In less than 75 hours, we’ll know what Apple announced in this year’s WWDC keynote. 🚀

They say there’s no smoke without fire, and the billowing clouds of it rising above Cupertino mean some kind of VR/MR headset announcement seems inevitable. I’ll be shocked if the hardware is available for anything more than an on-stage demo, but let’s talk more about software. After all, isn’t that the most exciting bit?

I know the days before a potentially world-changing announcement aren’t the best time to encourage you all to keep your feet on the ground, but we have a perfect breadcrumb trail to follow when it comes to Apple AR software. ARKit has been with us for six years, which is plenty of time to know what it can do. If we’re about to see a headset-style device that supports third-party apps, expect the developer interface to be an evolution of ARKit and friends rather than something revolutionary.

Yes, a device that could potentially do real-time detection of various objects introduces fascinating UI challenges, but what’s more likely? An SDK that allows any app to watch any sensor from the background¹ and flood the wearer’s vision with unrestrained amounts of UI, or a model where Apple’s apps may be able to do some of those things while third-party apps get to run one at a time with significant UI limitations?

It’s also worth thinking about the possibility of it launching without being able to run non-Apple apps. Even though ARKit and related tech has been with us for a long time, something this different from a flat screen² may need a little time to settle before it can host an app platform. The obvious counterargument to that is whatever they announce is more VR focused, it will require a store to host the large amount of VR titles that will be relatively easy to port across to another headset.

Even though I’m trying to temper expectations here, and I should probably sign this as “The Grinch” rather than with my name, that doesn’t mean I’m not excited about whatever Apple have in store for us. I can’t wait to see it, use it, and maybe even develop an app for it!

Dave Verwer  

¹ The privacy implications of background sensor and vision monitoring are certainly serious enough to impact what third-party apps will be allowed to do. I’d also not expect to be able to freely place UI that could block people’s vision in any Mixed Reality mode.

² Meaning iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch as they all present any UI through a flat piece of glass.







Senior iOS Developer @ komoot – You’ll team up with four world class iOS engineers and take over full responsibility for our iOS app. You’ll develop diverse features for navigation, routing, social interaction and content visualisation that will make your work challenging and fun. – Remote (within European timezones)

Swift Product Engineers @ The Browser Company – Fully remote, diverse team building an all-Swift web browser and bringing Swift to other operating systems. Series A, well-funded and a seasoned engineering team. We're building a beloved product by thinking differently about how we work and the future of the internet. – Remote (within US or European timezones)

Mac & iOS Software Engineer @ Flexibits Inc. – We make Fantastical and Cardhop, award-winning calendar and contacts apps for Mac and iOS. We were honored to win Apple's Mac App of the Year in 2020 and we're looking to make our apps even better! Our team is a 25 person, fully-remote company spread across the US and Europe. – Remote (within US or European timezones)


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And finally...

What a very cool feature, and an even better use of that feature! ✈️