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(Pocket-lint) - Critics of Apple want to know when it will release its "next big thing".

It's been 10 years since the iPhone debuted, and although Apple has innovated with tablets, wearables, streaming media devices, headphones, and most recently, speakers, people still want the company to develop a breakthrough product that will succeed the iPhone. Enter: AR. Apple is already exploring this space on a software level.

Apple's iOS 11 update includes ARKit, which makes it easier for developers to build AR apps and makes it possible for your iPhone to render AR. It might also lay the groundwork for a bolder move: an AR headset. According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple plans to have one ready in 2019 and could ship the product as early as 2020.

This AR headset has been rumoured for a while - and CEO Tim Cook even mentioned during an earnings call that Apple believes “AR is going to change the way we use technology forever". Bloomberg claimd Apple's AR headset will feature a display, a new chip, and an operating system referred to as “rOS” or “reality operating system".

You'll control the headset either through head gestures, touch panels, or voice control via Siri. Apple's engineers are working that out on prototype headsets. Meanwhile, designers are figuring out the limits of AR via an HTC Vive VR headset while also coming up with applications - from mapping and messaging to “virtual meeting rooms".

Mind you, earlier this year, patent applications from Apple popped up showing AR glasses. So, Apple clearly has an interest in AR and is actively exploring its potential. It'll be interesting to see if AR ends up being the company's *whisper of a dream* next big thing.

Writing by Elyse Betters. Originally published on 8 November 2017.