Xcode 11 and iOS 13 Golden Master releases confirm Apple is working on AR glasses

When it was all said and done, Apple’s latest event, “by innovation only” was pretty low-key, with no huge surprises in store for the audience or viewers watching from afar. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still new and exciting products coming down the pipe.

One of those things is an augmented reality (AR) headset that Apple is obviously working on, even if the company is not going out of its way just yet to officially announce anything. iOS 13 itself, which is set to launch to the public on Thursday, September 19, keeps referencing the AR headset in key ways, indicating work is being done to lay the groundwork for a launch at some point in the future.

The same can be said for the Golden Master releases for both Xcode 11 and iOS 13, both of which were released to developers yesterday after Apple’s event. Both Guilherme Rambo and Steven Troughton-Smith found references to the AR headset in both GM releases, with several bits that we’ve seen before.

For instance, “StarBoard” makes a return with the GM releases, which is Apple’s “system shell for stereo augmented reality apps (headset”, according to Troughton-Smith:

That’s not all, though. There is also a GameController framework in iOS 13 that seems to indicate Apple is also working on a dedicated handheld controller for its AR headset, too:

There are some questions regarding where StarBoard will run. It could be on the AR headset itself, or on the iPhone, which the AR headset would be connected to. Troughton-Smith believes that, at least at this point, it appears the iPhone will be tasked with handling the rendering.

There is even a readme file in the iOS 13 GM on how to run “Stereo AR apps” on an iPhone when developers don’t have access to the AR headset:

The StarBoard system shell discovery in iOS 13’s GM seems to make it pretty clear that an AR headset is definitely something Apple is working on. However, when this new piece of hardware is going to actually see the light of day remains to be seen. It’s always possible that Apple hosts another event in October, but if they do that could focus on the new, redesigned 16-inch MacBook Pro and not an AR headset.

Then again, it’s an Apple event, so it’s possible that the company really shakes things up with two new hardware announcements.

Are you eagerly awaiting Apple’s launch of an AR headset? How much would you pay for it?