At WWDC in June, Apple is expected to announce its long-awaited headset with virtual reality and augmented reality features. Besides the actual hardware of the so-called “Reality Pro” headset, Apple will also announce the platform for the product’s core software. That software will reportedly be called xrOS, and it marks Apple’s first major new software platform since it unveiled watchOS for the Apple Watch.
xrOS will include a number of revolutionary features for the Reality Pro headset, such as immersive media consumption, macOS integration, and more.
What does xrOS mean?
according to bloomberg, Apple initially referred to the software for its Reality Pro headsets as RealityOS. However, sometime last year, it rebranded the name to xrOS because it is closer to the public release.
xrOS is believed to represent “extended reality”, which aligns with Apple’s goals that the headset does not completely cut off people from the outside world. The Reality Pro headset itself, for example, will have external cameras to allow users to see around them.
Apple has registered several different xrOS trademarks around the world in the lead-up to the Reality Pro headset announcement. There’s still a chance the company might opt for something like “realityOS,” but as it stands right now, all signs point to xrOS being the company’s ultimate choice.
xrOS will be how Reality Pro headset users and developers interact with the device. Similar to the way iOS powers the iPhone and macOS, xrOS is what will power Apple’s long-awaited Reality Pro headset. xrOS will receive software updates with new features and changes, offer an app store for third-party developers, and more.
Apple has a number of different features in mind for the first release of its Reality Pro headset and xrOS software. bloombergFor example, you mentioned that Apple’s plans are extensive and include things like gaming, watching sports, consuming TV shows and movies, fitness, meditation, and more.
One of the biggest questions is how exactly are we going to interact with xrOS and the Reality Pro headset. Apple’s focus will be on voice input via Siri, as well as support for interaction with a nearby iPhone, iPad, or Mac. In fact, the use of Siri has been a point of contention within Apple. According to one report, the team working on Apple’s Reality Pro headset got so frustrated with Siri that it considered “building alternative ways” to control the headphones using voice technology.
iPad apps will also be part of Apple’s strategy to increase the number of apps available via xrOS. Apple reportedly plans to allow Reality Pro headset users to access existing iPad apps via the xrOS interface. This means that users will be able to access their favorite iPad apps via the Reality Pro headset, even if the developer hasn’t specifically adapted the app to run in virtual reality.
For Mac users, xrOS will be able to interact with macOS so that the Reality Pro headset can act as a display for your Mac. This will allow users to see their Mac screen in virtual reality and interact with it using a traditional trackpad or mouse and keyboard.
according to the informationxrOS will also include the ability for anyone to create a so-called AR “app” using Siri, without having to do everything from scratch. This is similar to the features already offered by the Meta headphones. Quest headsets, for example, have an app called Horizon Worlds that allows users to build 3D environments without coding.
FaceTime communication will be a central aspect of the initial release of xrOS, according to bloomberg. Apple is said to have developed a new version of FaceTime for the headset that would “realistically display the user’s entire face and body in virtual reality.”
The Apple headset will allow users to switch through AR and VR modes, which will be a key aspect of xrOS as well. When in VR mode, your xrOS experience will be fully immersive. When using the Digital Crown style toggle switch on the Reality Pro headset itself, xrOS will gradually switch to AR mode to allow users to see the real environment around them.
Other rumored features of xrOS include:
- Health and wellness features
- the games
- Immersive books and stories
- VR versions of Safari, Photos, Mail, Messages, App Store, Apple TV, and more apps
- Immersive video and audio, including Dolby Atmos, and more
- Bloomberg: A feature designed to make Reality Pro users feel like they’re watching a movie on a custom screen in another world, like “the desert or outer space”
- Support for productivity features like Keynote, Pages, and Numbers
The future of xrOS
At WWDC next month, Apple will hold a variety of different developer sessions and labs to learn more about xrOS. This will include things like developing apps for the headset, learning how to bring apps from other platforms into the headset, design best practices for a VR experience, and more.
The main thing to keep in mind when Apple unveils xrOS next month is that this is only one version. Internally, Apple is said to be well aware that there are compromises it needs to make to get this initial release of the Reality Pro headset and software. Expect the company to quickly make changes to the experience, especially when they start taking feedback from the general public.
xrOS will be announced at WWDC on June 5, along with the Reality Pro headset itself and updates to existing software platforms like iOS 17, macOS 14, tvOS 17, watchOS 10, and more.
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