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iOS 16 could confirm Apple's AR/VR headset is on the way

apple mixed reality headset
(Image credit: Future)

iOS 16 could contain the first official mention of Apple's AR headset, as well as notification and health upgrades, according to rumors from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

In his most recent Power On newsletter, Gurman talks about several interesting updates due to be announced at Apple's WWDC 2022 conference, scheduled for June 6.

But most exciting among his tips for iOS 16 (allegedly codenamed Sydney) are reported references in the new iPhone software to the long-rumored Apple mixed reality headset and the rOS (Reality OS) operating system that will power it.

Gurman had previously tipped the headset to appear at this year's WWDC, but he now says it will be announced "at the end of this year or next year" instead. He noted that the number of interactions between iPhones and the mixed reality headset mentioned in iOS 16 indicates that the headset will arrive during iOS 16's lifespan, likely to run from June to the end of 2023. 

Beyond that, Gurman also mentions "significant enhancements across the board" for iOS 16, including changes to notifications and health tracking. The look of iOS reportedly won't be changing though.

Of course, Apple won't only be discussing iOS at the conference. We should also hear more about the new macOS 13, watchOS 9 and tvOS 16. Gurman doesn’t give any hints about what to expect for these other than their codenames (Rome, Kincaid and Paris respectively) and that watchOS will have activity/health tracking improvements. One last nugget of info he does offer is that iPadOS 16, the iOS variant designed for Apple's tablets, could get a new multitasking interface.

It may not be all software though, as Gurman says we may hear news of some new Mac models in the near future. While WWDC is usually a hardware announcement-free event, it would be the next obvious event for Apple to debut some fresh products. Gurman says two new Macs are slated for a mid-year release, which he expects to be a new MacBook Air 2022 and one other model. He says the other could be an update to the Mac mini, iMac, iMac Pro, Mac Pro or 13-inch MacBook Pro, all of which are currently in development.

While we will get our first look at iOS 16 at WWDC, and the betas will go live shortly after that, most of us won't try it out until it gets a stable launch. That should happen when the iPhone 14 arrives, which will most likely happen this September.

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.