AR/VR headset tips and support for web app push notifications found in iOS 15.4 beta


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Internal code, including developer APIs, for Apple AR and VR, as well as the ability for web apps to send push notifications to iOS users were spotted in Apple’s latest iOS 15.4 beta.

It’s possible that a first Apple AR headset will still launch in late 2022 or early 2023, but whenever it does come it will be supported by iOS. Now, while none of the new features work, or even appear to be enabled, there are already signs of such support in the latest beta.

According to consultant and developer Maximiliano Firtman, there are four of what he describes as “experiments”.

  • WebXR augmented reality mode (disabled)
  • WebXR Device API (disabled)
  • WebXR Gamepads module (disabled)
  • WebXR manual input module (disabled)

“The use case for this API on iPhone and iPad is not yet clear because it works with external devices,” writes Firtman, “and, as far as I know, no VR or AR device is compatible with iOS or iPadOS to date”.

My best guess,” he continues, “is that this sets the stage for Apple’s next glasses or headsets.”

All use Apple’s implementation of WebXR. It is an API for interacting with AR and VR devices.

While Firtman doesn’t have more details on these AR/VR features, he also reports that the iOS 15.4 beta includes web push notification on iOS.

“You read that right,” Firtman said. “For years, the most requested feature could finally come to iOS and iPadOS: Web Push and Web Notifications.

So it’s outside and beyond the ability of iOS apps to send notifications. Currently, iOS Safari does not have the ability to send push notifications to users, and the addition will enable it as it exists on macOS for the first time.

However, the two new APIs – “Built-In Web Notifications” and “Push API” – are disabled by default in the current beta.

Apple’s iOS 15.4 beta further highlights the first version of Universal Control. This highly anticipated feature will allow Mac and iPad users to control both devices simultaneously.

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