Apple mixed-reality headset: Everything we know about Apple’s VR headset

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In recent months, rumors of Apple working on a top-secret headset project have reached a fever pitch. But at the same time, the crap has gotten increasingly complicated – Apple plans to use mixed reality (MR) instead of augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) altogether, but how exactly will that work? ? What will the device look like? And what will be the features?

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That’s where this roundup comes in. We’ve combed through rumors and reports to find all the latest important information, then collated it into one convenient place. Here’s everything we know about Apple’s upcoming mixed-reality headset, including price, features, and more.

Price and release date

Several outlets, leakers, and journalists have suggested a launch time frame for Apple’s mixed-reality headset, but a consensus has been reached around one date: 2022. Details are scarce when it comes to the exact release month, but the fact that so many people have come to the same conclusion from a variety of sources suggests it may be a good bet.

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For example, respected reporter Mark Gurman said in June 2020 that Apple may unveil the headset in 2021 and then release it a year later, based on an alleged all-hands meeting of Apple’s headset development team. is on. He then claimed that Apple would reveal the headset within “the next several months” at an in-person event in 2021. It will put it sometime in the second half of the year, with a 2022 release date. Credible Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and news outlet The Information have both followed suit and predicted the same 2022 launch year. It may be in doubt, though, with 2021 drawing to a close, and no more Apple events are rumored.

However, there is still hope that an announcement may be on the horizon. A report by Morgan Stanley analysts in mid-November 2021 suggested that the Apple headset is mirroring the pattern taken by the Apple Watch shortly before its own reveal in 2014. Like the Watch, the headset has seen a significant increase in patents recently. month, for its hardware, input methods, and user interface. If the headset is indeed following the Apple Watch playbook, it could indicate that it’s almost ready for prime time.

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As for the price, The Information has offered details here, claiming that it will be priced at $3,000. That would put it in the company of Microsoft’s $3,500 HoloLens 2, but with such a high price tag, it would likely be restricted for industry use. It seems a bit out of character from Apple.

However, Kuo has suggested a much lower price of $1,000. This puts the headset back in the consumer sector (albeit on the top end) and is in line with what we’ve come to expect from Apple: expensive, but still considered mainstream and consumer-focused.

A wraparound design and tons of cameras

What can you expect Apple’s mixed-reality headset to look like? Well, given that it combines AR and VR, chances are it will be a complete wraparound set to keep you immersed while using the virtual reality features. Anything that lets you see your surroundings — like Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 or Magic Leap 1 — will take you out of the virtual world you’re experiencing. Rumors also suggest that Apple’s device will be completely wireless giving you the freedom to move without being held back by cables – another immersion breaker.

Then there’s the augmented reality side. To do this, the headset would need cameras to capture the outside world and feed it back to you. According to The Information, the device will have more than a dozen cameras and lidar sensors, the latter of which Apple has already included in devices like the iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro to help with augmented reality processing.

However, Kuo says it will have 15 cameras – eight for AR, one for environmental detection and six for “innovative biometrics.” Kuo backed this up in April with another report that reiterated the 15 cameras claim. It’s possible that both versions exist as prototypes, with Apple to decide which one to settle in the future. Whatever the claim ends up being true, it’s clear that Apple is taking the positioning of the cameras on its headsets seriously.

as light as a feather

Apple's rumored virtual reality headset

What about the actual body of the device? It’s an interesting one, as it could be a real differentiator — and advantage — for Apple. A report by Kuo in March 2021 claimed that the entire headset could weigh as little as 150 grams (0.33 lb), which is almost half the weight of many rival devices. A $1,000 Valve Index VR headset will weigh five times more than an Apple headset if Kuo is right. That low-bulk goal would be to use lightweight fabric instead of heavy plastic in the frame.

The Information report also included an interesting take on the body of the headset: It could use straps that look awful on the Apple Watch Sport Band. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen one Apple device take design cues from another — for example, the AirPods Max headphones borrow the HomePod Mini’s fabric mesh and the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown.

An 8K Feast for Your Eyes

It’s not just the exterior of Apple’s headset that looks promising, as the interior could also come with some eye-opening features – quite a bit in terms of display resolution. It’s rumored to be 8K per eye, giving an unprecedented level of detail. For comparison, the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite comes with a resolution of 1440 x 1700 per eye.

Apple is said to be gunning for higher-quality visuals in other ways, with Kuo alleging that the headset could come with iris recognition based on the technology his sources said is in the device (such as The cameras used for “innovative biometrics” are mentioned in the former). Kuo says Iris Recognition can be used to authenticate you for Apple Pay or to unlock your accounts, allowing you to enter passwords on your iPhone without having to take the headset off. can.

Powered by Apple Silicon Chip

Going back to those cameras, they may allow for eye and hand tracking features. Apple already has Mac and a . have patented ideas for both of these control methods mixed reality headset, Don’t be surprised if you see this technology in Apple’s MR headset.

One thing we haven’t seen much news on is the refresh rate and field of view that will be used in the headset’s display. The refresh rate should be high enough that lag and motion sickness are kept to an absolute minimum, and rival headsets typically aim for 90Hz or higher. We’ll have to wait and see what Apple picks up here.

Powering all of this technology will be a custom-designed Apple silicon chip, according to Mark Gurman, which has been called one of Apple’s “most advanced and powerful” processors, the M1 chip found in the MacBook Pro. could potentially be defeated. Apple’s ARM-based chip architecture is incredibly efficient—so much so that the M1 MacBook Air doesn’t even need a fan—which makes it ideal for compact devices like mixed-reality headsets, where keeping cool is essential (your And for both chip).

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also claimed that the headset will boast Wi-Fi 6E instead of Wi-Fi 6 found in the current iPhone 13 line-up. This opens up a new 6GHz band, which gives you lower latency and faster data rates. Considering the demanding nature of mixed-reality content, we think this claim makes a lot of sense.

Apple mixed-reality headset: Our wish list

Apple VR Headset Concept by Antonio De Rosa
Apple VR Headset Concept Antonio de Rosa

It looks like Apple is outfitting its headset with a slew of great features, but there are still a few extras we’d love to see. At the top of the list is great battery life – after all, what’s the point of having an excellent device to play with if it dies after a few minutes? Fortunately, the choice of processor delivers good news in this department, as Apple’s custom chip has led to incredible battery life in its MacBooks. This can be countered by the super-high resolution that the headset is clearly going to use, but we’ve got our fingers crossed.

Word is that Apple is developing a special operating system called ROS (RealityOS?) that will run the headset. Apps and games will need to run on this system, but we’re hoping that, due to the common Apple silicon architecture in both the headset and other Apple devices, there will be some degree of cross-compatibility available.

It would be great if the headset could recognize whether you’re playing a game on your Apple TV or Mac, for example, and then mirror the content to the headset with mixed-reality (provided the game is VR-fixed). logically compatible). It would be a shame if Apple limited the headset to only working with ROS-compatible games and apps, as developers could be turned off if they have to build apps from scratch for the new operating system.

One final request pertains to the headset’s control method. We don’t know whether the device will come with a handheld controller or will rely entirely on gestures. If it’s the former, then one thing that Apple really needs to include is haptic feedback. It’s already included in every MacBook and Apple Watch to great effect, so Apple knows how to make the technology work. Gentle Taps built into apps and games would be a great addition that doesn’t break the immersion.




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