Rumors and stories about Apple’s virtual and augmented reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) headsets continue to surface. Despite the fact that Apple has not officially launched the device, CEO Tim Cook has dubbed the domain of AR “critically vital” and one of “very few deep innovations.” Apple CEO Tim Cook recently spoke to China Daily USA about the company’s plans for virtual and augmented reality headsets. A dramatic contrast to the metaverse is Cook’s desire to put humans at the heart of their VR/AR strategy.
Like the Oculus Quest 2 or PlayStation VR 2, Apple’s rumored VR ambitions desire to compete with the top VR headsets currently on the market…
While Apple Glasses, as the name suggests, are simply augmented reality, the company’s VR/AR headset is distinct. In contrast, Apple’s AR/VR headset is expected to be released before the end of the year.
According to many sources, Apple VR/AR will include next-generation display technology, with information on the cost and release date of the device to be forthcoming. Apple VR and mixed reality headsets: everything you need to know.
Apple VR and mixed-reality headset release date speculation
Apple’s VR/AR headset has been the subject of numerous rumors and speculations. However, Ming-Chi Kuo stands out as the most relevant and trustworthy analyst and Apple oracle, predicting that the Apple VR/AR headset will be on sale in January 2023.
In a Medium article, Kuo described Apple as “a game-changer for the headset business,” and forecasts that Cupertino’s first headset will lead a new wave of goods from others aiming to mimic its concepts, as well as a rise in demand for AR games and apps linked with them.
Apple VR and mixed reality headset vs Apple Glass
This headset is reportedly supposed to serve as a predecessor to Apple Glass, according to rumors. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the “optical see-through AR experience” will be provided by the AR lenses.
From what we’ve heard, Apple Glass is supposed to appear and feel like an ordinary pair of light-weight eyewear. We’re referring to eyewear that can project data and, most likely, images onto the lenses.
If everything goes according to plan, the Apple VR and mixed reality headset will function much like a standard VR headset but with additional capability unlocked by cameras and sensors on the outside.
A virtual and mixed reality headset that includes body tracking will be able to combine real-world environments into a virtual universe. A see-through augmented reality experience might also be included in the Apple VR headset. Although the Oculus Quest 2 is a VR-only device, this one isn’t.
But according to Mark Gurman, instead of joining the “metaverse” bandwagon like so many others, the Apple gear will be designed for short forays inside VR. In fact, rumors claim that Apple has proclaimed metaverse to be “off limits”. If you don’t want to wear it all day, it won’t be a replacement for the actual world, but you may use it to communicate, browse content and play games.
Apple VR and mixed reality headset rumored price
According to several reports, the price of the Apple VR and mixed reality headsets has been a hot topic. According to the rumor mill, pricing may be geared on drawing in developers.
When Tim Cook talks about the future of Apple, he doesn’t hold back. There have been reports that this headset is the initial step in the company’s wearable augmented reality (AR) plans. According to reports, developers will be prepared for the introduction of Apple Glass, and the standards will be supported by apps when they are released. According to sources, the headset’s pricing will reflect the fact that Apple isn’t in it to make money.
Although Mark Gurman claims the headset will be focused on gaming, media consumption, and communication, this suggests that Apple is building a product that will appeal to a wide range of users. Perhaps a lower-cost second-generation headset is on the way. The first-generation headset may not be cheap, but that doesn’t mean it will be exclusively aimed at developers.
Even while the price of Apple’s VR and mixed reality headset is expected to be high, reports differ on just how much it will cost.
According to a story from The Information, Apple’s virtual reality headset might cost up to $3,000. However, a $3,500 Microsoft Hololens 2 headset is the most expensive gaming virtual reality headset.
According to Mark Gurman, the headset might cost as much as $2,000. The headset’s hardware, which could contain the Apple M1 Pro chip, a longer development period, and the normal extra markup applied to other Apple products, is included in the price.
