The Apple VR, augmented reality, or mixed reality headset is still being mentioned in rumors and other reports. While Apple has not officially announced the device, CEO Tim Cook has described the field of augmented reality as “critically important” and one of “very few profound technologies.” Cook also recently teased Apple’s VR/AR headset strategy in an interview with China Daily USA. Cook stated that, in contrast to the nascent metaverse, he wants humanity to be at the center of their VR/AR strategy.
Apple’s ostensible VR ambitions, like the Oculus Quest 2 or PSVR 2, want to compete with the best VR headsets on the market.
It’s also worth noting that Apple’s VR/AR headset is distinct from the rumored Apple Glasses, which are purely augmented reality. They’re also said to be far in the future, whereas the Apple AR/VR headset could be available by the end of this year.
Several reports have surfaced regarding Apple VR/AR, including next-generation display technology and its potential price and release date. Here’s everything you need to know about Apple’s virtual reality and mixed reality headsets.
Apple VR and Mixed-Reality Headset Release Date Speculation
The Apple AR/VR headset is expected to be released in 2023. According to The New York Times(opens in new tab), as well as analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.
Apple is reportedly taking its time due to a variety of factors, including lining up Apple AR/VR headset content from Hollywood directors such as Jon Favreau(opens in new tab). However, the Times report mentions battery life as a barrier, as well as concerns expressed by some Apple employees who quit due to concerns about how the headset may change how we interact with one another.
According to a late-May report, Apple intends to file a trademark for realityOS(opens in new tab) on June 8, two days after WWDC 2022. This fueled speculation that Apple’s AR/VR headset would be unveiled at the event.
However, according to Bloomberg, Apple may delay the headset’s release. While there was no mention of the headset at WWDC 2022, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman claims that an announcement will be made by the end of 2022 or in 2023. Indeed, in an April research report, analyst Jeff Pu claims that the Apple VR/AR headset will be available in 2023.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo’s most recent forecast, the headset will be available in Q2 2023, following an announcement event in January. He claims that the headset was supposed to arrive in Q1, but that Shanghai lockdowns have slowed development.
For what it’s worth, Apple is said to have shown off the AR/VR headset to investors, which is a good sign that the product is nearing completion and will be released at some point.
This appears to be due to the headset’s complex design combined with Apple’s own standards, which are allegedly much higher than competitors’ products. A separate report from The Information goes into detail about the many roadblocks that have arisen for the headset project, including staff who have left the company due to concerns about child safety and screen time.
In other words, developing such a headset is difficult, and Apple wants to ensure that it is doing its job correctly. Kuo also claimed that the headset will ship with all of its hardware, software, and services, and that the delay will give developers more time to work on them.
According to Kuo, Apple will release a second version of the Apple headset in 2024(opens in a new tab) that will be significantly lighter and have a faster processor.
Apple VR and Mixed Reality Headset vs Apple Glass
The Apple VR and mixed reality headset, according to reports, is intended to be a precursor to Apple Glass. Ming-Chi Kuo claims that the AR lenses will provide an “optical see-through AR experience.”
In other words, based on what we’ve heard, Apple Glass is designed to look and act like a regular pair of lightweight glasses. We’re talking about glasses that can project information and possibly imagery onto their lenses.
The Apple VR and mixed reality headset are expected to be similar to a standard VR headset, but with a number of exterior cameras and sensors that unlock additional functionality.
As a result, Apple’s virtual reality and mixed reality headsets can provide body tracking and incorporate real-world environments in a virtual space. Furthermore, the Apple VR headset may include a see-through experience that can deliver augmented reality. So it’s not quite like the VR-only Oculus Quest 2.
Mark Gurman, however, claims that the Apple headset will be designed for short trips into VR, rather than jumping on the metaverse bandwagon like so many others. Indeed, Apple is said to have declared the metaverse “off-limits.” The mixed reality headset will be used for communication, content viewing, and gaming, but it will not be a device you wear all day or as a replacement for real life.
Apple VR Rumored Price
The price of the Apple VR and mixed reality headsets have received mixed reviews. However, rumors indicate a developer focus, so pricing may be centered on attracting programmers.
Tim Cook has spoken extensively about how AR is Apple’s ultimate goal. According to reports, the headset is the first step in the company’s wearable AR ambitions. The headset’s primary goal is reportedly to prepare developers for the release of Apple Glass, as well as to ensure that the specs have app support for the launch. Apple’s primary motivation is not to make money, and reports indicate that the headset’s price will reflect this.
Having said that, Mark Gurman has stated that the headset will be focused on gaming, media consumption, and communication, implying that Apple is designing something with consumers in mind. Perhaps this will lead to a lower-cost second-generation headset in the future. However, this does not preclude the first-generation headset from being expensive or primarily intended for developer use.
While Apple’s VR and mixed reality headset is expected to be expensive, reports differ on how much they will cost. Read More; Meta VR Headset Prototypes — Here’s Your First Look
According to The Information, Apple’s VR headset will cost up to $3,000. Gaming VR headsets rarely cost more than $1,000, though the Microsoft Hololens 2 costs $3,500.
Apple VR Rumored Features
The Apple headset’s main feature is mixed reality. The headset, according to Mark Gurman, will include external cameras, which are currently being used to test features such as hand tracking and gesture control. One aspect of this is the ability to type in the air using a virtual keyboard.
According to The Information, the headset will have 12 tracking cameras that can feed information to two 8K displays in front of the user’s eyes. In addition, the headset will reportedly include LiDAR sensors. Display Supply Chain Consultants, or DSCC, claims that Sony is producing 4K 4000 x 4000 displays with a 1.4-inch diagonal for Apple’s headset. DSCC did, however, mention LiDAR as a possibility.
According to DSCC, Apple may fit three displays inside its headset. The two Sony-made 4K displays mentioned above, as well as one larger lower resolution AMOLED display on the back, could be present. According to the report, this would enable Apple to create a foveated display.
“The AR/MR headset can detect not only the user’s or other people’s hand position change and object in front of the user’s eyes, but also the dynamic detail change of the hand,” he predicts. Kuo proposed that when users switch from a clenched fist to an open hand, the machine could track this movement and generate an image of a balloon floating away as if released. Read Also; How to pair Bluetooth Earbuds to the Apple Watch
Apple VR Design
According to an early 2021 report by The Information, the outlet received design sketches of Apple’s mixed reality headset. This appears to be based on early prototype work by Apple engineers and may not be representative of the final product.
Based on a leak from The Information earlier this year, concept artist Ian Zelbo created some renders of a possible headset design.
Regardless, given that this is Apple, we’d expect the mixed reality headset to have a slick industrial design that prioritizes user ergonomics.
For what it’s worth, Ming-Chi Kou claims the Apple headset will weigh between 300 and 400 grams (just under a pound) when it launches. Kou adds that a lighter version is in the works for a future release. Read More; PSVR 2: Specs, And Everything We Know So Far
Apple Glasses realityOS
With references to “realityOS” in App Store upload logs by eagle-eyed developers, it appears that Apple will provide a tweaked operating system for a completely new device form factor.
There isn’t much information on this potential software, but it makes sense for Apple to develop a custom operating system for its VR and AR devices. We’d wager that such an operating system would be more similar to iOS than macOS.