Apple's annual iPhone launch is set for Sept. 10 and iOS 13 is expected to be released soon thereafter, but it appears that the likelihood of a "one more thing" reveal just got a big boost.
Documentation of the latest internal build of iOS 13 reportedly includes references to what may be an augmented reality headset that could fulfill last year's reports of Apple's next big product category arriving within the next year.
The references include an internal "STARTester" app that toggles between "worn" and "held" modes, as well as the mention of a "StarBoard" stereo display state for AR apps in a "Read Me" file within the internal iOS build.
Additional code mentions a "StarBoard mode," as well as commands for "ARStarBoardViewController" and "ARStarBoardSceneManager." In addition, a reference to a device with AR capabilities named "Garta" is found within the internal files.
These hints, uncovered by MacRumors, are hardly a smoking gun that an AR headset will make its public debut next week, but it is the strongest evidence yet that not only is an AR wearable under development, but something within that realm is likely being tested internally.
Multiple reports have suggested that Apple has a hybrid AR/VR device in development, code-named "T288," which could arrive in 2020. Another report predicts that the device will operate as a tethered headset, relying on the iPhone as its CPU.
One report from 2017 indicated that an AR headset developed in 2019 might be slated for a 2020 release. If those reports hold true, this code would confirm that Apple is on schedule with testing, although a reveal during next week's event seems unlikely.
However, with media invitations including the tagline "by innovation only," an early preview of such a device is now within the realm of possibility.
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