Apple's VR/AR headset is coming.  Here's everything we know so far

Apple’s VR/AR headset is coming. Here’s everything we know so far

Cristina Annibali / Eye Em

What is this Apple headset?

The Apple Mixed Reality Headset is Apple’s version of virtual/augmented reality headsets. Apple’s version will offer many of the same features as the headphones currently on the market, but it will likely house more advanced technology. VR headsets are pretty much the cutting edge of consumer technology right now and Meta, Google and other big tech companies have been watching the space for years now, so it’s no huge surprise that Apple also want to be involved. Apple tends to wait and watch when it comes to new products rather than being first to market. The question is whether the market (and consumer interest in) VR and AR headsets has really reached the point where Apple needs to get involved.

The headset has been rumored for years, but there’s very little real hard evidence that it exists, other than a few comments from top Apple executives and a steady stream of rumours. The existence of the headset has certainly not been confirmed by Apple; However, analysts and Apple aficionados have been keeping a close eye on Apple’s activities and were able to dig up clues about the specs of the headphones. Here’s everything we know.

What will the Apple headphones be called?

The patents filed give us a clue to the name of the Apple headset, which will include the word “Reality”. In August, Bloomberg reported that a shell company, linked to the law firms Apple had previously used, had filed trademark applications in multiple countries for the names “Reality One”, “Reality Pro” and “Reality Processor”. “.

A few months prior, another screen company had filed two patents for “RealityOS” which could refer to the software the headset would use. It’s not unusual for a big tech company like Apple to use a shell company to keep the secret. Prior to the macOS Yosemite and Monterey names being announced, Apple used shell company “Yosemite Research LLC” to register the names.

How much should the helmet cost?

According to Bloomberg, we can expect the headset to cost between $2,000 and $3,000 due to the M2 chip it will use, the high number of cameras, and the high-resolution displays. This puts Apple’s headphones at a higher price than competitors in the market. Meta’s Quest Pro headset retails for $1,500 and the HTC Vive Focus 3 for $1,300.

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When did the rumors about the concept of Apple headphones start circulating?

Rumors of a top secret Apple VR/AR headset began in 2017 when Bloomberg reported on “rOS”, an operating system supposedly being created to run the virtual reality product. At the time, Bloomberg predicted the product would be ready to ship as early as 2020, but now, six years after the rumor started, we know how it turned out.

What is the expected release date now?

According to the latest projections, we should not wait much longer, despite the constant delays. Initially, the product was supposed to launch in 2019, then it was delayed to 2020, 2021, 2022 and now 2023.

The general expectation was that Apple would launch the product in January 2023 with shipments to follow later in the year. However, that plan also took a detour, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.

Gurman believes the tech giant will now announce the headset this spring ahead of the annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June. Apple frequently uses WWDC to announce products. At WWDC 2022, Apple announced its new software updates for the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch along with the latest iteration of its signature silicon chip.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s predictions also line up with Gurman’s. In December, Kuo said we could expect the launch to take place in the second half of 2023 due to software issues.

“My latest investigation indicates that Apple’s massive MR headset shipment schedule may be delayed to 2:23 a.m. due to software issues (compared to the previous estimate of 2Q23),” Kuo said in a statement. Tweeter.

Apple has yet to confirm the headset’s existence or when we can expect a launch.

Are there any prototypes?

Gurman reports that Apple has already shared the product with a small number of high-profile software developers for testing, suggesting that there is already a near-finished product, or at least a prototype. The internal codename for Apple’s first headset is N301, according to Bloomberg. A later model, the N602, and a lightweight set of augmented reality goggles codenamed N421 are set to launch towards the end of the decade.

Aren’t there already headsets that you can use with Apple products?

If you really want to explore AR/VR with your Apple device, there are already devices on the market that would allow you to do so. Meta’s Quest 2 is on the lower end of headset prices without compromising on value. ZDNET ranked it as the best overall VR headset due to its easy setup, comfortable controls, excellent tracking, and high resolution display.

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If you’re a proud owner of the Apple ecosystem, a great, more affordable option is the HoloKit X. This headset leverages Apple’s technology to create an unforgettable AR experience. The iPhone acts as the eyes of the headphones, and all you have to do is pair to an app to make it work. The headset also features Apple Watch integration that enables motion tracking on your wrist, allowing you to play games that require manual movement. To watch ZDNET Editor Kerry Wan use the headset and cast spells in his AR experience, click here.

Who is the target audience for the headset?

The Apple headset is expected to be a high-end headset full of bells and whistles that will be ideal for professionals or people who are really into AR/VR. If you just want to explore and play with AR/VR, a more affordable existing headset might be a better option for you.

What impact would Apple’s launch have on the industry?

With talk of a potential metaverse on the horizon, more companies have been developing AR/VR headsets and interest in the space continues to grow. In typical Apple fashion, the tech giant waited for other companies to try their luck and public interest to grow to finally hit the scene.

The first modern AR/VR headset, the Oculus Rift, was launched in March 2016. Since then, Meta, which acquired Oculus in 2014, has continued to develop and release VR/AR sets, culminating in its latest headset. 2022 – the Meta Quest Pro. During those six years that Meta continued to expand into the space, Apple waited.

“After Apple launched the AR/MR headset, I believe Apple’s global rivals will vie to imitate it, leading the headset hardware industry to the next stage of rapid growth and benefiting services and technology. ‘associated content ecosystem,’ Kuo wrote.

In the past, when Apple finally chose to enter a space, it revolutionized and dominated it, sparking new interest and raising the standards of the product. It’s fair to assume that Apple will have the same effect on the AR/VR space when the headset drops.

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