Apple testing VR headset and one-hand controller for playing virtual games, major leak reveals

APPLE is working on its very own sci-fi headset that can alter the world around you, according to reports.

The gadget combines both augmented and virtual reality and will allegedly be ready for release as early as next year.

It'll apparently allow you to overlay computer-generated images – such as the time or an incoming message – onto your real-world view.

The glasses will also let you play fun virtual reality games, or tour landmarks or other people's homes while sat in your own living room.

Apple has yet to acknowledge the device even exists, but rumours about the so-called "Apple Glass" headgear have been rumbling on for months.

Now, MacRumours appears to have uncovered evidence that Apple really is dipping its toe into virtual reality (VR) tech.

The tech site dug up an image of a controller that apparently is designed for an augmented reality (AR) or VR (or both) headset.
About the size and shape of a computer mouse, its black and has a large button where the thumb would sit, as well as a smaller button about halfway down.

All in all, it looks a lot like the controller shipped with the HTC Vive Focus VR headset, released in 2018.

Previous reports have stated that Apple is using HTC Vive hardware for its internal tests.

Virtual Reality v.s. Augmented Reality – what's the difference?

Here's what you need to know…

  • Virtual reality involves using a headset to simulate a virtual world
  • In a VR world, everything you see will be computer-generated
  • Popular VR headsets include the HTC Vive and Facebook's Oculus Rift
  • Augmented reality lets you see the real world, but "augments" (or adds on) computer-generated elements
  • This means you'll be able to see computer images overlaid onto your real-world view
  • For instance, you could wear glasses that overlay directions onto the road in front of you
  • Popular AR headsets include Microsoft's HoloLens and the Google Glass spectacles

The picture was uncovered in an early version of iOS 14 – the upcoming version of the iPhone software –  that leaked online in recent weeks.

Given the basic nature of the controller, and its similarity to HTC's kit, MacRumours said the tech was likely simply for internal testing purposes.

The final product will likely be much more polished.

Apple has invested a lot in virtual tech in recent years, crafting handing out tools for creating AR and VR tools such as ARKit and RealityKit, as well as creative tools like Reality Composer and Reality Converter.

It's also loaded a LiDAR Scanner – used for AR and VR tools – onto the new iPad Pro, and will likely do the same for its upcoming iPhones.

Apple has apparently planned to release Glass in either 2021 or 2022. That may now be pushed back as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

The company hasn't confirmed plans to debut any smart glasses just yet, but it's likely that the company is working on such a device.

Most of its competitors have already dabbled in virtual reality and augmented reality, including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Samsung, LG, and HTC.

Previous reports have suggested the new device uses a "catadioptric system" that uses curved mirrors and lenses to combine refraction and reflection.

This means that Apple could ditch the magnifying lenses you find in most traditional VR headsets, potentially reducing the overall weight.

In a patent that surfaced on the web last year, Apple admitted that current virtual reality and augmented reality headsets are too heavy.

"If care is not taken, a head-mounted display may be cumbersome and tiring to wear," the firm said. "Extended use of a head-mounted display with this type of optical system may be uncomfortable."

In other news, old iPhones look set to get a new lease of life thanks to a rumoured Apple update.

Apple could change the Lightning port for a USB-C connector on future iPhone models.

And the iPhone 12 could be the thinnest ever thanks to new screen technology.

What would you like to see from the next iPhone? Let us know in the comments!

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