Apple VR/AR headset — everything we know so far till now


There are rumors that an Apple VR and AR headset is coming.

(Image credit: Future)

Apple’s mixed reality, augmented reality, and virtual reality headset is still mentioned in rumors and other stories. Apple hasn’t yet made the device public, but CEO Tim Cook has referred to augmented reality as one of “very few deep innovations” and a field that is “critically vital.” Cook recently previewed Apple’s VR/AR headset strategy in an interview with China Daily USA. In sharp contrast to the developing metaverse, Cook stated that he wants humans to be at the core of their VR/AR strategy.

Apple’s purported VR ambitions aim to compete with the greatest VR headsets on the market, much like the Oculus Quest 2 or PSVR 2.


We should also point out that Apple’s VR/AR headset is distinct from the company’s rumored Apple Glasses, which are, as their name implies, only augmented reality devices. According to reports, they’re also a very long way off, but the Apple AR/VR headset might be available by the end of this year.

Regarding Apple VR/AR, there have been a number of reports that have surfaced, including information on next-generation display technology, its probable cost, and release date. Here is all the information you require on the Apple VR and mixed reality headset.

Apple VR and mixed-reality headset release date speculation

The Apple VR/AR headset has been the subject of numerous predictions in circulating rumors. However, Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst and trusted Apple oracle, stands out as the one who predicted the Apple VR/AR headset would be released in January 2023.


Kuo describes Apple as “a game-changer for the headset industry” in a Medium post(opens in new tab), which examines various aspects of the VR headset market. Kuo forecasts that Cupertino’s first headset will lead a new wave of products from others trying to emulate its ideas, and boost in demand for associated AR games and apps.

Apple VR and mixed reality headset vs Apple Glass

The Apple VR and mixed reality headgear is reportedly intended to be a forerunner of Apple Glass. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the AR lenses are intended to provide a “optical see-through AR experience.”

According to all we’ve heard, Apple Glass is created to look and function like a typical pair of lightweight glasses. We’re talking about eyewear that can transmit data, possibly including imagery, to its lenses.


The Apple VR and mixed reality headset is anticipated to perform similarly to a standard VR headgear, but with additional capability unlocked by a number of external cameras and sensors.

Apple’s VR and mixed reality headset will be able to blend real-world environments into a virtual area and enable body tracking as a result. Additionally, the Apple VR headset might feature a see-through feature that can give an augmented reality experience. So, it differs somewhat from the VR-only Oculus Quest 2.

Mark Gurman has asserted that the Apple headset, as opposed to joining the’metaverse’ bandwagon like so many others, will be made for quick excursions into VR. In fact, it’s claimed that Apple has made the metaverse “off limits.” The mixed reality headset will allow users to communicate, watch content, and play games, but it won’t be something you wear all day or serve as a substitute for reality.


Apple VR and mixed reality headset rumored price

Prices for the Apple VR and mixed reality headset have received conflicting reports. However, reports point to a developer focus, suggesting that price may be based on luring programmers.

The ultimate goal of Apple, according to Tim Cook, is augmented reality. According to reports, the company’s plans for wearable AR begin with the headset. According to reports, the headset’s primary objective is to get developers ready for the release of Apple Glass and make sure the specifications have app compatibility for launch. According to rumors, Apple’s primary motivation is not to generate money, and the headset’s pricing will reflect this.

However, Mark Gurman has asserted that the headset will prioritize communication, media consumption, and gaming, suggesting that Apple is creating something with users in mind. This may eventually lead to a less expensive second-generation headset. That doesn’t mean the first-generation headset won’t be pricey or largely intended for usage by developers, either.


Although reports differ on how pricey Apple’s VR and mixed reality headset will be, it is expected to be costly.

The Information predicts that the price of Apple’s virtual reality headset might reach $3,000. The Microsoft Hololens 2 costs a staggering $3,500, yet most gaming VR headsets are under $1,000.

According to Mark Gurman, the headset might cost up to $2,000 in total. The headset’s hardware, which may feature the Apple M1 Pro chip, a prolonged development period, and the customary higher markup charged for other Apple items are all factored into that pricing.


