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iOS 16 may confirm that Apple’s AR headset is coming soon

render of Apple VR/AR headset

Like the previous two years, Apple’s WWDC keynote event will be a virtual affair. Set to take place on June 6, WWDC is where Apple traditionally introduces a slew of software updates across the entirety of its product line. This year will be no different as we’ll get our first glimpse at iOS 16. What’s more, we’ll also see Apple announce updates for iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and perhaps tvOS.

iOS 16 features to look forward to

As a mature platform that’s been around for nearly 15 years, it’s no surprise that iOS updates in recent years have been more evolutionary than revolutionary. Still, there’s no denying that WWDC remains an exciting time for iPhone users. Even though new iOS features and improvements are largely incremental, there’s always excitement in the air when new iOS features are announced.

Looking ahead to WWDC 2022, it’s fair to say that we haven’t seen many rumors pertaining to iOS 16 just yet. This will likely change as WWDC fast approaches. Still, Mark Gurman recently shed a little bit of light on what can expect to see from the next-gen version of Apple’s popular mobile operating system.

Writing in his Power On newsletter, Gurman’s predictions are vague but nonetheless intriguing.

“I’m looking for some fairly significant enhancements across the board,” Gurman writes, “including an update to notifications and new health-tracking features.”

That’s not exactly jaw-dropping information, but we can only hope that Apple has some software tricks up its sleeve.

Most notably, Gurman writes that iOS 16 will include numerous references to Apple’s long-rumored AR headset. Still, there’s no evidence just yet that this mythical headset will arrive anytime this year. It may be a long shot, but Gurman speculates that we might “get a peek at the headset’s rOS.”

New Mac announcements

Naturally, most eyes at WWDC will be laser-focused on iOS 16. However, there’s also a strong possibility we’ll see some new hardware announcements.

Gurman writes:

I’m told there are two new Macs coming around the middle of the year or early in the second half. One of those is likely to be the new MacBook Air. Other models in the works include an updated Mac mini and 24-inch iMac, as well as a low-end MacBook Pro to replace the aging 13-inch model. And let’s not forget that new Mac Pro and iMac Pro models are in development.

Rumors of a brand new MacBook Air have been making the rounds for a while. And a revamp is certainly in order, given that the last Air update was back in November of 2020. Incidentally, there are rumblings that we may see a 15-inch MacBook Air sometime in late 2022 or early 2023.

There are also rumors we’ll see a brand new MacBook Air design this year. The new design may feature a notch, similar to the recent MacBook Pro models. We’ve also seen credible reports pointing to Apple doing away with the MacBook Air’s iconic wedge design. While it’s possible Apple’s brand new MacBook Air will boast an M2 processor, some Apple analysts anticipate the MacBook Air will stick with the M1 for now.

Apple’s rumored AR headset

It won’t be surprising to see references to Apple’s AR headset in iOS 16. Indeed, we’ve already seen them in iOS 15. All of this, of course, begs the question: what will Apple’s AR headset bring to the table?

Well, according to reputed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple’s AR headset won’t be a carbon copy of headsets we’ve seen from Sony and Facebook. In other words, Apple is poised to focus less on gaming and more on augmented reality use cases.

Rumors surrounding Apple’s AR headset have persisted for years. As a result, you’ll likely want to take the following with a grain of salt. That said, a report earlier this year suggested that Apple’s AR/VR headset would feature three displays. One is said to be an AMOLED panel. The other two are reportedly Micro OLED displays.

“We can expect the Apple headset to cost several thousand dollars,” display analyst Ross Young articulated recently. “Our assumption is that the first-generation headset will be a high-end device targeted at professionals and developers to expand Apple’s ecosystem in AR/VR.”

As for other features, we noted the following a few months back:

According to Kuo, Apple’s headset will boast 15 camera modules. Together, these cameras will provide users with an immersive AR environment capable of passing video from the outside world to the user. Kuo adds that the device will be lightweight enough to be portable, but not truly mobile like an iPad or iPhone. Back in March, Kuo said that headset prototypes weighed about 2/3 of a pound.

WWDC events have been a bit subdued in recent years. In turn, it will be exciting if iOS 16 isn’t the only main attraction this year.


More iPhone coverage: For more iPhone news, visit our iPhone 14 guide.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.