As Apple updates its software, developers search for headset clues By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Apple’s Mac Pro is shown during Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, U.S. June 3, 2019. REUTERS/Mason Trinca

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) – As Apple Inc (NASDAQ:) rolls out its usual stream of operating system upgrades for its iPhones, iPads and Macs at its annual Software Developers Conference on Monday, analysts and developers will scour between the lines to find clues as to how a future mixed reality headset might work.

This headset will likely use cameras to transmit a view of the outside world to a high-resolution display that can overlay digital objects onto a physical environment and could arrive in March next year, said Anshel Sag, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. . Such a device would be Apple’s first entry into a new category of computing device since the release of the Apple Watch in 2015 and would put it in direct competition with Meta, which has unveiled plans to release a code of mixed reality headset named “Cambria”. This year.

But neither Sag nor other developers and analysts polled by Reuters expect a preview of the headset on Monday.

Instead, they’ll be looking for buried clues about the future device, such as improvements in how Apple devices handle augmented reality scenes. They’ll be on the lookout for little surprises in so-called “spatial” features where devices understand how they’re used in three-dimensional space, said Andrew McHugh, co-founder of an app called Vivid that lets users walk virtually in their videos and photos. Apple has already rolled out features like spatial audio for its wireless headphones, where sounds change when users turn their heads.

Although a headset is unlikely on Monday, Apple could announce an updated version of its Mac Pro computer, which is aimed at users such as developers who need a lot of computing power and is the latest machine in the Apple range to use a central processor of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:). This machine would likely feature a powerful processor made up of multiple Apple Silicon chips fused together with advanced packaging technology, said Ben Bajarin, head of consumer technology at Creative Strategies.

Analysts expect some of the biggest takeaways of the day to be updates to staples like the iPad. Bloomberg reported that Apple plans to overhaul the device’s operating system to make it better for working with multiple apps and a keyboard. Such a move would reflect the fact that high-end iPads have processor chips that are as powerful as Apple’s Mac computers, but also features that those Mac computers don’t have, such as touchscreens and data connections. cellular.

“For years, Apple has touted the iPad as everyone’s computer. Today, it increasingly feels like the Mac is everyone’s computer. If that’s the case , where do you take the iPad? said Tom Mainelli, president of the consumer and device research group at IDC.

Mac sales rose 23% to $35.2 billion in Apple’s last fiscal year, thanks to a combination of increased purchases of work-from-home laptops and the introduction of its own line of Apple Silicon chips to power the machines. Bajarin said Apple may roll out new features designed to make Macs easier to use in enterprise environments in a bid to take market share from PC makers that rely on Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:) of the Windows operating system.

“I think we’re on the cusp of an enterprise Mac epidemic,” Bajarin said.

Bloomberg reported that Apple may release a new version of its MacBook Air laptop, one of its best-selling models for students and most office workers, with a new chip called M2, although some analysts like Bajarin think Apple could save the debut of this model for later in the year, when the company typically launches consumer products.

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