The headset, according to Ming-Chi Kuo’s forecast, will only cost $1,000. similarly to the iPhone 12 Pro, etc. Although still pricey, this is far more affordable for the typical developer. Particularly if the headgear is as powerful as the reports have suggested.

Apple’s headset will cost “several thousand dollars,” according to a more recent study by Display Supply Chain Consultants, or DSCC.

In any event, the entry fee will be significant and unquestionably much greater than that of other standalone VR headsets. The Oculus Quest 2, for instance, costs $300 in contrast.


Apple VR and mixed reality headset rumored features

Mixed reality is the Apple headset’s major feature. The headgear will have external cameras, which are now being used to test functions like hand-tracking and gesture control, said Mark Gurman. One aspect of this is the potential for using a virtual keyboard to type in the air.

According to a report from The Information(opens in new tab), the headgear will have 12 tracking cameras that can transmit data to two 8K monitors that are placed in front of the user’s eyes. Additionally, it is said that the headset will have LiDAR sensors. Display Supply Chain Consultants, or DSCC, disputes this allegation and asserts that Sony is producing 1.4-inch-diagonal 4K panels for Apple’s headgear. DSCC did, however, acknowledge that LiDAR was a potential solution.

For those who don’t know, LiDAR uses lasers to measure distance, which can swiftly and accurately gather the area of a space. The high-end iPad Pro, as well as the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, have already employed a device in this manner to more accurately put things in augmented reality.


According to at least one rumor, Apple isn’t putting much emphasis on games for its AR/VR headset. Given how early adopters are frequently drawn to amenities like gaming, that decision seems odd.

Apple may cram a total of three displays into its headset, according to DSCC. The two 4K displays built by Sony that were described above as well as a larger, lower resolution AMOLED panel on the rear may be present. The article claims that this would enable Apple to develop a foveated display.

The fovea, which is located along the retina at the rear of the eye, is referred to as a foveated display. The fovea aids with central vision acuity. Eye tracking could be used in a foveated VR headset to help focus a picture on the user’s field of vision while reducing the resolution in the peripheral areas. The YouTube channel SweViver’s video (opens in new tab) on fixed foveated rendering, often known as FFR, does a fantastic job at describing it.


All those sensors might not be operating independently, though. Users will be able to wear a “thimble-like” device on their finger to aid in hand tracking and other controls, according to sources who spoke to The Information.

To keep everything running, a lot of power will be required, and according to Gurman’s source, the headgear will be equipped with Apple’s “most modern and powerful chips.” It appears that the chip in Apple’s virtual reality headset will be more potent than the recently released M1 Mac CPU.

The headgear will have 16GB of RAM and the new M2 chip, according to a later report from Gurman. Although it may not be the most potent processor in the Apple Silicon lineup, it does provide an excellent blend of power and energy efficiency.


Speaking of specifications, a more recent report from Kuo claims the headgear would include a brace or processors, indicating Apple won’t be cutting corners with regard to power.

According to Kuo, “the lower-end processor will be responsible for sensor-related computation, while the higher-end processor will have equivalent computing capacity to the M1 for Mac.”

According to The Information(opens in new tab), the headset will include two processors, with the main processor being an analog of the M2 microprocessor, which will be released later this year in products like the new MacBook Air.


Kuo claims that all of that hardware will require a substantial amount of power. To the extent that the headset will reportedly include a 96W MacBook charger to maintain power throughout.

Recently, Kuo also mentioned that the device might have object identification functions and hand gesture controls, which might be made possible by “extremely sensitive 3D sensing modules.”

He asserts that the AR/MR headset can recognize not only changes in the user’s or other people’s hand or object’s position in front of the user’s eyes, but also changes in the hand’s dynamic detail. Kuo hypothesized that the machine might track a user’s shift in hand position from a closed fist to an open hand and produce an image of a balloon that appears to be released.


Apple has been developing smart rings that can be used to track finger and hand movements, according to a patent found by Apple Insider(opens in new tab). This could be used to enhance the capability of the external cameras when used with a virtual reality or mixed reality headset.

