Apple VR/AR Mixed-Reality Headset is an eagerly anticipated product rumored to be unveiled at Apple’s WWDC 2023 event. While Apple has not officially confirmed its existence, there have been numerous reports suggesting the company’s foray into augmented reality with a VR/AR headset.
Unlike the rumored Apple Glasses, which are focused solely on augmented reality, this headset is expected to offer a blend of both virtual reality and augmented reality experiences. With Apple’s strong focus on AR, this headset could serve as the company’s initial entry into the expanding AR space.
Details regarding the Apple VR/AR Mixed-Reality Headset have emerged, including advancements in display technology, possibly offering a high-resolution and immersive visual experience. Reports also speculate on the headset’s price point and release window, with rumors suggesting a launch later this year.
If the headset does materialize, it is likely to compete with existing VR headsets like the Meta Quest 2 and the upcoming PSVR 2. Apple’s entry into the market could bring its unique design aesthetic and seamless integration with its ecosystem, appealing to its dedicated user base.
However, it is important to note that until Apple officially announces the product, these details remain speculative. Fans and tech enthusiasts eagerly await Apple’s WWDC keynote, which may finally provide an official glimpse into the highly anticipated Apple VR/AR Mixed-Reality Headset.
Apple VR/AR Mixed-Reality Headset Latest News (updated May 24)
The exorbitant price of $3,000 is not the sole deterrent preventing potential buyers from acquiring Apple’s latest VR/AR headset. Additionally, there is disheartening news regarding its production.
Trademark applications for a mysterious entity called “xrProOS” have surfaced in several countries. However, the implications of this filing for Apple’s headset remain uncertain.
The speculated high cost of the Apple VR/AR headset could be attributed to the inclusion of components worth approximately $1,500, further contributing to its hefty price tag.
Apple VR/AR mixed-reality headset Release date
According to prevailing rumors, Apple’s VR/AR headset is expected to be unveiled this year, with new details emerging about its potential release. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman suggests that the headset will debut on June 5 at Apple’s WWDC 2023 event, as Apple races to address both hardware and software challenges. Recent reports indicate that the headset is in the final stages of the supply chain, and the projected timeline for a WWDC launch followed by mass production remains intact.
Interestingly, The Financial Times reveals that the Apple design team has reservations about the readiness of the AR/VR headset for release. They reportedly advocated for a lighter-weight design but were overruled by COO Jeff Williams and CEO Tim Cook. The New York Times also reports that some individuals working on the project have doubts about its viability for Apple, despite the general interest in AR/VR technology.
It is important to note that analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests a potential delay of 1-2 months in mass production, citing factors such as the lack of significant excitement akin to an “iPhone moment,” the rumored high price of $3,000, compromises on hardware specifications, and the readiness of the ecosystem and applications.
Even if mass production remains on schedule, there are indications that Apple is lowering its sales expectations. A recent report suggests that only 100,000 units of the headset are projected to ship in its first year, with a lifetime shipment forecast of 300,000 units—a significant departure from Apple’s initial goal of selling 3 million units.
Despite these adjustments, the appearance of the headset at WWDC is still expected, serving as a platform to provide a preview before its eventual release later in the year.
Surprisingly, rumors for next-generation Apple VR/AR headsets have already surfaced, with Ming-Chi Kuo mentioning the possibility of high-end and low-end versions of a second-generation headset by 2025. However, it would be prudent to wait and evaluate the first-generation headset before giving weight to these speculations.
Apple VR/AR mixed reality headset Excepted price
According to prevailing rumors, the Apple VR/AR headset is anticipated to carry a price tag of approximately $3,000. While this may seem like a substantial amount for a mixed reality headset, it is important to note that the device is likely targeted towards developers rather than the general consumer market. Apple intends to leverage developers to establish a robust augmented and virtual reality ecosystem before eventually launching a consumer-grade headset.
The high cost of the Apple VR/AR headset can be attributed to its incorporation of cutting-edge mixed reality technology. Reports suggest that the device will feature two chips and 12 cameras, among other advanced components. In fact, the parts alone are estimated to have a minimum cost of $1,500.
