Rumours have been circulating for a while that Apple’s next big tech piece may venture into the virtual reality space. With the Meta Quest, HTC Vive, Oculus and PSVR all on offer, Apple is one of the few tech giants to not have a VR device right now, but that might all be about to change. Let’s unpack what we know about Apple’s rumoured mixed-reality VR headset.
Rumour round-up: Apple’s VR/AR headset
What is Apple working on?
A lot of rumours have been going around about Apple’s headset. Is it AR? VR? Mixed reality?
There are enough leaks to suggest Apple may be working on two projects in this space: a virtual reality headset and augmented reality glasses.
For reference, a virtual reality headset allows the wearer to be fully immersed in a digital world, whereas an augmented reality headset offers a modified view of the real world with a virtual overlay, kind of like Tony Stark’s EDITH glasses in the MCU.
In this article, we’ll go over the virtual reality option.
Specs: What’s it made of?
All good virtual reality headsets rely on a decent screen. Rumours suggest that Apple’s device will be capable of 3,000 PPI high resolution and will use Sony’s 4K Micro-OLED displays. This should allow the screens to be thinner, smaller and more power efficient.
A report from The Information (via Mac Rumours) says Apple’s mixed-reality headset will use internal iris-scanning cameras to authenticate payments and log into accounts. It will also reportedly feature 14 cameras, including two downward-facing lenses that capture a user’s legs.
Under the hood, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg suggests Apple is implementing two M2 processors to power its VR/AR headset.
As for control methods, it seems Apple is exploring using hand gestures, eye-tracking and spatial detection techniques.
The headset will likely run a new version of Apple software some rumours are dubbing ‘realityOS’.
Design: What does Apple’s headset look like?
According to the same report from The Information, Apple’s headset will resemble a pair of ski goggles and rely on mesh fabrics, aluminium and glass. Those who wear glasses will reportedly be able to clip on custom prescription lenses within the device.
MacRumors also expects the headset to have swappable headbands, kind of like the Apple Watch. They will potentially have different applications, like a headband that offers spatial audio and one that offers extra battery life.
The bands themselves are also said to use similar material to that of the Apple Watch.
What will it offer?
Without an official announcement, we don’t know exactly what apps or content Apple’s mixed reality headset will offer.
According to Gurman, the headset will have “a focus on gaming and the ability to stream video content, while also serving as a sort of super-high-tech communications device for virtual meetings.” It’s suspected Apple will design a unique app store for the device.
When will it be released?
Rumours of a mixed-reality headset by Apple are not new and we still don’t really have any concrete idea of when we might see it on the market.
Ming-Chi Kuo, a notable Apple analyst, seems to think the AR/VR headset will arrive sometime in 2023.
The latest rumour from DigiTimes suggests the device will go into mass production in March 2023, meaning it could be in our hands early next year.
While that’s quite exciting, the rumoured price is not. According to Kuo (via Tom’s Guide), the headset may cost somewhere between US$2000-$2500, which puts it around the $3000 mark for Australians. Just when you thought the PSVR 2 price was high.
We’ll keep you posted about Apple’s mixed reality headset as more leaks and rumours come to light.
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