Trademark Filings Suggest Apple May Be Securing ‘Reality’ Names for AR/VR Headsets Business Wire

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(Bloomberg) — Trademark filings suggest Apple Inc. may be laying claim to potential names for its highly anticipated mixed-reality headset, part of the tech giant’s push into its first new product category in years.

Applications were filed in the US, EU, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica and Uruguay for the names “Reality One”, “Reality Pro” and “Reality Processor”. Although Apple did not make the filings, they follow a pattern the iPhone maker has used in the past, including relying on law firms the company has previously hired to block trademarks.

Apple’s headset is expected to combine virtual and augmented reality technology and bring the company into closer competition with Meta Platforms Inc., the leading provider of virtual reality equipment. It’s been seven years since the company last pursued a new category of hardware with the Apple Watch.

A spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple declined to comment on the filings. Trademark applications have not yet been approved and there is no guarantee that future Apple products will carry either name.

Still, there are clues that suggest Apple is laying the groundwork for its expansion into headphones. Earlier this year, Apple-related trademark filings also surfaced for the name realityOS.

All of the new trademarks are registered to a shell corporation called Immersive Health Solutions LLC that was incorporated in February, according to records obtained by Bloomberg News. That company itself was registered by another Delaware shell corporation, Corporation Trust Co., which is typically used for filings by companies seeking to avoid detection. The RealityOS trademark used that same signature.

To file the trademark paperwork — a process that began in Canada with an original application in February and in several other countries in August — the company behind the trademarks relied on a number of well-known, boutique law firms in each nation. operative.

In the US, Canada, and New Zealand, the applicant recruited law firms that Apple has used in the past to register trademarks or for other matters. In New Zealand, for example, the Simpson Grierson law firm was used for the “Fact” presentations. Apple relied on that same company to present the corporate name Apple Sales New Zealand.

Apple has long followed this same process to trademark upcoming product names months or years before their official debut. The approach allows Apple to secure the names sooner with less risk of having to buy them later from another brand owner. The company didn’t take the approach before the iPhone’s debut in 2007 and ultimately needed to strike a deal with Cisco Systems Inc. for that name.

Apple aims to release its first high-end mixed reality headset in 2023, but the device has had problems with camera sensors, software and overheating during development.

If Apple is really behind the trademarks, “Reality One” and “Reality Pro” could be theoretical options for the new product. The company could also be registering multiple names in case it wants to launch a range of devices in the future.

Apple generally uses the “Pro” moniker for high-end products, including the iPhone 13 Pro, iPad Pro, and MacBook Pro. It has also put “One” on previous offerings, like its Apple One subscription bundles.

Apple’s first headset, codenamed N301, is expected to be one of the most powerful and expensive models on the market when it launches, and the company is already working on follow-up devices. Within Apple, the device is sometimes referred to as “Reality”, indicating that the term is being considered for at least the product.

A later model, internally dubbed the N602, as well as a pair of lightweight augmented reality glasses known as the N421, aren’t expected to launch until later this decade. Apple showed off the first headphones to its board earlier this year, signaling that the device was about to launch.

The “Reality Processor” trademark could refer to a specialized chip intended for headsets. The company plans to use an M2 system on a chip with 16 gigabytes of memory for the device, but it may need additional processing technology to handle high-resolution VR and AR graphics.

The Reality name would match the planned name for the headset software. The device will include its own operating system called “realityOS,” Bloomberg News reported. The approach would be similar to Apple using the watchOS name for the Apple Watch software. Apple already offers RealityKit, a set of frameworks for developers to create AR apps for the iPhone.

The Apple headset is expected to include virtual reality-based versions of Apple apps like Maps and FaceTime, as well as collaboration features for multiple users wearing the headset. It is also scheduled to focus on the consumption of multimedia content such as sports and movies in virtual reality and games. The latest trademarks also imply that the device may have health-related functions.

Apple’s initial headset will compete with Meta’s upcoming Quest Pro, which the company plans to debut in October with features like eye and body tracking. Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Samsung Electronics Co. and other Apple rivals are also exploring their own VR and AR devices.

©2022 Bloomberg LP


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