The rumour mill indicates that Apple is hard at work creating a new mixed reality headset. This is all we know about the intriguing project at this point in its development.
Apple is reportedly working behind the scenes on a “Mixed Reality” headset that could really shake things up in this emerging market, which is predicted to become of greater and greater importance especially as 5G connectivity spreads further.
If you’ve not come across the term Mixed Reality before, then you should know that it is capable of supporting both Virtual Reality (that is, interacting with virtual objects in a virtual world) and Augmented Reality (when virtual objects are imposed on the real world).
Here’s what we know so far about Apple’s rumoured MR headset…
Possible Release Date and pricing
However, the experts on the matter seem to take a different view.
Ming-Chi Kuo, a very reliable source on all things Apple, has claimed that we won’t see the headset until later because an early unveiling might allow competitors to get a head start on creating rival products. However, he seems confident that the headset itself will hit the shelves in 2023.
Even though the release date is not set in stone, we do have some idea of how much Apple’s MR headset could cost.
A detailed report from The Information, which we cover later in this article, suggests that the headset could cost around $3,000 (~£2,385) upon release. That could still change considerably between now and its possible launch in one year’s time or so, but the main thing to bear in mind is that it certainly will not be cheap. This is undoubtedly a premium product, with a premium price tag; reportedly Apple only expects to shift 250,000 units in its first year.
Leaks and Rumours
As with many of Apple’s projects, this one is shrouded in secrecy at this early stage, and no official information is in the public domain. However, we’ve actually got a surprisingly good idea of what Apple’s new headset might look like.
In the aforementioned report published by The Information, based on a source who had direct contact with the device, we learned a great deal about the looks, specifications, and even potential price of the new device.
First of all, the glasses themselves are said to be composed of two 8K monitors in front of the eyes that boast advanced eye-tracking technology, while there are at least twelve cameras on board for tracking hand movements. The attached headbands will be swappable, and they attach to the face via a mesh-like material. There will apparently be spatial audio akin to that offered by the AirPods Pro, and you may be able to control the device via a “thimble-like device to be worn on a person’s finger.”
Based on this report and a sketch of the product, Ian Zelbo created the above render of the headset, which to date remains or best impression of what it could look like.
Another thing we can be fairly sure about is that the operating system will be named realityOS.
Parker Ortolani discovered that this name was registered as a trademark by a company named Realityo Systems LLC, which could allegedly be a shell company set up be Apple to maintain its secrecy, while firmer evidence is found by the fact that “realityOS” is already in the source code of some of Apple’s software, as you can see evidenced in the below tweet:
Furthermore, we’d expect it to be kitted out with one of Apple’s leading mobile chipsets, such as the current A15 Bionic or perhaps its successor the A16, which is expected to arrive on the iPhone 14 Pro in autumn of this year, so that it’s fully equipped to handle the daunting challenges that could be thrown up by Mixed Reality.