If a recent patent is any indication, Apple plans to include new Continuity features in its future mixed-reality headset that will make transitioning between devices and virtual workspaces a seamless experience.
For those unfamiliar with the phrase, “continuity” refers to how Apple’s ecosystem’s devices can connect in real time so that users can transition between them without pausing their current tasks.
For instance, handoff enables you to start working on one device, move to another nearby device, and continue working in the same app where you left off. AirPlay to Mac, Sidecar, Universal Control, and Continuity Camera are more instances of Continuity functionality.
In a patent application titled “Multi-Device Continuity for use with Extended Reality (XR) Systems,” which the European Patent Office published this week, Apple provides some examples of how it expects Handoff-like interoperability will operate between an XR headset and other Apple devices.
In one illustration, Apple gives the idea of a user looking over at an email on an iPhone screen while wearing a headset. At this point, a virtual representation of the Mail app’s UI is superimposed over the iPhone screen. The user can then transfer the email to a larger virtual display suspended in their environment with a hand motion or eye movement and continue dragging it using the headset’s camera sensors.
Another example is when a headset user listens to music in a media app on their iPhone and, while in the same room, gestures or glances at a HomePod. By doing this, they uninterruptedly transfer audio playback to the smart speaker without physically approaching it. The patent writers state, “This handoff logic can be via a direct peer-to-peer connection and/or supported by a cloud server.
Other possible situations include one or more other devices and the device itself, with Apple’s XR headset “handling the continuous transfer of control across other devices in the system responsive to three-dimensional location-based user inputs.”
Apple also outlines a different solution where the headset enhances a desktop Mac by moving “accessory windows” near to but outside the borders of the Mac’s monitor screen into an “extended reality environment,” as opposed to transitioning from a physical display to a virtual one.
It’s still being determined how far Apple will initially advance Continuity with its alleged headset. But, a few examples in the patent will give you a solid broad picture of what the business has been attempting to do.
According to what we know about the headset, it can be used without an iPhone and will not require one to work. It will be powered by the new operating system, “xrOS,” created especially for the AR/VR experience. In addition to a FaceTime app designed just for the headset, xrOS will offer iOS apps, including Safari, Pictures, Messages, Maps, Apple TV+, Apple Music, Podcasts, and Calendar.
Apple will rely on hand gestures recognized by the numerous cameras on the headgear as a replacement for a wearable control device. For instance, typing uses hand and eye gestures and an “in-air” technique.
The initial iteration of the headset, most likely to be branded “Reality Pro,” is still scheduled to be unveiled by Apple at WWDC in June of this year, with a selling date for the product no later than the end 2023. We have a dedicated AR/VR roundup that compiles all the rumors we’ve heard for more information on what to anticipate from the headset.
Source: Patently Apple