Apple VR/AR mixed reality headset rumored name
Rumors suggest that Apple’s upcoming VR/AR headset may bear the name “Reality Pro.” This naming choice aligns with the device’s anticipated extensive feature set, which is aimed primarily at developers seeking to pioneer advanced virtual and augmented reality experiences surpassing the capabilities of existing VR/AR headsets.
Apple VR/AR mixed reality headset Design and Display
According to reports from The Information and Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC), the Apple Reality Pro headset is rumored to boast several notable features. The Information claims that the headset will include 12 tracking cameras that can provide data to two 8K displays positioned in front of the user’s eyes. Additionally, LiDAR sensors are expected to be incorporated, although DSCC noted that LiDAR remains a possibility.
DSCC contradicted The Information’s claim, suggesting that Sony is developing 4K displays with a resolution of 4000 x 4000 for Apple’s headset. These displays are said to have a 1.4-inch diagonal size. DSCC also mentioned the potential inclusion of three displays in total: the two aforementioned Sony-made 4K displays, along with a larger lower-resolution AMOLED display situated on the back. This arrangement would enable Apple to implement a foveated display approach.
A foveated display takes advantage of the fovea, which is part of the retina responsible for central vision sharpness. In a foveated VR headset, eye tracking can be used to focus the image on the user’s central vision, while reducing the resolution in the peripheral areas. This technique, known as fixed foveated rendering (FFR), can be seen in a video by the YouTube channel SweViver.
Regarding the display panels, there are indications that Sony is involved in their development for the Apple VR/AR headset. Recent reports suggest that the headset will utilize OLEDoS panels, which utilize silicon substrates instead of glass to achieve remarkable resolutions. Sony and LG are rumored to be providing displays for the first generation of the Apple headset, while Samsung and LG may contribute displays for the second generation.
Apple VR/AR mixed reality headset Excepted Features
The Apple Reality Pro headset is expected to offer a range of compelling features, with mixed reality being its central focus. According to Mark Gurman, the headset will include external cameras that are currently being utilized to test features like hand-tracking and gesture control. This opens up possibilities such as typing in the air using a virtual keyboard.
The hand-tracking and gesture control capabilities are also anticipated to play a significant role in the rumored Continuity features of the headset. A recent patent filing provided a glimpse of Continuity and Handoff, enabling users to perform actions like transferring music by simply looking at a speaker, responding to emails in mid-air, and more, all from within the VR/AR headset.
Contrary to a previous report suggesting a lesser emphasis on gaming, more recent reports assert that gaming and entertainment will indeed be key features of the Apple headset. Mark Gurman previously outlined gaming, entertainment, and collaboration as core aspects of the Apple Reality Pro, noting that Apple has developed versions of its iOS apps specifically for the headset. These apps are expected to function similar to their iPad counterparts, meaning familiar applications such as FaceTime, Maps, Mail, and others will likely be available, along with new tools like the Freeform collaboration app adapted for virtual reality.
Additionally, a notable feature mentioned is the presence of a “reality dial,” as depicted in a rendered image of the Apple VR/AR headset. This dial is rumored to enable users to seamlessly switch between augmented reality and virtual reality experiences. The render also showcases an action button, which resembles the one found on the Apple Watch Ultra and is speculated to appear on the iPhone 15 Pro. The specific functionality of this action button is yet to be confirmed.
Moreover, The Information reports that the Apple VR/AR headset will offer a feature allowing users to create their own apps, irrespective of their coding skills. This capability is said to be facilitated through Siri, enabling users to scan real-world objects and convert them into digital assets. User-created apps would also have the opportunity to appear on the App Store, subject to Apple’s rigorous approval process.
Apple VR/AR mixed reality headset Excepted Specs
According to reports by Mark Gurman and Ming-Chi Kuo, the Apple Reality Pro headset is expected to incorporate powerful hardware components. Gurman suggests that the headset will be equipped with the new M2 chip and 16GB of RAM, providing a good balance of power and energy efficiency. While it may not be the most powerful chip in Apple’s Silicon lineup, it should offer ample performance for the headset’s requirements.
