Could Apple’s augmented reality headset replace your iPhone?

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If you've been waiting on Apple to release its own augmented reality headset, you may need to stay patient. Internal reports suggests that Apple's AR headset won't launch until 2022. While that seems like a long time to wait, Apple executives have big dreams for this next advancement in technology.

There have been rumors about Apple's venture into AR for some time now. Originally, people suspected that Apple would release an AR headset in 2020. However, those early reportings seem to have been a little ambitious.

During an internal presentation at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park, executives finally shared a timeline with employees. Sources present at the meeting told The Information that Apple plans to start with the release of an AR headset and then, by 2023, introduce a pair of AR glasses.

Both augmented and virtual reality are seen as the next big thing in tech. They differ in that with virtual reality, the entire image you see is artificial. However, AR mixes real-world images with artificial ones in real time, as described by 9to5mac.

Codenamed N301, Apple's AR headshot will reportedly look like a slimmer version of the Oculus Quest, which is a virtual reality headset released in May by Facebook. Although it's being primarily described as an AR headset, N301 will have VR capabilities, too.

According to the Verge, the headset will also use external cameras to map the user's surroundings and a high-resolution display which are both important for integrating virtual objects with the real world.

The company told employees that it will begin reaching out to developers in 2021. Although the wait for an AR headset is now longer than first expected, Apple executives think that this technology could replace smartphones within a decade, 9to5mac reported.

The idea that AR will replace smartphones is a viewpoint that Apple CEO Tim Cook attested to before.

"The smartphone is for everyone, we don't have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic, or country or vertical market: it’s for everyone," Cook told the Independent. "I think AR is that big, it’s huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives."

Tech executives may be excited for AR, but of course a big obstacle is getting the general public on board. Not everyone is immediately excited by the idea of AR because it's a technology that's meant to blur the lines between what's real and artificial.