Apple’s virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headset ambitions aren’t dead yet.
The tech giant’s long-rumoured VR and AR headset will reportedly be primarily a virtual reality device and might even launch as early as 2022, according to Bloomberg. Other details hint that the headset’s design is similar to the Magic Leap One and that it’s a self-contained unit like the Oculus Quest and Quest 2.
The device’s processor is also expected to be more powerful than the current M1 Mac chip, which in theory, would allow it to be capable of high-end AR/VR experiences only tethered headsets can run right now. The report also says that the current prototype is made of fabric and will include support for prescription lenses. This would likely make the headset more comfortable and shrink the gap between the display and the wearer’s eyeballs. That said, adding prescription lenses to the device could also likely result in regulatory hurdles.
Bloomberg says that some prototype designs feature an external camera for AR and that the device is expected to use an operating system called rOS that has its own App Store. The report also indicates Apple is running into problems with cooling the headset given it features a built-in fan. This has led to it being too large and heavy to wear for extended periods of time.
The report mentions that Apple plans to include a high-resolution display in the headset but it doesn’t specify if this means a pair of 4K or 8K screens. If Apple takes the 8K or even the 4K route, it will almost certainly be very expensive.
Though the buzz surrounding VR and AR has certainly flattened over the last few years, the technology is still very compelling. It will be interesting to see what Apple’s take on a VR/AR headset is capable of compared to established players like HTC and Oculus.
As someone who spent a lot of time using the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive a few years ago but hasn’t paid that much attention to VR/AR lately, the prospect of a powerful, entirely untethered headset definitely interests me. This could give it the pick-up-and-play feel missing from most headsets, with the standalone Oculus Quest and Quest 2 being the only exceptions.