Apple’s mixed-reality headset might run iPad apps

The upcoming Apple headset should also offer augmented reality versions of all critical iPhone apps, including Safari, Mail, Books, FaceTime, Fitness, TV, etc.

Closeup of a generic augmented reality headset showcasing lens
This is a generic headset | Image: James Yarema/Unsplash
  • Apple’s mixed-reality headset might run existing iPad apps from the App Store.
  • The company is also developing AR versions of many stock iPhone apps.
  • Developers will offer their own AR/VR apps for the device.

What kinds of apps might an Apple headset offer?

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has outlined what we can expect Apple’s upcoming AR/VR headset to do. The device will offer gaming, sports, fitness and meditation software to run on the device. Specifically, AR versions of Apple’s stock iPhone apps like Mail, Safari and Messages will be available for the headset.

On top of that, people will be able to download any of the apps specifically created for the iPad. The report makes it sound like those apps will run within the headset’s 3D interface but won’t offer any AR or VR features.

A big part of the effort is adapting iPad apps for the new headset, which blends virtual and augmented reality. Users will be able to access millions of existing apps from third-party developers via the new 3D interface.

And this:

Many iPad apps from the App Store will be able to run on the headset, either automatically or with slight modifications.

Stock apps that Apple’s headset could offer

Aside from services for watching sports and headset versions of the iPad’s existing features, like the Control Center, Apple will offer these AR-optimized apps:

  • Books
  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • FaceTime
  • Files
  • Fitness+
  • Home
  • Mail
  • Maps
  • Messages
  • Music
  • News
  • Notes
  • Photos
  • Reminders
  • Stocks
  • TV
  • Weather

In addition to the above apps, the Cupertino company should offer AR versions of Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie and GarageBand. As you can see, Apple will offer AR headset versions of almost every critical app that’s preinstalled on the iPhone.

Read the full details on Bloomberg.

There will be an app for almost everything

Illustration using colorful rings bent in the shape of the Apple Park headquarters
Apple’s WWDC invite graphic reminds me of the pancake lens! | Image: Apple

“Immersive video will also extend to the TV app, where the company is planning to let users watch video in different virtual environments, such as a desert or the sky,” Gurman explains. The AR version of FaceTime will reportedly have features that look similar to FaceTime on iPad, while Fitness+ will feature instructors in VR.

The Books app will let you read in virtual reality. Apple is also working on an AR version of its Freeform collaboration app that will allegedly enable people to work on virtual whiteboards together in mixed reality.

“The company is also testing a camera app that can take pictures from the headset,” reads the article. “On the wellness front, an app will help wearers meditate with calming graphics, sounds and voice-overs.”

A WWDC unveiling

Every device needs apps to succeed. The iPhone and iPad have enjoyed strong support from third-party developers. The inaugural Apple headset is thought to be a pricet accessory, costing north of $3000, because the first version is aparently aimed at software developers.

The thing should be unveiled at the WWDV show in June, with APIs released to developers to create apps for the device’s new xrOS operating system.

Apple is reportedly already working on a successor to the first headset and two more affordable versions that should appeal to regular users.

How will I navigate the Apple headset interface?

Apple headset rendering showcasing two micro-OLED screens
An Apple headset will take years to take off | Image: Ahmed Chenni/

The device will be capable of running multiple apps at once. Sophisticated eye tracking will let you navigate the menus and the device’s new 3D interface. You’ll apparently pinch with your fingers to select things.

There’ll be a Digital Crown-like dial for seamless switching between virtual and augmented reality. An air typing feature may not be ready for prime time, but users will be able to connect a physical keyboard to type on should they wish to do so.

Voice control via Siri will be supported, too.