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.
Confirmed, there's no artifacts on Xs/Xr, and whole experience is a lot smoother. It appears that I've launched StarTester mode on my X in spite of all hardware locks:) pic.twitter.com/cAjmmbFbxG
— xSnow (@__int32) September 20, 2019
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.
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.