Steadily becoming the biggest open-secret in the industry… more evidence has come to light that Apple in ongoing development of an AR headset. Inside iOS 13.1 beta 3, a developer claims to have found codenames, display dimensions, and fields of view, for three separate AR devices, as well as functional ‘StarTester’ test mode which renders a stereoscopic view.

A developer sifting through iOS 13.1 beta 3 has reportedly unlocked a ‘StarTester’ mode which renders a stereoscopic view suitable for an AR headset. The mode is part of Apple’s ‘StarBoard’ system which was recently uncovered in iOS and described therein as a “system shell for stereo AR enabled apps.”

Working under the name xSnow on Twitter, the developer apparently loaded their own test scene into StarTester and was able to capture the stereoscopic output.

This kind of dual view is commonly seen in the AR and VR space, allowing an app to render two slightly different views (one for each eye) to provide stereoscopic depth when seen through a headset.

Beyond StarTester, the developer says files within iOS 13.1 beta 3 include references to three different AR devices codenamed Franc, Luck, and Garta, with diagonal fields of view specified as 61°, 58°, and 68° respectively. The developer also claims that the files include 3D models of each headset’s display, which may be used to calculate correct view projections or distortions.

Apple Offers Impressive Web-based AR Previews of New Mac Pro

There’s also references to ‘HoloKit‘, a Google Cardboard-style AR headset which Apple may be using for software prototyping until they lock down their own headset hardware and are able to make enough prototypes for internal distribution and development.

The findings come not long after we spotted Apple posting a heap of new job listings for AR/VR positions which point to new products on the horizon, including roles for ‘AR/VR Demo Evangelist’ and ‘Product Manager, AR/VR’.

Increasingly, questions surrounding an Apple AR headset seem not to be if, but what and when.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Xron

    Glad to see some1 will try to give a push for AR/VR again, because pushes from Htc/Oculus(Facebook)/Sony/Microsoft seem to be slowing down.. (Quest is a great thing, but not powerfull enough, we don’t get chips just for AR/VR, we still use mobile ones…)
    Well, we will have an oppurtunity to see if Oculus is really slowing down or not in few days though. Oculus Connect 6 is comming.

    • Darshan

      Understandable reason for not getting custom chips for AR/VR is state of VR at present, its not omni present like smart phone, not every one is using it every day where as mobile phone is even more used then laptop not alone desktop. hence staggering growth is bound to happen as almost all of us are using it. The moment VR headset reach even 30% of current mobile penetration in market companies making mobile processor are heart over head happy to offer their best product specifically tailored for VR. Till then there is nothing wrong in 2nd most powerful or 3rd most powerful mobile chip which can carry out trade with few customization.

      In my honest opinion its best if Quest move to SD855 from SD835 it will be a great boost. if not generational certainly more than 35% in GPU to 45% in computation its good target if so is not monetarily prohibitive.

      Actually i expect SD855 version of Quest and OC Connect 6, if it could be there its huge plus.

      • Rogue Transfer

        Too soon for an SD855 Quest at OC6 – the original Quest’s only been out 4 months. It’ll be another couple years before they likely update Quest’s hardware, at which time it’ll be a similar cost to include as the 835 is now.

        Though, they may want to lower the overall price of the next Quest by a hundred(to drive adoption more) which might limit them to an 845 instead.

    • Adrian Meredith

      Quest is plenty powerful enough and is mind-blowingly impressive tech. I can’t deny though a quest with apples latest chip would be fun insane. It would basically end pc vr.

      • johann jensson

        It would basically end pc vr

        LOL… Dream on.

      • Nothing to see here

        It kind of already has for me. I think the Quest with Virtual Desktop is the best PC VR headset on the market. The tether free and instant on features make it a delight to use and it is a lot more comfortable than the Samsung Odyssey.

      • Justos

        quest has already ended pcvr for me. For those titles that only work on PC, streaming is 90% there. Some serious magic going on in that space

    • Immersive_Computing

      Apple and Google are pushing hard behind the scenes, AR is long game to forever change the mass market computing habits.

      Google have something brewing with new XR patents secured.

  • eckehard

    I hope Oculus shows an further development of their headsets ..

    • Rogue Transfer

      Facebook will most likely show the early research they have on AR prototypes at OC6. Oculus no longer exists as a company, since a year ago, the remaining staff were put under new management in Facebook Technologies Ltd. The division that now does the development of headsets is Facebook Realities Labs, since a couple years ago.

  • I’m very curious about what Apple will come up with. The field of view of Garta is very interesting, because it is more than HL2, Magic Leap One and nReal

    • Charles

      “more than HL2”
      Half Life 3 confirmed.

    • Immersive_Computing

      My opinion is the powerhouses of Apple and Google will forever change the mass market computing platform from smartphone to heavy glasses AR. We will forget the small AR companies when these titans launch… they have the resources to play the long game which the small companies cannot sustain.

  • Penn Apcs

    As we all know this product could be one of the most life-changing products we have ever experienced. And as you said, this type of evidence is starting to make it seem like it is just a question of when (and the answer is most likely “soon”). This seems like a big deal.

  • dota

    I hope Apple would do something great & different.

    • Ted Joseph

      I like your post. Excellent proposals. I would like to add one thing to your items at the top. 4. It connects via fast WI-FI (I read this someowhere that it is a new tech coming out) instead of a cable, to your phone, IPAD, Mac, PC, etc.

  • I have seen the 3D footage in my 3D mobile and it’s great. A lot of depth

  • Ted Joseph

    Everytime I thought Apple fell behind on new products, they come out with something spectacular. Like the Apple Watch, Airpods, etc. Hopefully they don’t disappoint with their AR glasses as well. Cant wait for AR to become a viable reality for daily use throughout our entire day, including work or school.