These realityOS trademarks hint at an imminent Apple AR/VR headset launch

VR headset
The next VR headset to appear could be made by Apple (Image credit: Mark Nazh / Shutterstock)

Amidst the growing list of leaks surrounding the rumored Apple AR/VR headset, we've heard mentions of a realityOS platform that will supposedly provide the software foundations for the device – and now trademark filings are popping up that register that very name.

As spotted by Parker Ortolani, a consumer product manager at the Verge, Polygon, and the Vox Media Podcast network, there are now two US trademarks for the "realityOS" name, held by a company called Realityo Systems LLC. These are the only two trademarks held by that company, and there's no information about it online.

The filings were made in December 2021, and reference the "design and development of computer hardware, software, peripherals, and computer and video games" – and there's also a specific mention of "wearable computer hardware".

Board approval

Remember that we've already seen references to realityOS in Apple's software, and the deadline for an international filing for the trademarks is June 8, 2022 – that's just two days after we'll see Apple CEO Tim Cook's main keynote at the WWDC 2022 event.

Add in that Apple has form when it comes to transferring trademarks over from shell companies just a few days after keynote announcements, and that the United States Patent and Trademark Office notes that the filings are for an unreleased product, and you've got some very strong hints that Apple's AR/VR device could be about to launch.

Only a few days ago, we heard that the headset and its realityOS software had been shown off to the Apple board, making a launch in June even more likely. Hardware announcements at WWDC are rare, but they're not completely unheard of.

Analysis: what we know so far (we think)

Rumors around an Apple headset that combines virtual reality (enclosed digital worlds) and augmented reality (the digital and real world combined) – also referred to as mixed reality – have been swirling for years at this point. One of the first big hints we had was Apple boss Tim Cook enthusing about the potential of augmented reality in 2018.

We think the mixed reality headset could be coming alongside a more lightweight pair of Apple Glasses that focus primarily on AR. More evidence for these two devices existing came in December of last year, when Apple made a major hire in the field of augmented reality public relations.

If the AR/VR headset is the first product to make an appearance, it's likely to come with a high cost attached: perhaps higher than $2,000 (that's about £1,585 / AU$2,795). High-end specs including 4K micro-OLED displays and powerful Apple-made processors have been mooted, as well as eye-tracking capabilities.

At this stage it would be a real surprise if there wasn't a mixed reality headset on the way from Apple – but the question is, when are we going to see it? There have been reports of delays until 2023, but given the new information we've got about trademarks, we'd recommend bracing yourselves for a major announcement at WWDC 2022 in June.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.