In contrast, Ming-Chi Kuo has forecast that the headset will be sold for $1,000. Or the iPhone 12 Pro, if you like. Despite the fact that this is still pricey, the average developer can afford it. Especially if the headset’s power is as impressive as it has been said to be.
Apple’s headset, according to Display Supply Chain Consultants, will cost “several thousand dollars,” according to a more recent report.
In any case, the price of entry will be significant, and it will undoubtedly be far higher than the price of other standalone virtual reality headsets as well. When compared to the Oculus Quest 2, for example, the price is $300.
Apple VR and mixed reality headset rumored features
Mixed reality is the primary function of the Apple headset. External cameras are presently being utilized to test capabilities like hand-tracking and gesture control, according to Mark Gurman. To that end, a virtual keyboard might be used to allow users to type while in the air.
An article in The Information(opens in new tab) has gone into greater detail about this, claiming the headset will have 12 tracking cameras that can transmit data to two 8K monitors in front of the user’s face. In addition, LiDAR sensors are said to be included in the headset. Display Supply Chain Consultants, or DSCC, reports that Sony is making 4K 4000 x 4000 displays for Apple’s headgear with a 1.4-inch diagonal. This story was challenged by Display Supply Chain Consultants. However, LiDAR was mentioned by DSCC as a potential solution.
For those who don’t know, LiDAR employs lasers to measure distance, allowing it to swiftly and correctly gather the area of a given region. With this information, a device can better arrange objects in augmented reality, as shown on the high-end iPad Pro and the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Plus.
According to at least one rumor, Apple isn’t focusing on games when it comes to its next AR/VR headset. Because early adopters are generally drawn to amenities like gaming, this seems like a strange move.
According to DSCC, Apple’s headset may house up to three monitors in total. In addition to the two Sony-made 4K panels already stated, there may be a third, larger AMOLED display on the back with a reduced resolution. Reports claim this would allow Apple to design a display that is more focused on the user’s eyes.
The fovea, which runs the length of the retina at the rear of the eye, is what is meant by a foveated display.. To improve central vision, the fovea aids. Focusing an image on what the viewer is looking at while reducing resolution in other areas could be accomplished by using eye tracking in a foveated virtual reality (VR) headset. Fixed foveated rendering, or FFR, is clearly explained in this video by YouTube channel SweViver(opens in new tab).
However, all of those sensors may not be working in isolation. If true, the “thimble-like” device worn on a user’s finger will aid in hand tracking and other controls, according to sources.
Gurman’s report indicates that Apple’s “most advanced and powerful CPUs” will be used in the headset, which will require a lot of electricity. Apple’s virtual reality headset is rumored to include a more powerful chip than the recently released M1 Mac chip.
Another claim from Kuo suggests that the headgear would be outfitted with a brace or CPUs, hinting that Apple isn’t going to save on power.
According to Kuo, “the higher-end processor will have similar computational capacity as the M1 for Mac, while the lower-end processor will be in charge of sensor-related computing.”
An M2 chip equivalent is rumored to power the headset, according to The Information(opens in new tab). This chip is expected to appear in devices like the next MacBook Air later this year.
According to Kuo, all that hardware will require a lot of power. So much so, that a MacBook charger appears to be included with the headset to keep everything running.
Not long ago, Kuo revealed that “extremely sensitive 3D sensing modules” could enable the device to have hand gesture controls and object identification features.
According to him, the AR/MR headset will be able to detect not only the position change of the user or other people’s hand and item in front of their eyes, but also its dynamic detail change. For example, Kuo suggested that the machine may detect a user’s hand movement from a clinched fist to an open hand and create a picture of a floating balloon.
Some smart rings that can track finger and hand movements have been uncovered by Apple Insider(opens in new tab) in a patent. Virtual and mixed reality headsets could use this to enhance the performance of external cameras.
