Apple Reality OS: Further clues on the XR operating system

Apple Reality OS: Further clues on the XR operating system

Apple's mysterious VR-AR-glasses are expected to launch with their own "rOS" operating system designed specifically for spatial input.

The first rumors about Apple's "reality OS" (rOS) already existed in 2017, so we should keep that in mind for a moment: For about five years, there have been concrete rumors about AR glasses from Apple including the appropriate software - and the tech giant has shown very little about augmented reality apart from smartphone AR with ARKit.

Yet Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly mentioned at least 16 times since 2016 that AR is an important future technology. I still recall at this point the software leaks from 2019 around Garta and Starboard, which also described tech glasses and software. Since the code findings, nothing more was heard about it from Apple or the development community.

rOS resurfaces

The new finds on rOS from developers unfortunately don't clarify possible new features. But they at least confirm that Apple is somewhere and sometime further involved with rOS.

Developer Nicolás Álvarez reports on Twitter about a mention in the code of an open-source component of Apple's operating systems. Apple had unsuccessfully tried to update the corresponding Github repo and hide the reference, according to Álvarez.

Developer Steve Troughton-Smith also discovered a reference to a development kit (SDK) for realityOS as well as an rOS simulator. The simulator is likely to serve as a test tool for AR or VR applications. Apple offers similar simulators for iPhone or Watch apps.

Most recently, it was said that the Apple glasses were to be presented at WWDC in the middle of the year. However, the date is said to have been postponed to late 2022 or even 2023 because Apple engineers had problems with overheating glasses.


Look back at rOS rumors

In any case, in 2017 it was said that Apple was working with digital input surfaces, voice recognition and head control, among other things, for rOS. Users should also be able to map the environment, write messages, make telepresence calls and watch 360 videos.

As I said, that was 2017: today, rOS should look and work completely different. Most recently, Apple leaker Mark Gurman described the Apple Glasses as having a focus on game development and telepresence calling - a sort of next-gen Zoom.

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