Recent reports maintain we may be seeing a mixed reality headset from Apple sometime soon, however it appears the Cupertino tech giant has filed a global trademark for realityOS, its alleged XR operating system, which could suggest we’ll learn more about that and its XR device(s) as early as next week.

The trademark was discovered by Parker Ortolani, a brand licensing manager at Vox Media. As first reported by The Verge, Ortolani’s investigative work points to a possible reveal or mention of realityOS at WWDC’s keynote, taking place June 6th.

The trademark for realityOS, which is supposed to be used with “wearable computer hardware”, wasn’t filed by Apple directly. Instead, it was filed back in December 2021 by an entity called “Realityo Systems LLC”, which seems to have all of the hallmarks of a shell company specifically created to obfuscate the actual trademark holder. In the past, the company has used similar shells to register its successive macOS update names including Yosemite, Big Sur, and Monterey.

As Ortolani points out in a Twitter tread, the trademark was initially filed just two months before “realityOS” began showing up in Apple source code. The June 8th deadline to renew this filing is conveniently slated to take place only two days after the upcoming WWDC keynote.

“Apple typically files trademarks for products announced at WWDC a day or two after the keynote. This would be one helluva coincidence,” Ortolani concludes.

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Image courtesy USPTO via Parker Ortolani

Unless someone is looking for a trademark dispute that they’ll surely lose against Apple, it’s possible we’re seeing the dominoes fall in place for the company to formally announce realityOS, and possibly allude to its first XR headset.

Earlier this month, a report from The Information alleged that Apple showed off a host of AR/VR prototypes to its board as far back as 2016. The report maintained that, more recently, project lead Mike Rockwell and then-Apple hardware designer Jony Ive found themselves in a bit of a tussle when it came to just how the company’s first immersive headset would function. It’s said the headset, codenamed N301, was in the end set to become a standalone headset with VR displays and passthrough AR camera sensors, making it a ‘mixed reality’ headset.

We’ve assembled some of the key takeaways from reports past. Like all things Apple, we’re unable to verify any of the claims below, so please take them with a big grain of salt:

What We (think we) Know About N301 Mixed Reality Headset

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  • Brian Elliott Tate

    It seems like it would be near impossible to show off the OS without having some hardware already shown off with it. Perhaps Apple’s AR / VR headset will only be soft launched to developers at this point though and the hardware too will be revealed? The developer kit only?

    • Bob

      Nope. Nothing will be announced relating to their XR ambitions. It’s like this every year; the press obsessively speculate on advanced technologies being developed at Apple only to be greeted with the usual Mac, Air, iphone nonsense.

      Tim Cook isn’t set to announce his retirement anytime soon at least until 2024. On that year, you will see something new.

      • dk

        based on supply chains and all other leaks the anouncement is either this or next year and release in 2023 …..the years of just rumors and no release in sight are over

  • ILoveQueens

    This is happening. What virtual reality lacks, is a hardware ecosystem. Apple already has this. Recently, apple launched their financing department, so now you will be able to get the devices directly financed by apple. Even if this new VR/AR or MR, call it what you want, is 3k retail, Apple will offer the financing directly to the consumer, and then make the money through fees and sales on the realityOS store. They have been preparing for this for years.

    • XRC

      “What virtual reality lacks, is a hardware ecosystem.”

      Valve may disagree? as may HTC, Pimax, Varjo, StarOne, Etee, vrEngineers, Tundra Labs, etc.

      (any SteamVR hardware compatible with SteamVR lighthouse tracking).

      Fantastic how I can use Index, HTC Vive
      and Pimax headsets with same tracking system, then choose HTC Vive wand, Valve Index, Etee SteamVR, Pimax Sword, Logitech VR ink pilot, etc. as control inputs. Maybe add some tundra and Vive trackers for full body tracking?

      Awesome stuff…

      • ILoveQueens

        To elaborate, Apple’s device won’t be just VR, it will be a XR device that will connect with the current apple hardware ecosystem. iPhone, earPods, homePods, etc. Valve and Index are niche brands with niche products. This is about mass consumer adoption and Apple is the only one that has the brand recognition and resources to make it happen. Yes, it will part of their “walled garden” but is Apple, and they have been leading and innovating in consumer adoption of many new devices that before did not have a market at all. Consumer adoption of XR will open up opportunities for everyone, even beyond the Apple ecosystem.