Additionally, the patent specifies the ability to recognize the user’s things in their hands, including an Apple Pencil. That implies the headset will be able to see what you’re trying to accomplish, and adjust its functions accordingly. The Apple Pencil will be able to tell if you’re writing something by hand or typing it if you hold it in your hand. So it goes on and on.
A folding design for the “3P pancake lenses” is predicted by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, according to whom light will be reflected back and forth from the display to the lenses. As a result, a more compact and light-weight headset might be created.
Besides Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, Ming-Chi Kuo also claims that the headset would be capable of transferring massive volumes of data with low latency. There’s no need for an actual wire to connect the headset to another device like an iPhone or Mac, because the headset can be used as an intermediary between these two devices.
As a result, Apple will be able to keep the headset’s weight low and its battery life significantly longer than it would have otherwise lasted.
Apple VR and mixed reality headset design
Apple’s rumored mixed reality headgear has been sketched out, according to an early 2021 story by The Information. Early prototypes by Apple engineers may not reflect the final product, according to this image.
Based on The Information’s disclosure earlier in the year, concept artist Ian Zelbo has developed some renderings of a prospective headset design.
However, with this being Apple, we would anticipate the headset to have a clean industrial design and a lot of user ergonomics in mind.
The Apple headset is expected to weigh between 300 and 400 grams (a little less than a pound), according to Ming-Chi Kou. According to Kou, a lighter version will be released in the near future.
Apple Glasses realityOS
With the mention of “realityOS” in the App Store upload logs by eagle-eyed developers, it appears that Apple will provide a reworked operating system to go along with the new device form factor.
Despite the lack of details, it would make sense for Apple to develop its own OS for its VR and AR devices. Such future operating system will likely resemble iOS more than macOS, according to our best guesses at this point.
Apple VR and mixed reality headset: Will you want to buy it?
Apple’s AR/VR mixed reality headset is expected to be geared toward professionals and developers, according to current sources and rumors. Apple Glasses AR specs are expected to be released in the near future, and developers will need to learn how to create augmented reality apps now in order to be ready when they do.
If Apple’s AR/VR headset goes for as much as $3,000, we’ve seen a lot of speculation about the price, while some rumors say the headset would cost “several thousand dollars.”
However, with the Apple Glasses still a few years away, the headset’s allure could fade with the passage of time. There are more apps that can be developed and released if developers have a lot of time on their hands. That is, if the price tag does not continue to deter people from purchasing it.
It’s true that Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst for Ming-Chi Kuo Securities, has said that Apple may be planning a second-generation headgear for 2024. Oculus Quest 2 competition, he predicts this headset will sell 10 million units. It’s possible that this headset will be more popular with the general public.
Apple VR and mixed reality headset wish list: What we want
Most VR headsets aren’t comfortable enough to wear for extended periods of time. After about 30 minutes, the discomfort usually worsens. Of course, the more time you can spend using the headset, the more comfy it will be right out of the box.
As long as Apple can make the AirPods Pro as unnoticeable as possible, it will be able to do the same with its upcoming mixed reality headset.
A long-lasting battery life: Standalone headsets now have a short-lived battery life. Depending on what you’re doing, the Oculus Quest 2 can last anywhere from two to three hours. The battery life we’re hoping for in Apple’s VR and mixed reality headsets should be at least as good as this, if not better.
Apple’s headset might be a game changer in the fitness industry because to its potential connection with Apple Fitness Plus and the Apple Watch. You may monitor your progress while working out with a personal trainer by using the device.
In order for Apple’s mixed reality headset to kick off its wearable AR initiatives, we want to see some actual AR capabilities. Apple should, at the absolute least, ensure that any see-through AR functionality is as realistic as possible, even if users are always aware that the headset is in place. In other words, you may expect sharp images with little to no judder, as well as a wide field of vision.
To be honest, it would be nice if Apple provided a compelling incentive to purchase the mixed reality headset rather than just releasing it to the general public as a novelty item. Don’t just release the headset because you feel like it’s worth it. Give them a reason to buy one of your products, not just because of the brand.