The future belongs to virtual and augmented reality, and Apple wants to be part of it. The company has been working on its own augmented and virtual reality headset for several years. The device may come out in 2022 or 2023. This will be the first Apple device in this segment, and augmented reality glasses will come out in 2024 or 2025. The mixed reality headset will be an expensive device aimed at a small audience, but the glasses will be aimed at the mass buyer. Below we have collected all the rumors about Apple’s AR/VR headset.
The headset will support both augmented and virtual reality, i.e. mixed reality. Augmented reality superimposes virtual elements on the real world, which is captured by the device’s cameras. Virtual reality completely blocks the real environment and immerses the user in a completely virtual reality. The mixed reality helmet will resemble the Oculus VR helmet in shape, but future augmented reality glasses will look like Google Glass glasses. Apple’s mixed reality headset will target 3D gaming, content consumption and virtual reality communication.
Apple’s mixed reality helmet, codenamed N301, will resemble the Meta Oculus Quest helmet in design. Edition The Information reports seeing a prototype device. A few months ago, diagrams and renderings of the helmet with its design appeared on the net. According to current information, the helmet will curve around the wearer’s face to completely block out light from outside.
The case with the display will be attached to the user’s head with a strap made from materials from which the Apple Watch straps are made. Around the display will be a soft material that will fit comfortably to the face. Some sources say that the entire helmet will weigh less than 150 grams, which is significantly lighter than other similar devices on the market. To achieve this, instead of a metal case, Apple may use a fabric one.
Displays and cameras
Analysts say Apple’s mixed reality headset will have two or three displays, two of which will be 1.4-inch 4K Micro OLED displays. The third will be a lower resolution AMOLED display for peripheral vision.
Apple should use 3-piece lenses to keep weight, size and cost down. The technology will still be more expensive than what is used in VR helmets from other companies. Perhaps the company will allow you to order a helmet with magnifying lenses, since it will not be possible to put it on glasses.
Since it will be a mixed reality helmet with augmented reality support, it will have multiple cameras to track hand movement, map the world around it, and project virtual elements into the real world. Eight cameras will be responsible for the operation of augmented reality, and another six will be used for “innovative biometrics.” The cameras will be so accurate that they will be able to recognize the angles, surfaces and dimensions of various elements.
Processor, interface and OS
If rumors are to be believed, Apple is using several advanced processors for its helmet. The main processor will be the same as the M1 processor, if not more powerful. The helmet must have a 96W USB-C power adapter for charging, which means the device will consume a lot of power. One of the processors will be TSMC’s latest 4nm processor and the others will be 5nm. There were rumors that Apple was facing overheating issues with its powerful processor. Perhaps it is because of them that the release of the device will be postponed until 2023.
A mixed reality helmet will be able to process data independently of other devices. However, there is also an opinion that the helmet will still have to be connected to an iPhone or Mac. The smartphone can connect to the helmet using Wi-Fi 6E. Perhaps the helmet can be controlled using gestures and eye movements. The eyes will also be used for biometric authentication.
Back in 2017, there were rumors that Apple’s mixed reality headset would run on the new “rOS” operating system. Apple will also create a separate App Store with games and apps for the headset. Your device may support services and features such as Animoji, Apple Arcade, and Apple TV+.
Price and release date
Reliable sources say that Apple’s mixed reality headset will cost about $2,000, i.e. even more expensive than the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Unlike helmets from other companies, Apple’s device will be aimed at developers, content creators and professionals rather than the mass consumer. The company does not expect huge sales of the device. It certainly won’t be as big a hit as the iPhone. Apple hopes to sell just one helmet a day in every store, ie. total 180,000 helmets per year. However, the company told suppliers to prepare to produce about 10 million helmets in the first year.
Previously, there were rumors that the helmet will be presented at the WWDC 2022 conference, but now a release in late 2022 or early 2023 seems more likely.
Apple is also working on augmented reality glasses, codenamed “N421”, which will be released a year after the helmet’s release. So far, development is in the early stages. The glasses will resemble Google Glass, but will be more powerful and advanced. So far, little is known about them, but they will cost about $500.