Apple's soon-to-be-announced RealityOS could be a game changer for marketers

The news: RealityOS, Apple's purported operating system for its expected augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) headset, has been discovered in a trademark filing discovered by Vox Media product manager Parker Ortolani.

  • The "reality operating system" branding was initially reported by Bloomberg News in 2017, and allusions to the moniker have emerged in Apple's software.
  • The consumer tech giant’s directors reportedly tested the headset earlier in May.
  • The trademark registration, which mentions “wearable computer hardware” and claims to be related to "computer hardware, software, peripherals, and computer and video games design and development,” is the latest indication that Apple is about to unveil its long-rumored headset.
  • At one point, the headset was speculated to be made available by late this year, but the delivery date has been pushed back to 2023, per Bloomberg.

Not so secret: The RealityOS trademark was registered by a firm called “Realityo Systems LLC”—not Apple. At least, not directly.

  • Apple has previously used a shell firm, “Yosemite Research LLC,” to register versions of macOS including Yosemite, Big Sur, and Monterey in the past, per 9to5Mac.
  • The fact that both Realityo Systems LLC and Yosemite Research LLC have the same address strongly suggests that Apple is behind both shells—and RealityOS could be announced in the next few days.

What it means: For marketers, RealityOS could be a game changer, as Apple has a long-standing habit of influencing consumer behavior.

  • Many significant brands have shied away from releasing immersive VR campaigns, given how few consumers can access those experiences—but Apple getting into the VR space sends a message to consumers that the nascent category has reached a tipping point, just as with the iPhone 15 years ago.