Apple has announced its annual Worldwide Developers Conference — a kind of Glastonbury for macOS and iOS nerds — will kick off on June 5. 

And, according to Bloomberg’s well-connected reporter Mark Gurman, we should finally get a first look at the company’s long-rumoured VR/AR headset. Something Gurman says Apple “sees as the beginning of a post-iPhone era.”

We should also see new Macs as well as big changes to watchOS — the operating system that runs the Apple Watch. Although those changes aren’t for good, old fashioned UI reasons, but because — according to Gurman —  “the Apple Watch hardware updates will be anything but major.” I imagine Apple will pitch the reasoning a bit more creatively than that.

But back to the VR/AR headset, which I’m going to refer to as Reality Pro from now on, because there are big hints that that’s what it’ll be called. CEO Tim Cook was recently interviewed by GQ where he talked in general terms about the power or augmented and virtual reality, even if he stopped short of actually admitting that’s exactly what’s around the corner.

“If you think about the technology itself with augmented reality, just to take one side of the AR/VR piece, the idea that you could overlay the physical world with things from the digital world could greatly enhance people’s communication, people’s connection,” he said. “It could empower people to achieve things they couldn’t achieve before.”

Well, maybe. It could also cause all kinds of unforeseen consequences, given what we know about the eye, human attention and psychology. But hey: that’s a problem for company, given dedicated smartglasses are reportedly now on the backburner in Cupertino and no company can make people override their fashion consciousness like Apple.

Instead, Reality Pro is now likely the first step towards something that looks more akin to the Microsoft HoloLens, rather than something to be worn recreationally. And you get an idea of Cook’s thinking as the interview continues.

“We might be able to collaborate on something much easier if we were sitting here brainstorming about it and all of a sudden we could pull up something digitally and both see it and begin to collaborate on it and create with it,” he said. “And so it’s the idea that there is this environment that may be even better than just the real world — to overlay the virtual world on top of it might be an even better world.”

Wonderfully, GQ threw one of Cook’s old quotes back at him, when discussing Google Glass: “We always thought it would flop, and, you know, so far it has.”

You don’t become CEO of Apple without knowing how to bat awkward questions like that away, though. “My thinking always evolves,” he replied, after a short laugh. 

“Steve [Jobs] taught me well: never to get married to your convictions of yesterday. To always, if presented with something new that says you were wrong, admit it and go forward instead of continuing to hunker down and say why you’re right.”

Suffice it to say, internally there’s a lot of scepticism over Reality Pro, especially given the high price Apple is likely to charge. We’ll find out how well-founded those concerns are very soon.

Alan Martin
Alan is an experienced and versatile writer with the unique distinction of having written for both The New Statesman and Nuts. The list of publications Alan has written for doesn't stop there. His work has also been published in: Wired, CNET, Gizmodo UK, ShortList, NME, TechRadar, The i, The Independent, The Evening Standard, City Metric, Macworld, Pocket Gamer, Expert Reviews, Coach, The Inquirer, Rock Paper Shotgun, Tom's Guide, T3, PC Pro, IT Pro, Ideal Home, Livingetc, Stuff, Business Insider, theBit, Wareable, and Trusted Reviews. Alan now covers a range of subjects for ReviewsFire, with a focus on news - his unique style of covering technology news is a key part of ReviewsFire's success.

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