Apple And Valve Might Be Making An Augmented Reality Headset

Many companies have tried before — will Apple get the trend right?

After Airpods and Apple Watch, consumer product fans have wondered what the next frontier for Apple is. The answer may come from an unexpected place — an augmented reality headset, made in conjunction with American gaming supercorp Valve.

As reported by Diginews via industry sources, Apple and Valve are rumored to unveil an AR product, with late next year as the earliest possible release date. In addition to the corporations’ involvement, the rumors are that assembly will be handled by Quanta Computer, a massive hardware assembly corporation, and Pegatron, infamously known as one of Apple’s controversial assembly factories.

AR had a hot moment in the mid-2010s. Since then, its implementation became more subtle, with “selfie” filters leading the charge. Now might be the time for the big guns — hence this collaboration. Plus, the big names coming together sort of make sense now, with Apple leaning into the gaming market through Apple Arcade. Valve isn’t quite a day-to-day lifestyle company, but we’re sure they can help… well, somehow.

Various companies tried AR hardware in the past, with the largest so far being Microsoft Hololens and Google Glass. Glass was a “consumer AR” product, with a single piece of glass sharing information in the corner of the user’s eye. Numerous apps were hooked up to the product, but it wasn’t meant to be used every second of the day. However, it was the closest to our current idea of “cyberpunk” visualization we have to this day. (Source: Borrowed Glass in 2014 from a friend.)

Valve Index, the company’s most recent virtual reality hardware kit.

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On the other hand, the Hololens, which are clunkier and feel more like VR headsets, are mostly used for business and industrial purposes. In fact, the US government reportedly dished out millions for custom versions of the headset. The decision also reportedly upset a lot of its employees, who spoke out against the deal en masse.

This time, Apple and Valve are involved, and both are more notably consumer-facing. Given their histories, we’ll likely see attempts close to “trend-setting” design and functionality — closer to Glass than Hololens.

With their Airpods and Apple Watch gaining momentum, wearable hardware is definitely the next frontier for Apple. In fact, in July, August and September 2019, Apple’s “wearables, home and accessories” accounted for 19.5% of their total product sales, according to their latest financial report. Meanwhile, Valve’s most recent virtual reality kit, Index, has been making waves in the VR market.

Again, though, for now — the AR is a rumor! But the time is pretty nigh from these companies.


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