Apple AR headset details may have been discovered in hidden iOS code

It looks like Apple still has an eye on making an AR wearable a reality
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An Apple AR headset or smartglasses may well still be a thing despite recent speculation that the idea was being canned.

The evidence that it is still very much a thing lies in code found in an insider build of Apple's iOS 13 operating system, where references to a 'STARTtester' app that can apparently switch between in and out of a head-mounted mode were found.

Essential reading: Best augmented reality glasses to buy

Additional revealing info include mentions of two head-mounted states that are being tested, which include 'worn' and 'held'. There are also details of a 'Starboard' system for Stereo AR-enabled apps, which could be an indication of some form of augmented reality headset.

The build also drops the codename Garta as being associated with an augmented reality device Apple is in the process of developing. MacRumors did more digging and found further references that could suggest work on an augmented reality is currently taking place.

For a while now, Apple has been rumored to be working on an AR wearable of some form that was tipped to be launching in 2020. It's also been making big improvements to its ARKit platform, which is largely accessible through Apple's smartphones and tablets.

Back in July, there were reports that Apple reportedly terminated development of its AR smartglasses according to Digitimes, who have been hit and miss when reporting about the inner workings of Apple in the past.

With Apple's next big event set to take place on 10 September, we are expecting to hear details about the Apple Watch Series 5. Maybe Apple could be saving one of its famous 'One more thing' moments for our first peek at an AR wearable too.


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Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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