....
Article says: "documentation seen by MacRumors in an internal build of iOS 13..." not public.

Functionality should be a secondary thought when designing this but dual displays, bone conducting speakers, a small camera for AR and video recording and .....
I think no video recording otherwise it will be banned on many places as Google glasses were.
 

fokmik

macrumors 601
Oct 28, 2016
4,159
3,377
USA
Apple glass incoming
This sept or the next year sept it should be presented with a release date 6 months later
 
  • Like
Reactions: MrUNIMOG

Neodym

macrumors 68000
Jul 5, 2002
1,942
519
AR glasses... Yet more nonsense from Clueless Cook. Hey, Tim, how about instead of creating luxury toys for the rich, how about you bring back tools for regular people such as AirPort Extreme, iPhone SE, and Apple Cinema Display?
As Wayne Gretzky once said: You need to skate where the puck will be, not where it has been. Steve Jobs followed that rule (Link) and so does Tim Cook. The products you mentioned are products of the past. AR will become a really big thing.

You could argue whether Apple needs to support older tech for longer while skating to the new place, but your dumb personal attack disqualify you for any further discussion.

Let the iPhone handle the heavy AR processing.
For the beginning, yes. Long term, Apple Watch will do the "heavy lifting" and eventually replace the iPhone for most everyday tasks, with the AR glasses taking over the role of the AppleWatch as the slightly underpowered and battery-hungry device that has to rely on a supporting device for a couple of years.

I'm really looking forward to not be bound to a smallish Smartphone display anymore. Biggest problem I do see, though, is a proper user interface, if you want to use virtual screens with the trinity of AR glasses, AirPods and AppleWatch (as central CPU).
 

chfilm

macrumors 68030
Nov 15, 2012
2,668
1,473
Berlin
The tech for the iPhone didn’t exist in 2007. Apple had to invent it. Critical technology from multi touch to an entire operating system had to be invented from scratch.

Apple has been working on these glasses for at least the past 4 years that we know of, probably longer if you account for their interest in AR going back 6 or more years. The primary technology is retinal projection. That tech in fact already exists. Apple will have poured billions in R&D into making what already exists into what will feel like technology from the future when introduced.

The iPhone did not feel possible in 2007. There was simply nothing like it nor since then for years after. The trinity of Watch + AirPods + Glasses have the potential to repeat that surge in technological advance.
I hear you and really hope that you’re right. But I just don’t believe it. For the iPhone, the tech was kinda available in separate devices. But the jump to glasses just feels too big for the current, non-Steve Jobs, bin Jonny ive Apple to make.
The AirPods don’t even recognize 20% of my hey Siri commands. I have yet to see a single AR application with object occlusion. Not sure if the Hololens does it - but did you see how bulky that thing is? I mean yea- If they could pull off everything that the 2nd gen holo lens does but in a MUCH sleeker form factor, I can see potential there. But I also think, as much as I want this kind of tech, that MS was smart when they turned to big business first..
 

plexdk

macrumors 6502
Oct 18, 2007
489
586
AR glasses... Yet more nonsense from Clueless Cook. Hey, Tim, how about instead of creating luxury toys for the rich, how about you bring back tools for regular people such as AirPort Extreme, iPhone SE, and Apple Cinema Display?
What are you talking about? It's a pretty game changing thing - its practically holograms with all of its features, if done right.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MrUNIMOG

MRrainer

macrumors 65816
Aug 8, 2008
1,188
640
Zurich, Switzerland
AFAIK, vendors were shopping around these devices at COMPUTEX this year.
So, the tech is there and it's maturing. It just depends on how far Apple is with it.

It would be an interesting device, depending on the application.

Imagine having this application on your iphone and it seeing the world through your eyes, via the glasses:

https://electrek.co/2019/08/14/tesla-cia-counter-surveillance-tool-hack/

It would remind me of the "enhanced" humans from the show "Continuum".

On second thought, it would be extremely creepy. Imagine random people on the street being able to guess your emotions (and even medical details....)
 

UltimaKilo

macrumors 6502a
Nov 14, 2007
503
318
FL
AR glasses... Yet more nonsense from Clueless Cook. Hey, Tim, how about instead of creating luxury toys for the rich, how about you bring back tools for regular people such as AirPort Extreme, iPhone SE, and Apple Cinema Display?
How many Fortune 500 companies have you turned into a top 5 company? Apple’s profits continue to soar; sorry you can’t afford their products. Do better.

I can’t see AR glasses tech being there in the next 2-3 years. It seems like it’s still in its early stages, but who knows what 5 years down the line will bring? Can’t wait, would be a revolutionary product if done right.
 
  • Like
Reactions: davidec