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Apple is completing development of mixed-reality headset operating system to be released next year

Apple’s mixed reality headset has been rumored for years and could be released sometime in 2023. A new report from Bloomberg today notes that Apple is continuing to ramp up hiring efforts for teams working on AR and VR technologies, including new hires and the recruitment of a former Apple engineer who left the company the last year.

In the latest edition of its Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says the first version of the operating system running on Apple’s mixed reality headset, codenamed Oak, is “being wrapped up internally” so it “should be ready for the next year’s new hardware ready for next year.”

While Apple has significantly reduced hiring, the company is still looking for people to join teams working on mixed reality headsets and other AR / VR technologies. Apple continues to make changes to the team working on the headset, which is Apple’s “technology development group,” often referred to as TDG.

Some job postings suggest that Apple is ramping up its work to support the device with content. The company is looking for a software producer with experience in the visual effects and game asset pipeline who can create digital content for augmented and virtual reality environments.

The job posting also hints that Apple is looking to build a video service for the headset that would offer 3D content that could be played in virtual reality.

Apple’s job posting also highlighted the company’s desire to bring third-party applications to its mixed reality headsets. The company is looking for engineers to “work on the App Intents framework to help design and implement solutions” such as shortcuts, search, Siri and more.

Perhaps most notably, a job listing in the technology development group is for engineers to work on “tools and frameworks to enable connected experiences in a 3D mixed reality world,” which Gurman notes sounds like “a virtual environment similar to a metaverse. “The job posting reads, “You will work closely with Apple’s UI framework, human interface designers and systems capability teams to push you to think outside the box and solve incredibly challenging and interesting problems in the 3D application space.”

Apple has also hired Dave Scott, a former Apple senior manager who worked on the company’s Project Titan self-driving car team through 2021. On the Project Titan team, Dave Scott led the “automotive-related robotics” team, but he left to briefly serve as CEO of a healthcare startup.

Given Dave Scott’s work in healthcare and robotics, Bloomberg said his “involvement could indicate some health applications for the headset.

Apple has also moved engineers working on other projects to the headset team, one of whom is Yaniv Gur, a senior engineering director with 20 years of experience at Apple. and News apps across the company’s platforms. The headset team already has an operating systems chief, Geoff Stahl, so Gurman believes Gur’s appointment means the company is working on a suite of productivity apps for the headset.

The current word is that Apple will release some form of mixed reality headset in 2023, but it’s expected to be very expensive. The first version probably won’t be aimed at mass consumers, but at “professional” users and developers. Previous sources say it could cost between $2,000 and $3,000 and feature a Mac-class M2 chip, more than 10 cameras inside and outside the device, and the highest resolution display in its class.

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