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Apple AR headset in the works, report says

Now that its got a programming interface for augmented reality, a headset is the obvious next step.

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Apple engineers are said to be using the HTC Vive VR system for their AR work.

Josh Miller/CNET

Apple could be working on an augmented reality headset, though we shouldn't expect to see it until 2019.

The news comes from "people familiar with the situation," cited in a Bloomberg report published Wednesday.

If true, it's not surprising: Every major company is betting on "reality" headsets -- AR, VR or mixed -- of some form as the future of human-computer interaction. Facebook and HTC have their standalone virtual-reality systems, Oculus and Vive. There's Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream systems which use the phone drop-in system for their headsets. And of course, there are the new  Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) headsets.

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Apple's intended implementation sounds like the WMR approach, albeit one that has all the smarts in the headset and doesn't require a phone or connection to a computer. That's probably one reason it won't be out for several years -- no one's been able to manage the feat yet with satisfactory performance.

Bloomberg says that Apple will update its ARKit software in 2018 as part of the effort. Also unsurprising, since Apple generally revises all of its active application programming interfaces at least annually, and usually announces them at its yearly WWDC developers' conference.

We've reached out to Apple for comment and didn't immediately hear back.