Apple AR Glasses Evidence Found in iOS 13 Code

An AR glasses concept by 3D artist Martin Hajek
(Image credit: idropnews/Martin Hajek)

New evidence of stereoscopic AR functionality in the latest Cupertino’s internal builds of iOS may indicate that Apple is still working on its fabled AR glasses — codenamed “Garta” — despite rumors to the contrary.

Reportedly, internal builds of iOS 13 contain an app that puts the iPhone screen into a head-mounted stereoscopic mode. The documentation, according to MacRumors, points at two modes: “worn” and “held”.

A text file in the release talks about an augmented reality shell for stereoscopic AR apps called “StarBoard” and speaks about a device codenamed “Garta”. The internal iOS 13 beta code is also packed with references to StarBoard, including strings like “ARStarBoardViewController” and “ARStarBoardSceneManager.”

So perhaps the rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated after all. Or maybe these are documentation and code leftovers and the glasses have been shelved for now until new AR technology comes through.

Could the Apple Glasses be previewed next week?

A report by Ming-Chi Kuo — the most reliable Apple analyst with an impeccable track record — claimed that Apple was going to start making the glasses as soon as the end of 2019, using the iPhone as its graphics processing unit rather than being a standalone product. If Kuo was right, maybe we will see a preview of the AR glasses at the September 10 event after all.

Think about it. That floating 3D translucent logo in the event invite could be a direct reference to AR objects floating in space. And since it has the same colors as the original Apple logo in the Macintosh, maybe this is a throwback reference at being as revolutionary as the original Mac was — which will tie nicely with the invite’s legend: “By innovation only.”

MORE: iPhone 11 Launches Sept. 10: What to Expect From Apple's Big Event

(Image credit: Apple)

On the other hand, a Digitimes report published in the summer claimed that Apple had cancelled the product because it didn’t have the necessary technology to make it as revolutionary as Apple was envisioning.

Incidentally, the only reference I have found for “Garta” on the internet is “a badger-like mammal native to Iraq” reported by local residents of Basra, Iraq — “its appearance is dog or badger like but with a ursine like head, short hands, 15-cm-long claws, long hair, its genitals similar to a human, and appears every nighttime where it will attack residents of Basra.” However, there’s no zoological record of such a creature. In other words: the garta is Iraq’s Big Foot. 

Maybe the Apple Glasses could be Apple fans’ own elusive legend that will never be found — at least for now. Still, I hope that at least we can see a preview of the AR glasses this month, with a launch in 2020. One can dream.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.