The Apple AR/VR headset isn’t official yet, but leaks around it keep coming – and the latest news outlines how the device could work with other Apple products, such as iPhones and HomePods.
A patent (opens in new tab) filed in Europe (via MacRumors (opens in new tab)) describes “Multi-Device Continuity for use with Extended Reality (XR) Systems”, and elaborates on the continuity features (such as Handoff and Universal Control) already available on existing Apple gadgets.
We assume the same continuity rules apply to the upcoming AR/VR headset (or XR): As long as you’re signed in with the same Apple ID on all your devices, they’ll work together seamlessly using technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Easy to use
The patent gives a few examples of how this could work. In one, someone wearing the headset looked at an email on an iPhone and could then throw it at a larger virtual screen with a wave of the hand or a glance.
Similarly, it would be possible to transfer music playback from an iPhone to a HomePod – all you need to do while wearing the headset is to gesture or simply switch your gaze to switch devices. You could also have additional screens and widgets appear in augmented reality while looking at a Mac screen, for example.
You get the general idea. Of course, the usual patent disclaimer applies: these patents don’t always necessarily end up as shipped products or features, although they do give us an idea of what companies are currently researching.
Analysis: continuity is key
Usually, the continuity features that Apple has built into its products make life much easier and more convenient. Recently, macOS gained the ability to use a nearby iPhone as a webcam, for example – a clever idea and well implemented.
It really comes as no surprise that Apple would like to extend this to its upcoming AR/VR headset. The device isn’t launching in a vacuum: Apple has a strong ecosystem of products that can add to the headset’s appeal.
In the same way that the Apple Watch has become a desirable accessory for the iPhone, the AR/VR headset can be positioned as something that is not only great on its own, but also when it works together with iPhones, iPads, Macs and more.
As with all these leaks and rumors, we’ll have to wait and see. Most of the chatter we’ve heard so far points to a 2023 launch for the new device, although the first edition will likely be priced above most average consumers’ budgets.