Apple is one of the most well-renowned technology companies worldwide and has been rumored to be secretly working on a state-of-the-art virtual reality headset. While there have been no official statements by the company, the Apple VR headset is expected to be released sometime this year.
We expect some great VR technology releases this year, with the Meta Quest 3, MeganeX, Pico 5, PSVR 2, and the Apple VR headset.
Analysts are predicting the launch to be in March, during the Apple March event. The company has been extremely successful with its iPhone collection, with millions of units sold annually, and has also been exploring the exciting world of augmented reality.
By making all of their recent phones AR-compatible and developing tools such as Reality Kit, Apple has sparked massive AR adoption worldwide, which is why VR enthusiasts are looking forward to the company’s entry into the VR market.
Will the VR Headset Really be Named Reality Pro?
Apple has applied for several trademarks that offer insights into what the new upcoming headset may be called. It is important to note that the company didn’t file these applications. According to a Bloomberg report, a company called Immersive Health Solution, LLC filed for the trademark.
Many large tech giants often file for trademarks or patents under shell corporations to keep their product launches a secret. However, Bloomberg discovered that Corporation Trust Co. initially registered Immersive Health Solutions, a shell company that Apple has used in the past.
The trademarks were filed in Canada, US, UK, EU, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay, and Costa Rica for “Reality Pro,” “Reality Processor,” and “Reality One.” The filings specifically mention AR/VR headsets, glasses, and goggles.
Some believe the name of the VR headset will be “Reality One,” with another high-end version released later this year called “Reality Pro,” similar to how Apple iPhones also have a “pro” version.
Will xrOS be the Software Name?
Perhaps. However, these are just speculations currently; Apple has not made any formal announcements about the software and hardware of the upcoming VR headset. However, reports suggest that they have filed trademarks for the name “xrOS.”
Initially, people assumed that Apple would name the software Reality OS, but they now believe that Apple will call it “xrOS” instead, which stands for “Extended Reality Operating System” and covers the capabilities of the upcoming VR/AR headset, generating excitement among fans for its release.
Release Date Rumors
Mark Gurman, a Bloomberg tech reporter, believes that for the past seven years, Apple has planned its VR headset. Initially, they thought they would launch it in 2019, but they pushed it back multiple times. The latest rumor is that they will announce the headset in spring 2023 and release it in fall 2023.
Another analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, also thinks that production and software issues delayed the headset. He predicts that they could reveal it either at the Worldwide Developers Conference or at another event in March.
Will Apple VR Headsets Live up to the iPhone Fame? (Could Apple VR be as Revolutionary as iPhone Was?)
With over 2.2 billion units sold in 2022, it is hard to imagine any technological device matching the success of the iPhone. Since its launch in 2007, iPhones have become a leader in the smartphone space, offering innovative features, premium aesthetics, and an incredible user experience.
Third-party estimates show that out of 9.6 million VR headsets sold in 2022 there was a drop of over 12%. Despite this, with Apple’s dedicated user base, the VR market is expected to experience a significant increase in adoption worldwide. Despite still having a long way to go before matching the success of the iPhone, Apple’s entry into the market holds great potential.
However, the VR headset market remains highly competitive, with companies such as Meta leading the charge. Meta will release its Meta Quest 3 MR headset at a competitive price of $300-$500.
In comparison, reports indicate that the Apple headset will cost anywhere between $2500-$3000, making it very difficult to enter this highly competitive market. However, the pricing is in line with the future potential of the marketplace.
Apple VR Headsets Features
Apple Silicon Chip
Apple’s M2 chip announced at the Worldwide Developer Conference in June 2022, will likely feature in the upcoming headset. This powerful silicon-based chip offers massive improvements over its predecessor, such as a 12-core GPU, 25% more transistors, support for up to 100GB of memory bandwidth, 4K/8K streaming capabilities, and a powerful 16-core Neural Engine.
