One day one headset will be able to do either Augmented or Virtual Reality at the click of a button and then Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality platform will be very well positioned to support this.
In a video promoting the platform Alex Kipman described new APIs with the Fall Creators Update which lets apps support both VR and AR with the same app, letting developers know for example if the screen is transparent or opaque or communicating the size of the physical space to developers so VR apps can ensure their content fits the space (something that is easier to do in AR).
Interestingly (and worryingly) Microsoft says they will not be rolling out the Fall Creators Update to the HoloLens, but warns:
While HoloLens isn’t receiving an update with the release of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, know that work on HoloLens hasn’t stopped; we’ll have a lot of learnings and insight to apply from our recent work across Windows Mixed Reality as a whole. In fact, Windows Mixed Reality immersive headsets and motion controllers represent a great entry point to development for HoloLens too, as the same APIs, tools, and concepts apply to both.
At present, it seems Microsoft is encouraging HoloLens developers to also support their new Windows Mixed Reality platform, and hopefully, the new APIs will make this somewhat easier.
See the video below: