Apple’s AR/VR headset isn’t official yet, but leaks continue to swirl around it – with the latest details on how the device might work with other Apple products like the iPhone and HomePod.
Patent (opens in a new tab) made in Europe (via MacRumors (opens in a new tab)) describes “Multi-Device Continuity for use with augmented reality (XR) systems” and extends Continuity features (such as Handoff and Universal Control) already available on existing Apple gadgets.
We’re assuming the same continuity principles will apply to the upcoming AR/VR (or XR) headset: as long as you’re signed in to the same Apple ID on all your devices, they’ll work seamlessly together using technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Ease of use
The patent gives some examples of how this might work. In one, someone wearing a headset viewed an email on an iPhone and then could view it on a larger virtual display with a hand gesture or a glance.
In the same way, it would be possible to transfer music playback from the iPhone to the HomePod – all you have to do while wearing the headset, make a gesture or simply move your eyes to switch devices. You’ll also be able to get additional screens and widgets appearing in augmented reality, such as when looking at your Mac’s screen.
You have the general idea. Of course, the usual patent disclaimer applies: These patents don’t necessarily end up as shipped products or features, although they do give us an idea of what companies are currently researching.
Analysis: continuity is key
For the most part, the continuity features that Apple has built into its products make life much easier and more convenient. Recently, macOS got the ability to use, for example, a nearby iPhone as a webcam – a clever idea and well implemented.
No wonder Apple is looking to extend this to its upcoming AR/VR headset. The device is not being put in a vacuum: Apple has a strong ecosystem of products that can add to the appeal of the headset.
In the same way that the Apple Watch has become a coveted addition to the iPhone, an AR/VR headset can be positioned as something that is not only great on its own, but also when paired with iPhones, iPads, Mac computers and more.
As with all these leaks and rumors, we’ll have to wait and see. Most of the talk we’ve heard so far points to the launch of the new device in 2023, although the price of the first edition is likely to exceed the budget of most average consumers.