Report: ‘xrOS’ for AR/VR headset takes priority over iOS 17 features, augmented reality Apple Store experience coming soon


Mark Gurman reports that Apple has prioritized development of the operating system for its upcoming AR/VR headset, which is expected to be named ‘xrOS’. This means Apple has diverted engineering resources away from work on features for iOS 17 and macOS 14, in order to get the headset software over the line in time for a planned product launch later this year.

As a result, Gurman says that iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and macOS 14 may have fewer major new features than originally planned. Separately, work on new augmented reality features for the Apple Store app are apparently almost ready for release.

The augmented reality features would activate when a user enters a physical Apple Store. Through the Apple Store app on their phone, users would point at a product in the retail store — like an Apple Watch band, for instance — to see more information about it appear overlaid in the augmented reality view.

This kind of AR-enhanced shopping experience may be the sort of thing Apple has in mind for the headset, too.

Gurman reports that Apple has been working on the AR shopping features since 2020, and has been testing it at stores more recently. This suggests the feature may be officially unveiled soon.

Don’t get too excited just yet for iOS 17

We don’t really know yet what to expect from the next generation of Apple OS releases, but Gurman’s report today indicates that they may not represent huge leaps in terms of new features:

Apple’s focus on the xrOS operating system — along with iOS 16 snags — has also cost it some new features in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, the next major iPhone and iPad software updates. That software, codenamed Dawn, may have fewer major changes than originally planned. The same goes for macOS 14, which is codenamed Sunburst. 

Apple typically announces its new operating systems at WWDC in June. The company then releases beta versions for developers to test over the summer, with a public launch set for the fall alongside the new iPhone 15 launch. No doubt, we’ll hear more about what to expect in the coming months.

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