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Apple Worldwide Developers Conference: Time for realityOS?

Reports say Apple’s AR-VR headset could run on a new operating system. Here's what else you can expect at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2022

FILE: Customers take photograph of the Apple Inc logo at the company's Myeongdong store in Seoul, South Korea. The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2022 will kick off on 6 June. (Bloomberg)

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The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is one of the most eagerly anticipated technology events every year. There seems to be no dip in those excitement levels for WWDC 2022, which will kick off on 6 June and run till 10 June.

As always, consumers and developers alike expect a host of software and hardware surprises from the Cupertino-based company. Many are excited about iOS16, some redesigned Mac apps, a new virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headset, and the next generation of iPhones. Here’s a look at some of the other updates ahead of the annual event.

A new MacBook Air?

There are multiple reports that indicate that Apple might introduce a redesigned MacBook Air, which could run on a new M2 chip. Apple’s M1 MacBook Air and Pro have reinvigorated the interest in the Mac lineup after their launch in 2020. According to a report in BGR India, the new Macbook Air could feature a slightly bigger display. The current MacBook Air sports a 13.3 inch display. The 2022 MacBook Air could also be lighter, thinner and come in multiple colours, the report adds. It is interesting to note that Apple unveiled a new MacBook Pro, powered by the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, just a few months back.

Looking forward to realityOS and a new headset?

If you thought Meta was stretching its lead in the mixed-reality race, then Apple might not be too far behind. Multiple reports indicate that Apple might unveil more details about its VR-AR headset. This, after two trademarks called realityOS, registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office were spotted, ahead of WWDC 2022.

Earlier this month, a Bloomberg report said that Apple Inc executives previewed this upcoming mixed-reality headset to the company’s board in a private meeting. In weeks preceding this meeting, Apple had also ramped up development of rOS – or reality operating system – the software that will run on the headset, the report added.

FILE: A customer sits in front of an advertisement for Apple Inc. iPhone 13 Pro smartphones at one of the company's stores in Sydney, Australia.
FILE: A customer sits in front of an advertisement for Apple Inc. iPhone 13 Pro smartphones at one of the company's stores in Sydney, Australia. (Bloomberg)

Writing in a recent Bloomberg Opinion piece, Trung Phan – co-host of the Not Investment Advice podcast and formerly the lead writer for the Hustle, a tech newsletter – explained how Apple could very well beat Meta in this mixed-realty battle for a variety of reasons. “A successful mixed-reality headset won’t be a standalone product, especially if it’s meant to interact with the real world. Apple already has solutions in place for audio (AirPods) and hand gesture (AssistiveTouch via the Apple Watch) requirements. We can expect pretty seamless integration with the headset,” Phan wrote.

It will be interesting to see in which direction this duel heads next.

Other big software updates

There are some big announcements expected on the software front from Apple at this year’s WWDC, including iOS16, iPadOS 16, macOS 13, watchOS 9, and tvOS 16. A recent article on 9to5Mac said Apple is planning to revamp the notification center and the lock screen with iOS16, the next iPhone operating system. There could be more capabilities added to the Focus Mode, which was announced last year, the report explains. “In addition, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman says iOS 16 could build future support for an always-on lock screen on the long-rumored iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max,” the report added.

Also read: What we know about Apple’s AR headset

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