Apple has reportedly backed out of its plans to develop Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, says a report from Taiwan-based Digitimes. Although the company does not undermine the potential that AR/VR holds for the future, it has dissolved its team for the said development. The team is now disbanded and “reassigned to other product lines”.
“Supply chain-related companies said that Apple is adjusting R&D resources, and the development team for AR/VR headsets has been disbanded and transferred to other product lines,” said the report.
As per suggestions, the discontinuation of the project is said to be a result of Microsoft HoloLens co-creator Avi Bar-Zeev leaving Apple’s AR headset development team in January.
Rumours were in the air, saying the iPhone maker is super serious about launching AR glasses in 2020. Even famed Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo backed this rumour. Kuo had said that Apple’s glasses would be marketed as an iPhone accessory. It would be a display interface while wirelessly offloading computing, networking, and positioning to the iPhone. As per him, the mass production could begin somewhere between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the second quarter of 2020.
“AR and ML will be key to delivering the right information to the right person at the right time,” Cook said recently as he announced expanded partnership with SAP.
Apple’s launch of ARkit for the utility of iOS developers has been seen as a big step for the company to enter the AR industry.
“Apple’s temporary termination of hardware development of AR/VR headsets does not mean that it is not optimistic about the prospects of AR/VR,” said the report, adding that the timing may not be ripe at this stage.
Apple CEO, Tim Cook said he views AR as “profound” because the technology “amplifies human performance instead of isolating humans.”