As Apple upgrades its software, developers search for headset hints By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Apple’s Mac Pro on display at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, US 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 developer conference Monday, analysts and developers will be looking between the lines for hints about how a future headset will work with mixed reality might work.

That headset will likely use cameras to convert an image of the outside world into a high-resolution screen that can overlay digital objects on a physical environment and could arrive next March, said Anshel Sag, principal analyst at Moor Insights & strategy. Such a device would be Apple’s first entry into a new category of computing equipment since the Apple Watch was released in 2015, and would put it in direct competition with Meta, which has announced plans for a mixed-reality headset coded “Cambria” to be released this year.

But neither Sag nor other developers and analysts interviewed by Reuters expect a sneak peek of the headset on Monday.

Instead, they’ll look for hidden hints about the future device, such as improvements in how Apple’s devices handle augmented reality scenes. They’ll be looking for little surprises in so-called “spatial” features in which devices understand how they’re used in three-dimensional space, said Andrew McHugh, who co-founded an app called Vivid that lets users virtually step into their videos and videos. photos. Apple has previously rolled out features like spatial audio for its wireless headphones, where sounds change as users turn their heads.

While a headset is unlikely at Monday’s event, which begins at 1 p.m. ET (1700 GMT), Apple could announce an updated version of its Mac Pro computer, aimed at users such as developers who need a lot of computing power and the last machine in Apple’s lineup to use a central processor from Intel Corp (NASDAQ:). That machine would likely have a powerful processor made up of multiple Apple Silicon chips fused together with advanced packaging technology, said Ben Bajarin, head of consumer technologies at Creative Strategies.

The Apple Store was offline Monday morning, a move that has been followed in the past by new products being added to the site.

Analysts expect some of the biggest takeaways of the day to be updates to core products 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 more expensive iPads have processor chips that are as powerful as Apple’s Mac computers, as well as features that those Mac computers don’t have, such as touchscreens and cellular data connections.

“For years, Apple has pointed to the iPad as the computer for everyone. Now it feels more and more like the Mac is the computer for everyone. If so, where are you taking the iPad?” said Tom Mainelli, group chairman for consumer and device research at IDC.

Mac sales grew 23% to $35.2 billion in Apple’s most recent fiscal year, made possible by a combination of increased purchases of laptops for working from home and the introduction of its own line of Apple Silicon chips to power machines. Bajarin said Apple could roll out new features designed to make Macs easier to use in business environments in an effort to take market share from PC makers who rely on Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:)’s Windows operating system.

“I think we’re on the brink of an outbreak of Macs in business,” Bajarin said.

Bloomberg has reported that Apple could 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 the M2, although some analysts like Bajarin believe Apple may be making that debut. model for later in the year when the company typically introduces products aimed at consumers.

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