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Report: Apple Partnered With Valve on Upcoming AR Headset

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According to a Digitimes report today, Apple plans to release an augmented reality (AR) headset in 2020. Similar claims have been made before, but now there's another wrinkle because the publication also claimed that Apple partnered with Valve to make the device.

The AR headset "may" come out in the second half of next year "at the earliest," according to the publication. It noted that it would be made in Taiwan by ODMs Quanta Computer and Pegatron. 

Working with Valve, which also makes the Steam PC gaming platform, on AR would make some sense. Apple has some experience with AR because of its work on iOS, which introduced AR support with iOS 11 in 2017, but it hasn't made its own headset before. Valve has a lot of experience with VR headsets. It partnered with HTC on the Vive and released its own Index headset in August. VR is a bit different from AR, but the similarities are there. 

Apple previously sought to increase its AR prowess by acquiring smaller companies and hiring experienced workers. The company was reportedly meeting with AR-focused startups at CES 2019, for example. It's also purchased several AR companies since 2015. Yet, so far nothing has come of those efforts.

That might be about to change. MacRumors reported in September that pre-release versions of Xcode 11 and iOS 13 referenced an AR product. Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst who frequently leaks Apple's upcoming products, said in October that the company was preparing an AR headset for release in the second quarter of 2020. Bloomberg released a similar report in late October describing Apple's upcoming smart glasses.

All of which leaves us with Apple scooping up AR companies since 2015, chief executive Tim Cook saying that he's excited by AR technology and numerous reports claiming the company will finally release some kind of AR product in 2020.