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Apple AR/VR Headset: All the latest news and rumours

Apple looks to be working on its next frontier, an AR/VR headset. We’ve been keeping abreast of all the key news and rumours. Here’s all you need to know about the Apple headset.

Rumours of an Apple headset have been around for many a year, with speculation flittering between augmented reality and virtual reality, to what its focus will be. Nothing has been announced yet though, so it all remains unconfirmed, with WWDC in June expected by many to be its eventual reveal date.

To keep you fully in the loop, the Trusted team has kept its eyes out for any information on the Apple AR/VR headset from typically trusted sources. We’ve brought all of this together right here, so read on for all the key details.

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Pricing and Release Date

There has been a lot of speculation about the possible release date of the Apple Headset. Bloomberg’s own Mark Gurman claims that the headset will launch in June during Apple’s WWDC 2023 event. Moreover, The Financial Times (via Tom’s Guide) has claimed that the headset will launch sometime this year, despite some apparent reservations from the Apple team.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via Twitter) thinks that the headset may be delayed due to a lack of excitement around the iPhone, among other reasons. Since none of these claims has been verified by Apple, we can take them with a grain of salt, although it seems very possible that we may see the Apple Headset during 2023.

In the same vein as the release date, there is nothing definitive on the pricing. Most VR headsets are not particularly affordable, with the PSV2 and latest Meta Quest 2 costing £529.99 and £399.99, respectively. According to Tim Cook, Chief Executive Officer of Apple, (via GQ) the headset’s main goal is to prepare developers for the launch of Apple Glasses.

On the other hand, Mark Gurman (via Bloomberg) claimed that the headset will emphasise gaming, media and communication, suggesting that this will be more of a consumer product than one aimed at developers. A report from The Information (via Tom’s Guide) thinks that the Apple Headset could cost as much as $3,000.

Kuo (via Twitter) went on to say that the final price should be between $2,000 and $2,500, suggesting that this will be one of the more expensive VR headsets once it launches.

Design and display

A report from The Information claims that the device is composed of two 8K monitors in front of the eyes that boast advanced eye-tracking technology, with at least 12 tracking cameras that can feed information into the display. However, the Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) claims that Sony is currently making 4K 4000×4000 displays for the Apple Headset, making it unclear if this headset will boast an 8K or 4K resolution.

It should come with attached hand bands that can be swapped out and attached to the face via mesh-like material. There will 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.” This is based on a render of the product from Ian Zelbo, which can be seen below, which looks to be the best impression of what the Apple Headset could look like.

Ian Zelbo Apple VR headset render
Image Credit: Ian Zelbo

Looking further at the design, Apple’s recent patent (via Apple Insider) shows us two rings that suggest the headset will be able to track specific finger and hand movements. These two rings fit on the thumb and index finger of the user which should be able to track what the user is holding, whether that be an object like an Apple Pencil or something within the virtual world.

Apple VR Headset patent
Image Credit: Apple Insider/Apple

Specs and Features

Mark Gurman has mentioned that the headset will include external cameras that can test features like hand-tracking and gesture control, which should make outside movements more accurate. This also includes the idea of being able to type in the air using a virtual keyboard, although this has not been confirmed.

Moreover, Gurman claimed that this headset will require a lot of power, with some suggesting that it may come with the new M2 chipset alongside 16GB of RAM. While the M2 is not the most powerful chipset from the company, it should offer enough power and energy efficiency.

The naming convention that is set to be applied to the new headset looks to have changed over recent months (according to Bloomberg). The operating system was originally slated as “realityOS” but is not set to be called “xrOS“. “xr” traditionally denotes “mixed reality”, potentially lining up with rumours that the Apple headset will be able to switch between AR and VR.

xrOS looks set to take full advantage of augmented reality to try and enhance your daily life, with features to augment activities like playing games to watching TV, movies and sports as well as, in modern Apple fashion, a focus on fitness.

A key unknown is exactly how you’ll interact with the headset but it is expected that Siri will play a key part as well as using your screen-sporting Apple devices to control the AR/VR display. Speculation has also pointed towards using both iPad and macOS apps on the headset.

The Information reports the headset is going to offer up the ability for any user to create AR apps, with Siri being the key input. It’s unclear how exactly this will work, but it aims to allow those without coding experience to develop experiences within xrOS. Unsurprisingly, FaceTime will be supported, along with a significant upgrade that will see the user’s face and body presented in virtual reality.

According to Kuo (via 9to5mac) the headset will even come with a 96W MacBook charger to power it, although some other reports have suggested that an external battery pack will be necessary, which could offer up to two hours of power (via Tom’s Guide). Additionally, Kuo (via 9to5mac) mentioned that the Apple Headset will feature multiple processors to provide even more power. It’s not clear if this would include the M2 chip, but it will likely be within the Apple Silicon family.

The Trusted Take

The Apple AR/VR Headset seems closer than it’s ever been before and I’m really excited to see what the company can do within a virtual world. I’m interested to see which direction it will go in, as the gaming VR market is already starting to get oversaturated with headsets from the likes of Sony, Meta, Vive and HTC, to name a few.

With such a speculated high price tag, it may be a harder sell for gamers, but it may well go down the route of the Meta Quest Pro and have a larger focus on productivity and office work. Whatever it looks like, I’m sure it will be of very high quality and help further AR/VR technology, we’ll just have to see if it really does warrant a $2000 and above price tag.

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