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Apple may have just leaked its VR headset’s operating system

If the rumors are correct, Apple’s upcoming mixed-reality headset is going to be packed with advanced features, from detailed eye tracking to a blend of augmented and virtual reality. The device is going to need a powerful operating system — and it looks like Apple might have accidentally just leaked its name.

As spotted by iOS developer Matthew Davis, an official-looking Apple GitHub repository makes reference to the name “realityOS,” and we don’t expect this was intended for public consumption given Apple’s extreme secrecy. In fact, the code refers to realityOS nine times, with hints as to its purpose and capabilities sprinkled throughout.

A rendering of the potential Apple headset made by The Information.
A rendering of the potential Apple headset made by The Information. Image used with permission by copyright holder

For example, a commented section of the code describes allowing iOS executables to use realityOS libraries, perhaps suggesting some form of interactivity between the two operating systems. Elsewhere, the code mentions “realityOS_simulator,” implying the operating system will be integrated into the simulator part of Apple’s Xcode app. Xcode is used by developers when creating apps for Apple’s various systems, and its simulator allows them to see how their creations will look and feel on Apple devices before the app launches.

If genuine, this latest leak would not be the first time Apple has spilled the beans on an upcoming project inside its source code – and it’s not even the first time this has happened with realityOS. In January 2022, another iOS developer, Rens Verhoeven, noticed that App Store upload logs contained a reference to realityOS, with the code specifically noting it as an Apple platform.

Looks like #Apple just accidentally confirmed #RealityOS. 🥽


— matthewdavis.eth (@IAmMatthewDavis) February 9, 2022

Apple’s mixed-reality headset is expected to be a seriously high-end device, with rumors suggesting it will have 8K displays for each eye, an ultra-low weight, will run on dual Apple Silicon chips, and will be festooned with numerous cameras to capture movements when in use.

The device’s release date is currently unknown, but is thought to have been pushed back to late 2022 or early 2023 due to various issues Apple is having with the project. As for a price, we can probably expect anything between $1,000 and $3,000, according to several sources.

Apple is clearly expecting its headset to be the “next big thing” for the company, but it seems Tim Cook will need to keep a tighter lid on things if further details are not to escape the secretive confines of Apple Park.

Alex Blake
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