With iOS 15, Apple appears to be laying the technical foundation for its next big group of devices: AR and VR headsets.
The revamped FaceTime of iOS 15 sets up what could eventually be Zoom-like experiences on a headset. Apple has added a new grid view, improved audio and video quality, and the ability to share someone else’s display with SharePlay. (Imagine using an Apple headset to game or watch movies with someone—the technology is now there.) Just as significant: Apple has added Spatial Audio into FaceTime, which will more precisely position the location of sounds users hear. As Bloomberg has reported before, a core use of Apple’s first planned AR and VR product will be communicating with people.
Apple’s iOS 15 adds AR-enabled turn-by-turn walking directions. When the company ultimately releases a pair of AR-only glasses—a release said to be slated for later this decade—the ability to beam mapping directions onto actual streets is likely to be a key feature.
Beyond the consumer-facing technology, Apple also introduced new features for developers that could eventually help the company roll out apps to a headset:
• Object capture
• Gaming updates
• Spatial Audio
This year’s release wouldn’t be the first time Apple has built technologies into the iPhone to support its next big hardware launch. In iOS 8 in 2014, Apple added the Health app, new quick messaging and typing features, and the ability to start doing something on one device then continue that task on another. At the time, those features all had the clear capability to support a future Apple Watch launch in 2015, which they did.
MacDailyNews Take: Apple is forever laying groundwork.