This chip will allow for faster processing with lower latency. Another exciting feature of this chip is its improved power efficiency. Using this chip, the headset can handle complex tasks such as 3D rendering, ray tracing, etc.
Iris scanning is one exciting advanced feature that the upcoming Apple VR headset will offer. With this, the headset will be able to scan your eyes to confirm your identity and provide authentication for various apps and potentially payments as well. Users will be able to unlock their devices with a single glance, and this would also allow them to create multiple profiles within the headset, something modern-day headsets such as the Meta Quest Pro and Quest 2 cannot do.
Iris scanning maps unique eye features, such as the texture, color, and shape of your iris, to authenticate the user. Iris recognition is much more secure than other biometric methods like fingerprint scanners because it’s harder to replicate a person’s iris.
Besides authentication, iris scanning provides another benefit: it can help identify health-related issues surrounding your eyes. Since the system can measure the pressure in your eyes and detect signs of strain or fatigue caused by prolonged use of the headset, it can also provide indicators on when users should rest. It could also see changes in your vision that might indicate a more serious eye condition, such as glaucoma.
The headset’s cameras and sensors fully equip it to track a user’s facial expressions during use. By following the facial expressions and eye movements, Apple can project similar expressions to a virtual avatar, allowing for more realistic virtual experiences.
For example, if a person is grinning or frowning in real life, the headset can match those expressions within virtual experiences. So, if you’re using the headset to chat virtually with friends, they will be able to see you smile and react virtually!
Thin And Light Design
Users expect Apple’s VR/AR headset to embody the company’s sleek aesthetic designs. Their patent specifically outlines several adjustable straps for a “head-mounted” unit. This confirms the focus on user comfort and ease of use.
The headset is speculated to use glass, aluminum, and carbon fiber. Thus allowing for the device to be lightweight yet durable. Its rubber grip can also provide a secure fit. Users can customize the adjustable strap to ensure the headset fits comfortably.
The thin design also allows for better airflow, reducing the chances of overheating or fogging on the lenses. The team has focused a lot on ensuring maximum comfort for its users, which will help immensely when users utilize the headset for extended periods.
Initial rumors suggested that Apple might go with an inbuilt battery. Recent reports from analysts state that they dropped the inbuilt battery for an external battery pack. This will enable users to quickly swap out batteries if their battery is running low.
The new Apple VR Headset is reported to utilize Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) displays to provide stunning visuals to its users. The benefit of using OLED displays is that they offer stunning clarity, deep colors, and more. They are also much lighter and thinner than LCDs, making them a perfect choice for this sleek headset.
These displays will also help eliminate blur and lag in games by providing high refresh rates. The headset will utilize two 4K High-Res Micro OLEDs that provide up to 3000 pixels per inch resolution.
The AR/VR headset will also feature an external display to show users’ facial expressions. People believe that Apple added an extra feature for VR users to display their emotions to those around them through an external OLED with a low refresh rate to conserve battery. Sony is expected to supply the OLEDs, but rumors suggest that Apple has approached Samsung to manufacture micro-OLEDs.
How Will Apple Headsets be Controlled?
Apple’s VR headset may offer incredible hand-tracking features, eliminating the need for controllers. Users can control the headset through hand gestures, head, and eye movements, etc.
Cameras and sensors work together to accurately map movements in real-time, allowing users to move naturally and have their movements imitated virtually at the same time. Achieving this functionality requires a high level of responsiveness and accuracy. Apple may still create controllers since haptic feedback is integral to the immersion process to allow users to “feel” things in the virtual environment.
Will iPhone Be Connected Also?
According to recent reports, the VR headset is meant to be independent and will not require an iPhone connection. The headset contains two main processors that will be able to handle all computing requirements effectively without the need for an external device.
