xrOS Coming Soon

Apple’s rumored VR headset may be revealed as early as next year, according to sources. The device will be similar in type to the $499 HTC Vive Pro, Samsung’s $499 Odyssey, and Microsoft’s $399 HoloLens 2. The device will run “xrOS” (reality operating system), based on iOS. Apple is aiming for an eight-year product cycle for each generation of its VR headsets. Apple is said to be developing custom processors specifically for the VR headset. Mac Catalyst apps are said to be able to run on xrOS, with UI updates coming so that users can use them without a keyboard and mouse.

Apple is aiming for an eight-year product cycle for each generation of its VR headsets, according to industry sources. The company has previously released a new generation every three years or so, but it appears that Apple wants to wait longer between updates so that it can make bigger improvements with each iteration.

xrOS To Revoluionize Apple

It could be argued that Apple’s decision not to release an updated version of its ARKit platform in 2019 was due in part to this desire. xrOS (reality operating system), is based on iOS and will be used as the new operating system for Apple VR headsets. xrOS will run on custom processors, with a new UI that’s designed to be used with a headset.

A lot of this sounds very similar to Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality platform, which also runs on custom processors and uses a new interface optimized for VR headsets. However, there are some key differences: xrOS is based on iOS instead of Windows 10; the interface has been completely rethought from the ground up; it uses OpenGL ES as opposed to Vulkan or DX12; and it’s likely that Apple will have fewer apps available at launch than Microsoft does at its Mixed Reality launch event in October.

Apple’s custom processors are said to include a CPU similar in performance to the latest Intel Core i7 chips, as well as an Apple-designed GPU that can handle up to 4K video at 60 frames per second. Apple typically releases new Macs every six months or so; therefore, it’s plausible that we could see a new Mac Pro (or perhaps even MacBook Pro) around the same time that Apple launches its first VR headset.