Apple's new iOS beta software makes reference to mixed reality headset - report

There are also rumours a new MacBook Air and AirPods Pro 2 models are on their way.
There are also rumours a new MacBook Air and AirPods Pro 2 models are on their way. Photo credit: Getty Images

With last week's announcement Apple's 2022 World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) will be an online program in early June, rumours have intensified over what new products may be announced.

One unlikely to be revealed, according to Apple analyst Mark Gurman, is the company's mixed virtual reality and augmented reality headset.

However, Gurman says there are clues coming as to when the much-rumoured product may be released.

"As far as I know, a full-blown introduction of the mixed-reality headset is still probably out of the question in June, but I am told that beta versions of iOS 16 - codenamed Sydney - are chock-full of references to the headset and its interactions with the iPhone," Gurman wrote in his latest Power On newsletter.

"That indicates that the headset will launch during the iOS 16 cycle, which kicks off in June and will last until iOS 17 comes in the fall of 2023.

"But it may also suggest that Apple could preview some of its upcoming augmented and virtual reality software earlier. Perhaps we could even get a peek at the headset's rOS, short for reality operating system," he wrote.

While updated versions of its operating softwares iOS 16, watchOS 9, macOS 13 and tvOS 16 are likely to be the highlights of the conference, Gurman is expecting new Macs soon and WWDC could well be where they're revealed.

One "likely" is a new MacBook Air, with the potential for a new version of Apple's own silicon to be inside. A new M2 chip may well power the new models, which are believed to have taken its design - including colours - from last year's iMac models.

The latest MacBook Air models are charged via USB-C, but with the reintroduction of MagSafe charging on the MacBook Pro range launched last year, compatibility with Apple's own charging system may be reintroduced.

According to Gurman an updated Mac Mini and 24-inch iMac are also in the works, as well as a low-end MacBook Pro - but it's not known which of these are likely to be launched alongside the Air.

Meanwhile the poor sales of Apple's AirPods 3 may force a rethink into how Apple sells the widely expected AirPods Pro 2 model, according to insider Ming-Chi Kuo.

In a tweet, he said that the Cupertino-based company was cutting its orders of AirPods 3 by 30 percent as the price cut for the AirPods 2 has meant more people buying those than expected.

That could mean the original AirPods Pro are simply killed off when the AirPods Pro 2 are launched, expected in the second half of this year, and possibly announced as early as June.

The new models may also be significantly redesigned, with previous rumours suggesting the stem might disappear altogether.

The new generation is also rumoured to have better fitness tracking features as well as support for Apple's high definition ALAC audio codec.