Latest Safari beta hints at rumored Apple Mixed Reality headset

Safari 15 on Big Sur
(Image credit: Apple)

Another day, another hint that Apple is not-so-secretly working on its own VR / AR headset. The latest evidence comes courtesy of the iOS 15.4 beta – in particular, the latest version of Safari. As spotted by Maximiliano Firtman, the current version of Safari has adopted several new experimental WebXR features.

WebXR was created to make it possible for web developers to more easily deliver virtual reality and augmented reality experience through a browser. While Safari has offered some fairly basic support for the tool in the past, Apple hasn't done much to keep up as WebXR develops – but that's just changed.

Specifically, Firtman notes that the four features being added to Safari are:

  • WebXR Augmented Reality Mode
  • WebXR Device API
  • WebXR Gamepads module
  • WebXR Hand Input Module 

Interestingly, Firtman adds that it isn't clear how the API would interact with an iPhone or iPad, with it instead being tooled towards external devices only. Firtman goes on to guess that this step could be "preparing the scenario for Apple’s upcoming goggles or headsets."

We're inclined to agree with him on this one; Safari's newly-adopted WebXR support is just another piece of evidence on the mounting pile of leaks and rumors that indicate an Apple MR headset is in development.

Still a long way from reality

That said, while Safari's WebXR support is another small hint at Apple's VR / AR future, the headset itself is still very much in the realm of speculation. Apple has yet to confirm the existence of its headset, or even the long-awaited AR-focused Apple Glasses

While it feels inevitable that these devices will release, other reports suggest they're trapped in development hell – plagued by obstacles and setbacks that continually delay their rumored release dates.

If this is the case and issues persist, Apple could very well decide to give up on the hardware completely. 

Hopefully, that won't be the case, and with each new rumor it feels we're steadily getting closer to some official announcement – though it's not yet clear if that's going to be a few months or a few years away.

Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.