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Apple ‘Reality Pro’ headset features laid bare in hugely revealing report

Apple’s first mixed reality headset could be revealed within months and a new report may have given us the most detailed account yet of the potential feature set and use cases.

A report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman claims to pull back the curtain on the $3,000 ‘Reality Pro‘ headset. Gurman says the headset represents “an ambitious attempt to create a 3D version of the iOS operating system with eye and hand-tracking systems that could set the technology aside from rival products.”

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The report says that the mixed reality (AR/VR) headset will also act as a virtual display for the Mac, and will offer a host of core Apple apps like Safari, Photos, Apple TV, FaceTime, Messages and will have a version of the App Store.

Apple will market the device as a means of “immersive watching video” which could mean support for Dolby Atmos, while gaming will also be a selling point thanks to an “underlying engine” designed for VR games.

There’ll be a “dedicated video watching feature that can make viewers feel like they’re seeing a movie on a giant screen in another environment, such as a desert or outer space,” the report says.

Text input will be possible via Siri voice control (or a connected iOS/iPadOS or macOS device), but more interestingly through an air-typing system that could allow users to write with their hands in mid-air.

The report goes into detail on the hand and eye tracking tech that will be on board, including the gestures users will be able to make to move around the operating system. Cameras will track hand movements, while internal sensors will do the same for the eyes.

Gurman writes: “The headset will have several external cameras that can analyze a user’s hands, as well as sensors within the gadget’s housing to read eyes. That allows the wearer to control the device by looking at an on-screen item — whether it’s a button, app icon or list entry — to select it.

“Users will then pinch their thumb and index finger together to activate the task — without the need to hold anything. The approach differs from other headsets, which typically rely on a hand controller.”

The design will allow for other people to see the wearer’s eyes, while there will be built-in speakers and a possible Digital Crown-like means of whipping through the interface.

In terms of power, the device will have external battery packs that connects to the headset via a cable, but is still small enough to fit inside a user’s pocket, according to the report. This pack will give the user up to hours of power according to the report, and will be about the size of “two iPhone 14 Pro Maxes stacked on top of each other.”

The report comes after Gurman reported the company was putting the smart AR glasses that would follow the mixed reality headset on the back burner “indefinitely” due to issues developing the hardware to its liking.

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