Apple has reportedly broken up the team it assembled to develop its augmented reality headset and squashed the project entirely.
Thatâ€™s according to DigiTimes, which reported that Apple disbanded its AR/VR headset development team in May. The unconfirmed reports arrive after Ari Bar-Zeev â€“ the co-creator of Microsoftâ€™s HoloLens who was leading AR development at Apple â€“ left the company earlier this year.
In 2017, Apple was reportedly accelerating its plans to build an AR headset as a means of growing hardware revenues amid plateauing iPhone sales. Bloomberg cited people familiar with the situation who said that Appleâ€™s plan was to ship an AR device with its own display, a new chipset and a new operating system as early as 2020.
In 2018 Apple acquired Akonia Holographics, a company specializing in lenses for augmented reality glasses.
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While Apple has worked on its AR hardware, other similar headsets have gained some footing in the marketplace. Most notably is Magic Leap, an augmented reality startup that has raised billions from companies including Alibaba and Google.
Magic Leap has been working closely with AT&T and the operator has begun featuring Magic Leap hardware in its retail stores. AT&T has launched its DirecTV Now streaming service on Magic Leap glasses, and the company also announced plans to launch a wireless 5G test zone on Magic Leapâ€™s corporate campus in Florida.
Magic Leapâ€™s hardware is still somewhat price prohibitive for mass consumer adoption â€“ the headset and related hardware costs $2,295. Competitor Nreal, which announced a price of $500, may have posed a breakthrough for AR hardware but, as VentureBeat points out, that company was sued in June by Magic Leap, which accused Nreal of stealing its technology.