Everything we know about RealityOS, the operating system that could mark the new era of Apple

Apple Glasses, as they are known in the world of rumorology, have been making noise for quite some time. It is a fact that Apple is working on such a device and we are getting closer and closer to knowing it. In fact, during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2022, whose opening conference will take place next June 6, we could have the first glimpse of Apple’s vision in this area. Not the device as such, but RealityOS.

What is RealityOS?

With the launch of a new family of devices, Apple usually introduces an operating system whose purpose is to take full advantage of the hardware’s capabilities. The Mac gave rise to what we know today as macOS; the iPhone to iOS and the Apple Watch to WatchOS, to name just a few examples. With augmented reality glasses the exact same thing will happen.

However, RealityOS will be very different from the rest of Apple’s operating systems, as it will be the first to interact in large part with elements of the real world. It is also true that we do not know too much about it, since so far Apple has been able to keep its secrets very well. Nevertheless, we can rely on multiple reliable reports, as well as patents filed by the company itself, to find some relevant details.

iOS, the basis of RealityOS

During 2017 was the first time we heard of an Apple operating system fully dedicated to augmented reality. Mark Gurman, the most reliable source when it comes to future Apple products, assured that the software will be based on iOS.

This is important in many ways. Firstly, because the platform that gives life to the iPhone is already robust enough today. Not only for users, but also for developers. Facilitating the development of applications on a mixed reality device will be key to imagine experiences that propose something different from what Apple will offer natively. Consequently, RealityOS will have its own app store -perhaps not at launch, that’s for sure-.

Another reason why Apple would have bet on iOS as the basis for RealityOS is because the former has long since achieved a level of near-perfect integration with the iPhone hardware. Why is this important? Because Apple’s mixed reality glasses require powerful hardware to be able to cater to two propositions that are very different from each other.

It is common to see some people confuse virtual reality with augmented reality; however, each proposes something different. Virtual reality introduces you to a fictitious digital world, such as a video game or the much talked about Metaverse. Augmented reality, on the other hand, is a virtual layer that is added to enrich the real world. Apparently, Apple’s first steps in this sector are intended to cover both technologies.

Uses of virtual reality and augmented reality

Virtual reality can be leveraged in many ways. In terms of entertainment, the clearest example is video games. It is this industry where the technology found its first niche of enthusiasts, a niche that today continues to rely on the growth and evolution of VR. Without going any further, Sony is preparing the launch of PlayStation VR2, while Oculus and Valve are moving forward with their own devices.

RealityOS would also facilitate the viewing of video content, such as movies or series through the most popular streaming services. Of course, adapted to a virtual world so that the experience varies compared to watching them on TV. Can you imagine a simulated cinema?

The work environment can also benefit greatly from virtual reality and augmented reality. You could hold meetings in a more interactive way through a vitamin version of FaceTime, for example. The possibilities are vast and the imagination of Apple engineers, not to mention developers, will be the limit.

RealityOS, the big “surprise” of WWDC?

During the last few days the chances that we will meet RealityOS during the WWDC 2022 keynote have increased. The strongest evidence is that, in December 2021, Apple applied for registration of the trademark “RealityOS” in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The application expires next June 8, two days after the WWDC 2022 opening keynote.

Another curious point is that they did it through a company called Reality Systems LLC, whose address has already been used by Apple to register trademarks related to macOS. Coincidence? WWDC 2022 is just around the corner and it is very likely that we will get the first glimpse of RealityOS.

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