Ming-Chi Kuo further indicates that the headset might feature multiple processors, indicating that Apple is prioritizing power in its design. Similarly, The Information reports that the headset will include two processors, with the primary processor being comparable to the M2 chip launched in 2022.
Kuo also suggests that the Apple headset will support Wi-Fi 6E, enabling it to establish a high-bandwidth, low-latency connection with other devices for seamless data transfer. This means the headset could offload processing tasks to a separate device like an iPhone or Mac, reducing the burden on the headset itself. This approach not only helps maintain a lighter weight but also extends battery life significantly.
In addition to these potential features, The Information report mentions that Apple may integrate iris scanning technology into the VR/AR headset. This would allow the headset to authenticate users as soon as they put it on, which could be beneficial in scenarios where multiple individuals share the same device. Iris scanning could also serve as a means of authentication for purchases, similar to how Face ID and Touch ID are used on iOS devices.
Apple VR/AR mixed reality headset Excepted Battery
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the Apple Reality Pro headset is said to come with a 96W MacBook charger to provide sufficient power for its operation. This indicates that the headset will have high power demands to support its advanced features. Additionally, Kuo suggests that an external battery pack may be required, offering approximately 2 hours of additional battery life.
Mark Gurman adds that the external battery pack is expected to have a similar form factor to Apple’s MagSafe battery pack charger, allowing users to conveniently carry it in their pockets without adding excessive weight to the headset. It is mentioned that the battery pack will connect to the headset using a proprietary magnetic cable that securely locks in place. While the cable remains physically connected to the battery, the power pack itself can be charged via USB-C and is anticipated to come with the same adapter included with the MacBook Pro. This suggests that users will have the flexibility to charge the external battery using standard USB-C charging methods, enhancing convenience and compatibility.
Apple VR/AR mixed reality headset Controls
According to sources cited by The Information, the Apple Reality Pro headset will offer more than just sensor-based tracking. Users may have the option to wear a finger-mounted device, described as a “thimble-like” device, to assist with hand tracking and other controls. In addition, recent reports indicate that the headset will feature a Digital Crown, similar to the one found on AirPods Max, which can be used to switch between augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) modes.
Ming-Chi Kuo has also mentioned the possibility of hand gesture controls and object detection features in the headset, enabled by highly sensitive 3D sensing modules. The device would not only detect the position changes of the user’s hand and objects in front of their eyes but also capture dynamic details of hand movements.
An Apple patent uncovered by Apple Insider reveals that Apple has been exploring the development of smart rings, which could track finger and hand movements. This technology could potentially enhance the capabilities of the external cameras in the VR and mixed reality headset. The patent also suggests the ability to detect objects held by the user, including an Apple Pencil, and adapt accordingly.
According to Mark Gurman, the headset is expected to offer various control options for users, including hand and eye tracking, Siri integration, a keyboard and mouse input, and the ability to control the headset from another Apple device. These reports indicate that Apple is exploring different avenues to provide users with flexible and intuitive control mechanisms for the Apple Reality Pro headset.
Apple VR/AR mixed reality headset software
Reports suggest that Apple is developing a tweaked operating system specifically for its upcoming VR/AR headset. References to “realityOS” have been discovered in App Store upload logs and in the code for the Windows 11 Apple Devices app. It is unclear whether “realityOS” is the final name for the software or if it is just a placeholder until the headset is officially unveiled.
Additionally, a shell company has filed trademarks for “xrProOS” in various countries, although it is uncertain whether this is related to an enterprise version of the operating system or if Apple intends to use the name at all.
While there is limited information available about the potential software, it would make sense for Apple to develop a custom operating system for its VR and AR devices. It is speculated that this operating system would have more similarities with iOS rather than macOS, as suggested by Mark Gurman in his recent reports on the Apple Reality Pro.
Gurman also claims that all of Apple’s iPad apps will be available in mixed reality on the headset. Furthermore, third-party apps are expected to be compatible with little to no additional effort required from developers. This indicates that Apple is likely working to ensure a wide range of apps and a seamless user experience for the Apple Reality Pro headset.