It’s one of many most open secrets within the tech world that Apple is engaged on a digital reality/augmented actuality (VR/AR) headset. Apple hasn’t confirmed this to be true however does consider AR “critically important.”
That could level out that AR will be extra important to Apple as a tool to enhance user experience.
A recent interview with China Daily USA appears to support that, with CEO Tim Cook being “incredibly enthusiastic about AR” whereas wanting to maintain humanity on the middle of the model new technology.
We’ve heard extra rumors about the headset lately, indicating a looming release. Apple additionally reportedly confirmed off the hardware to the board of directors, which they wouldn’t do if it wasn’t almost prepared for release.
Here’s what we know, what we think is coming, and what we wish to see.
When will the Apple VR headset launch?
UPDATE 1/6/2023: After obvious software program issues, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo now states the mixed-reality headset might not launch till Q3 of 2023.
Apple hasn’t publicly acknowledged the existence of the VR/AR headset. Many provide chain indicators level to an early 2023 launch date.
But now, some experts believe Apple’s mixed-reality headset won’t make an look till later within the year. That’s in accordance to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a solid track record when it involves Apple.
A report from DigiTimes (via MacRumors) says that mass manufacturing will begin in March 2023. That would imply the discharge occasion would be after that.
The report additionally mentions that “initial manufacturing is said to be very limited,” with the marketing focus on commercial markets.
That’s for Apple’s first headset, which could be developer-focused. Then one other headset is tipped to reach in 2025, or possibly two, one cheaper and one extra premium.
Isn’t this Apple Glass?
Apple Glass, the AR-only, looks-like-normal-glasses device, isn’t coming till 2025, on the earliest.
Supply-chain analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, says that contact lens-type AR glasses are additionally within the works, with a 2030-2040 launch window.
The headset that’s believed to be coming early subsequent year is a extra conventional helmet-style mixed-reality headset.
What will the headset be called?
Bloomberg reported that Apple has new trademark filings for names that could be associated to digital reality. Those include “Reality One,” “Reality Pro,” and “Reality Processor.”
Could that be the name(s) of the upcoming headset and the chip that will energy it? We won’t have lengthy to attend to discover out.
What options do we all know about?
Apple’s first headset won’t be restricted to VR or AR content material – it will feature both.
That means a closed-off helmet-style headset, with exterior cameras for positional tracking, AR overlays, hand-tracking, and gesture control.
One report from TomsGuide via The Information says Apple’s headset will introduce a model new biometrics safety feature. The headset will reportedly feature iris scanning as an additional layer of security.
UPDATE 9/14/2022 1:30 PM ET: Apple has now been granted 5 patents for mixed actuality headsets. These patents are associated to eye-tracking, image-capturing, and controller processors.
The shows are supposedly 4K (4000×4000) utilizing micro-OLED. Some reports say there’ll be a 3rd AMOLED show behind these two high-resolution screens, to make a foveated display.
That type of show works within the identical method as our eyes. Essentially, the spot we’re looking at it will seem excessive resolution, whereas the periphery is decrease quality.
The upcoming headset could additionally feature an Apple Watch-like crown that permits customers to quickly switch between the screen and the actual world.
One report from The Information additionally believes that AirPods will be wanted to speak with others whereas wearing the headset. That appears a bit clunky to us, however time will inform if that is true.
What kind of processor will the headset have?
Early reports said that the headset wouldn’t do its personal processing, instead it would want to be connected to an iPhone or Mac.
Since then, we’ve seen reports of it having a number of chips inside, one of which could be “similar computing energy because the M1 for Mac.”
An a lot extra recent report says that Apple will put the M2 chip into the headset. That will pair with 16GB of DRAM, which means you’ll be wearing a MacBook in your face.
UPDATE 11/14/2022 7:40 AM ET: A new report from Bloomberg’s Marc Gurman states that the unit will feature an M2 chip and run realityOS.
The headset will reportedly include a 96W MacBook charger to energy all of that. That’s the identical one bundled with the 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip.
Hardware is cool, however content material is king. Apple has reportedly been courting Hollywood directors to create adaptations in AR for his or her headset.
Expect series like Prehistoric Planet to seem on the device, and more.
How a lot will the headset cost?
Apple devices are typically sold at premium prices, to match their premium build. Early predictions say the AR/VR headset could cost over $2,000.
This quote was from Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, whose sources say that worth was floated round in Apple’s internal discussions.
