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Apple Partnering with Valve on Augmented Reality

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by Teuta Franjkovic · 3 min read
Apple Partnering with Valve on Augmented Reality
Photo: Pixabay

The first Apple Glasses are supposed to drop at some point next year, and Apple is teaming up with Valve to make them.

Apple has reportedly partnered with the U.S. game developer Valve in order to develop its long-awaited and thoroughly spoken off, AR headset, which is expected to be launched next year.

DigiTimes reports:

“Apple went into this partnership with Valve to develop AR head-mounted display devices, which may be released in the second half of 2020 at the earliest, with Taiwan’s ODMs Quanta Computer and Pegatron said to handle the assembly job, according to industry sources.”

Valve is best known as the maker of the popular Steam digital storefront and delivery platform. The company Valve started producing Steam machine consoles back in 2015 and in April this year, it revealed its first VR headset, Valve Index.

Be it as it may, Valve already cooperated with Apple back in 2017 all in order to bring original VR headset support to macOS High Sierra, at the same time balancing the operating system’s then-new eGPU support with a Mac version of Valve’s SteamVR software. This time, as they said from the company, the whole deal will be focused on AR, not VR.

They said in the announcement:

“Apple will cooperate with Valve on AR headsets rather than VR devices, as its CEO Tim Cook believes that AR can make digital content become part of the user’s world and will be as popular as smartphones with consumers. This has also promoted Apple to step up the development of AR software by recruiting more engineers for graphic design, system interface and system architecture segments.”

A few months ago, DigiTimes reported Apple had stopped developing AR/VR headsets for the time being and that the team working on them was reassigned to the developing of other products.

Still, according to the latest information from the Taiwan website’s sources, Apple was then only transferring from in-house development to consensual development with Valve.

In October this year, famous Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the company is partnering with third parties regarding the launch of its first head-mounted AR product. Kuo then said he thinks Apple’s AR headset could enter mass production already in the Q4 of this year, just in time for an early 2020 launch.

Code found in Xcode 11 and iOS 13 as recently as September came as a confirmation that Apple hasn’t stopped working on an augmented reality headset. Also, there is an icon inside the internal Find My app bundle showing what seems like an AR or VR headset that looks similar to the Google Cardboard. Kuo said Apple’s glasses would be sold as an iPhone accessory and will be used only for displaying while wirelessly “offloading computing, networking, and positioning to the iPhone.”

Back in November 2017, Bloomberg’s analyst Mark Gurman explained Apple’s headset will work with a custom iOS-based operating system dubbed “rOS” for the “reality operating system.” Gurman then said the company still hasn’t perceived the ways users could control the headset. Among some possibilities he counted were touchscreens, Siri voice activation, and head movements.

Apple planned to have its AR product ready by 2019 at first, but the company is obviously not in a rush so the shipping won’t happen before the beginning of the next year.

Quanta Computer and Pegatron are said to be handling the manufacturing and assembling and, as per reports, Quanta is able to produce AR headsets much cheaper by leveraging camera lens technology licensed by Lumus.

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Teuta Franjkovic

Experienced creative professional focusing on financial and political analysis, editing daily newspapers and news sites, economical and political journalism, consulting, PR and Marketing. Teuta’s passion is to create new opportunities and bring people together.

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