Reportedly, Apple has partnered with Valve to co-develop their long-rumored AR headset, which might release as early as next year.
Back in 2017, Bloomberg reported on Apple working on an AR device that might even replace the iPhone in the future. Replacing the iPhone is a bit hard to believe, but development of an AR headset is quite realistic.
There was little news on it since, but recently, Taiwanese analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, reported that production is beginning in 2019 and that Apple is planning on releasing the new device with a third-party partner in 2020.
Now, thanks to a DigiTimes report, we know that the third-party partner is no other than Valve. Valve previously worked on bringing native VR headset support to macOS, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that they are working together on AR.
The "head-mounted display device" will be offered as an accessory for the iPhone. The AR headset will function as the display, while the iPhone will be doing all of the heavy lifting.
The launch is planned for the second half of 2020 as the earliest possible date.
We’re still far away from an AR device replacing smartphones, but combining the two does sound like a good first step until the technology can fit in a small enough package.