Apple typically charges a bit greater than its competitors for products, locking in margins which have helped it become one of many most worthwhile consumer-electronics companies ever. The new headset won’t be an exception, however the main reason why the corporate has discussed price factors above $2,000 is due to a few of its internal technologies.
If so, this isn’t going to be the mass-market device that Meta’s Quest range is.
Instead, this will be a premium device, possibly aimed at builders and different customers that will construct the subsequent apps for Apple’s future devices.
realityOS: What is it?
UPDATE 12/8/22 8:05 AM ET: According to a number of reports, it’s possible Apple could use two different names here. One is realityOS, and the opposite is xrOS. These could be interchangeable or possibly attached to iOS (realityOS) and macOS (xrOS).
Back in February of this year, builders discovered a number of references to “realityOS” in Apple’s codebase.
Apple isn’t telling you to go contact grass with that name. Instead, it factors towards a model new device family, which makes use of a previously-unknown working system.
The most likely home would be on the VR headset and subsequent devices. Apple has been engaged on realityOS since at least 2017, when mentions of “rOS” were present in iOS thirteen code.
rOS was constructed on iOS code, however something could have modified since then. Apple could have gone the desktop replacement route and constructed realityOS on macOS.
Will you want the Apple VR headset?
The $2,000 question: will you want it? Well, that relies upon on you, really.
If you’re a skilled or developer that wants a stable AR/VR platform to create on, the reply is yes. You’ll want this headset to create programs for the next, cheaper Apple headset, slated for a 2024 release.
Home customers might want to pass on this, however. The excessive price and relative lack of content material imply this probably isn’t the headset for you.
Unless you’re a serial early adopter, in which case, you’re going to purchase it when it’s available, simply because.
What will be Apple’s competition?
The VR market is about to get very crowded. Multiple large manufacturers are popping out with their very personal headsets, beginning with Meta’s Quest Pro later this year.
Meta’s device is aimed at enterprise customers to transition their jobs from typing on a keyboard (boring!) to a metaverse digital keyboard (ooh, snazzy!). It will cost upwards of $1,000.
Microsoft is additionally releasing a model new HoloLens early in 2023. The enterprise-focused AR headset will cost thousands. Not one for consumers, however nonetheless thrilling and likely to push the AR market forward.
Then it’s on to an entertainment-focused headset, the PS VR2. Sony’s second VR headset ought to promote millions of units. The solely drawback? You want a PlayStation 5 to make use of it.
HTC is estimated to promote higher quantities of headsets in 2023. VR is one of many issues HTC does well, and its recent headsets are all quality.
Then it’s Pico‘s turn. The largest model for VR in China, they’re on track to ship at least a million headsets this year. Expect to see a model new headset from them in 2023, as we’re due based on their historic launch cadence.
What we’d like to see from Apple’s VR headset
We’ve used a number of AR and VR headsets over the years, and most suck. The bar Apple has to surpass is a low one, however that doesn’t make it easy. The firm nonetheless has to address main ache points.
The biggest is comfort. Most VR headsets are weighty, have uncomfortable straps, and aren’t the best to regulate to your head. If Apple can nail comfort, the rising market is theirs.
Most headsets have terrible, or barely-capable, audio playback, however that could change this time. Apple won’t be happy with poor audio, because it focuses on offering solid audio quality on its different devices. Spatial audio in VR content material will be awesome.
We’d additionally love battery life to be a big focus. Power effectivity is there, if it makes use of the M2 chip. With the common headset running out after two or three hours, Apple is aware of what it has to do.
That said, if it’s coming with a 96W charger, it might not have a lot of an internal battery, if any at all.
Interconnectivity between the remainder of Apple’s product stack would be great.
Apple Fitness Plus would have a pure place on the headset, as would Maps, or different programs. Imagine utilizing Garageband in AR, whereas you’re playing your instruments.
The future is virtual
UPDATE 9/29/2022 8:30 AM ET: Apple is already looking to future headsets, as well. According to a model new report from The Elec, Apple is asking LG and Samsung about future shows that attain 3500 pixels-per-inch (PPI). Theoretically, this will make future shows a lot extra immersive.
Whatever form Apple’s first VR/AR headset takes, it’s clear the corporate thinks different types of actuality are the future.
Apple isn’t one to leap right into a market, they like to study issues first (assuming they’re not creating the category).
The first device might be one other “iPhone moment,” altering the face of how we work together with technology. If anybody can get VR and AR mainstream, it’ll be Apple.