However, we’re sure there will be some compatibility for iOS with xrOS, allowing users to utilize iOS apps in virtual reality. While Apple may not offer this feature at the very start of its launch, it might be provided in a later update.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reports that they made the VR headset self-sufficient because the iPhone couldn’t handle the high computing requirements of a state-of-the-art headset.
What Could be the Cost of Apple VR/AR Headsets
Apple has always been a “premium” product, with most products charging higher than other market offerings. Over time, they have developed a dedicated user base that is more than willing to pay a premium price to get a high-quality product.
As mentioned previously, the cost of the upcoming headset is speculated to be in the $2500-$3000 price range, which makes it far outside the reach of the mass population. However, analysts also suggest that the next version of the headset could be significantly cheaper, making it accessible to most customers.
Differences Between Apple VR/AR Headsets and Apples Glasses
Apple’s AR glasses allow users to superimpose 3D virtual images into their surroundings, creating an “augmented” version of reality. Apple has been working on AR for quite a while now, with tons of AR apps already in the iOS store.
The AR glasses enhance the user’s physical surroundings with digital information and virtual graphics. The goal is to seamlessly provide an interactive medium between the physical and digital worlds.
However, Apple’s AR/VR headset offers users a chance to experience “mixed reality,” i.e., users can interact with virtual elements placed in their physical surroundings. Since the headset supports VR, users can also enter virtual environments, allowing for incredible immersive experiences. This can help immensely while playing VR games and having virtual experiences, such as exploring the Metaverse.
Therefore, Apple’s AR glasses are rumored to be more centered around increasing a user’s overall productivity and day-to-day tasks, offering features such as navigation, emailing, texting, etc.
Will Apple use its Depth-Sensing Hardware?
Depth-sensing hardware is an essential element for immersive mixed-reality experiences. Therefore it is highly likely that Apple will utilize high-end depth sensors to accurately map a user’s surroundings to provide high-quality VR experiences.
This would enable the headset to provide precise movement tracking for interacting in real-time with virtual environments. This could also achieve low latency, and improved accuracy, ultimately leading to more immersive experiences.
Apple’s famous TrueDepth camera has been utilized for Face ID on the newer version of the iPhones. It provides high accuracy for facial scans up to a certain distance. By leveraging Apple’s work on lidar technologies, Apple can quickly increase the scanning distance capabilities to map environments effectively and to map location-based anchors to overlay virtual images easily.
VR/AR enthusiasts have eagerly awaited Apple’s VR Headset for many years. All rumors point toward a release in 2023. Users eagerly await the headset’s release despite expectations that it will be more costly than other headsets in the market. Its impressive processing capabilities, high-resolution graphics, and tracking justify its expected high cost.
Despite its massive user base, Apple still has a long way to go in the VR/AR space before it can compete with companies such as Meta, primarily due to the difference in pricing. The second iteration of the Apple headset may provide a significant price reduction. Thus, making it accessible to a large audience.
When is the Apple VR Headset going to be released?
Apple’s VR Headset is expected to be announced during the next Worldwide Developers Conference or a separate event in March 2023.
How much is the Apple VR Headset going to cost?
Apple’s upcoming AR/VR headset is expected to cost around $2500-$3000. Thus, making it a much more expensive option as compared to other headsets in the marketplace.
Does the Apple VR Headset also support AR?
Apple’s headset is expected to offer both AR/VR capabilities. These assumptions are made based on their trademark applications and the reviews of expert analysts.
Apple’s AR/VR Headset: What to Expect in 2023 – CNET
Macworld – Apple Reality Pro AR/VR headset
AppleInsider – Apple VR Headset
New Apple Patent Filing Shows A MR Headset That Tracks Your Whole Face
What Apple’s patents say about the company’s VR and AR ambitions
Apple Patents Gesture, Expression Tracking for Mixed Reality
Habr – Apple’s upcoming AR/VR headset features
Apple VR Headset To Support Iris Recognition For Payments
A Closer Look at the “Reality Pro” and its Features | BigTechWire