        • XRC

          Great reply and thanks for the information. I’m not an Apple user (Android and PC) so have very limited experience with Apple ecosystem

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Why does VR need a hardware ecosystem like Apple has? People bitch at meta for exclusives, just wait for Apple, it is even more closed walled. No thanks. Don’t like the Apple hardware anyway.

      • Peter Dulong

        I’m with you..I don’t like Apple anything.

      • xyzs

        Competition is always a good thing to have. You may not like Apple, and so is my opinion, but at least that will bring new ideas, new techs and new investments into the XR world. Meta’s quasi monopole is why things are so dead. So, Apple and their closed app store and techs are still more than welcome.

  • mappo

    I lost interest when they said it won’t have controllers. Without controllers it’s useless for gaming, and without gaming I don’t care.

    • ZeePee

      True

  • megaflux

    wonder whose work they are stealing this time..

    • ZeePee

      Meta :p

  • megaflux

    #1 tech thief.

  • NL_VR

    What do Apple actually want with their XR device?
    Not gaming? Is it like Meta instead of a “laptop”?
    Its seems to be hell of an expensive Product so who will buy it if there isnt anything to do.
    It feels like it myst be REAL Good to draw common Apple users not experienced in XR.

    • dk

      they want to reshape your reality by giving u any hologram imaginable ……that will include games at some point …but anything could flop …we’ll see

      • NL_VR

        if its gaming like gaming on iphone. milking customers money ingame then i know what will not choose.

    • Mr.Philgood

      The iPhone wasn’t designed as a gaming console, but today mobile gaming is bigger than pc and console gaming combined

      • NL_VR

        Thats true, but its not any good compared.
        Most of the game are just for milking money one or another way. I dont think anyone serious gamer want the gaming industry going like mobile phone games.
        Mobile gaming may be biggest but its also the worst.

    • ZeePee

      VR will be for general computing, not just games.

      I imagine they are going for general computing, productivity, social experiences, and passive entertainment.

      It is a huge misfire though if gaming is not a focus in that too. We’ve barely even tapped into VR gaming, there are many 10s of millions of people yet to use VR for gaming alone.

      It’s the easiest market to hit, and the best one for the success of the product and growth of the industry at these still early stages.

      Even if general computing is the main aim, not having a focus on gaming alongside that is a ridiculously bad decision imo.

      It still could be very successful overall though, I really hope it is.

  • Jistuce

    I mean, they haven’t actually announced anything. But keep on gushing.

  • psuedonymous

    Lotta people going to be disappointed when ‘realityOS’ turns out to be an iPhone app running on ARKit.

    • dk

      I mean u will be able to see the virtual objects with a phone and with a headset ….just like with hololens in combo with an iphone or android

  • xyzs

    Oh yes please do!
    VR hardware innovation and market are so DEAD.

    When Apple enters the Arena, everybody will wake up.

    • ZeePee

      It’s about to wake up with PSVR2 and cambria.

      But, yeah, Apple is going to really shake things up.

      Between these three headsets, we are about to enter gen 2 VR, and after a slow wade through the muddy waters of gen 1, VR is about to explode, with rapid exponential growth. Watch it happen.

  • VR Gamer

    Sadly, I think Apple may have waited too long to get into the AR/VR market. Meta is now years ahead. I have a feeling Project Cambria may be better than the Apply headset at a lower price with many more games/apps. Apple made a mistake here in my opinion…

    • ZeePee

      No way project cambria (the headset itself) will be better.

      This thing will basically be project cambria on steroids.

      But, from the leaks so far, it does sound like they will not be focusing on games, and there may not even be controllers that can be used for gaming.

      This, is where Cambria could turn out to be way better.

      Cheaper, with gaming and proper controllers.

  • ZeePee

    I just doubt they will announce hardware.

    Maybe they’ll announce the new OS for developers.

    Unless the headset is launching in the next few months, are they really going to announce it so prematurely? I doubt it.

  • psuedonymous

    And for the Nth time, Apple’s supposed HMD continues its total existence failure.

    But the next time it will totally 100% absolutely definitely be announced for real!!1!