Apple’s source code references ‘realityOS’ for potential VR/AR headsets

Deepak Gupta February 9, 2022
Updated 2022/02/09 at 3:04 PM

The operating system that powers Apple’s virtual or augmented reality headset can be called realityOS, MacRumors reported. The term was discovered by various sources in recent GitHub open source and App Store upload logs. “What is Apple’s realityOS doing in the App Store upload logs?” tweeted iOS developer Rens Verhoeven. “This at least confirms [realityOS] 1) has its own operating system and binaries, and 2) has an operating reality simulator”, noticed another well-known developer, Steve Troughton-Smith.

The existence of such an operating system was first reported by Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman as rOS in 2017, and is known internally as “Oak” at Apple. The “OS” nomenclature would be logical, given the names of Apple’s iOS, macOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS operating systems.

Apple’s AR/VR headset development has been rumored for years. Apple bought VR company VRvana in 2017, suggesting it was pursuing the technology. The information reported in 2019 that a mixed AR/VR headset would arrive in 2022, with AR glasses arriving in 2023.

However, the latest rumor of Bloomberg suggests the headset will be delayed until 2023 due to development issues such as overheating. They will reportedly offer computing power on a par with a Mac M1 and can be standalone without the need for tethering, according to analyst Ming-chi Kuo.

If the references are real, they may suggest that the developers are getting or will have access to the operating system. As Troughton-Smith warned, however, they “may just be a holdover from someone’s takedown request from a fake account” too – so take the leak with an appropriate dose of skepticism.

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