The ability to recognize objects the user is holding, such as an Apple Pencil, is also mentioned in the patent. Accordingly, the headset will adjust its functionality based on what it perceives you want to do. Therefore, if you hold an Apple Pencil, it will still recognize that you prefer to write by hand to type. and so forth

In order to allow light to reflect back and forth between the display and lenses, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that Apple will adopt “3P pancake lenses,” which feature a folded design. This might make it possible to create a lightweight, tiny headset.


Additionally, according to Ming-Chi Kuo, the headset will enable Wi-Fi 6E, enabling it to connect to an additional device and transfer significant amounts of data quickly. This implies that the headset might enable an other device—such as an iPhone or Mac—to perform all the labor-intensive tasks and beam them directly to the headset without the use of a physical cord.

Because Apple won’t be performing all the computing in the headset itself, it will also be able to keep the weight low and extend the battery life significantly.

Apple VR and mixed reality headset design

The Information claimed to have received design sketches for Apple’s potential mixed reality headgear in an early 2021 story. This might not represent the finished product as it appears to be based on early prototype work by Apple engineers.


In addition, concept designer Ian Zelbo produced some renders of a potential headset design based on a leak from The Information earlier this year.

Nevertheless, given that this is Apple, we would anticipate that the mixed reality headset would have a sleek industrial design that prioritizes user ergonomics.

For what it’s worth, Ming-Chi Kou asserted that the weight of the Apple headset when it ships will be between 300 and 400 grams (about one pound). Kou continues that a lighter version is being prepared for a later release.


Apple Glasses realityOS

With references to “realityOS” in App Store upload logs by keen developers, it appears that Apple will be offering the customized operating system needed for a completely new device form factor.

Although there isn’t much information available about this potential software, it would make sense for Apple to create a unique operating system for its VR and AR devices. This operating system would probably be more similar to iOS than to macOS, in our opinion.

Apple VR and mixed reality headset: Will you want to buy it?

Apple’s AR/VR mixed reality headset, according to recent leaks and rumors, will have a developer and professional focus. In order to prepare for the upcoming release of the Apple Glasses AR specifications, it is important that developers have access to an actual device so they can practice creating augmented reality apps.


According to claims we’ve seen, Apple’s AR/VR headset could cost up to $3,000, although other reports claim it will only cost “few thousand dollars.”

The Apple headset’s attraction might change over time, though, given that the Apple Glasses are supposedly still a few years away. Since developers will have more time to work on it, the more apps they can create and the more attractive it will be to possess, the more time they will have. That’s providing folks don’t keep being turned off by the price.

Although Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst, has said that Apple may be planning to introduce a second-generation headset around 2024. He projects that this headset will outsell the Oculus Quest 2 by 10 million copies. Perhaps this headgear will appeal to a much wider general demographic.


Apple VR and mixed reality headset wish list: What we want

Comfort over time: The issue with the majority of VR headsets is that they’re not designed for continuous use. Generally, discomfort worsens after about 30 minutes. Of course, the longer you can continue, the more comfy the headset is from the beginning.

Apple can undoubtedly make sure its mixed reality headgear is as comfortable as possible if it can build the AirPods Pro so that you can forget you’re wearing them.

Strong battery life: At the moment, independent headset batteries don’t last very long. Depending on what you do, the Oculus Quest 2 only lasts two to three hours. At the very least, we want Apple’s VR and mixed reality headset to have as much battery life; however, we would prefer more.


An emphasis on fitness: The Apple headset may revolutionize the fitness industry thanks to potential integration with Apple Fitness Plus and the Apple Watch. During your workouts, you might utilize the device to track your progress as you adhere to the instructions of a personal trainer.

Proper AR: We want to see some proper AR features if Apple decides to launch its wearable augmented reality attempts with a mixed reality headset. Apple should at the very least take all reasonable steps to ensure that any see-through AR functionality is as realistic as possible, even if users will always be aware that the headset is in place. That indicates a good field of view, no discernible lag, and good image quality.

No gimmicks: If the mixed reality headset is indeed a developer device that is being made available to the public, Apple should at least ensure that there is some benefit to owning one. Release the headset only when absolutely necessary, especially if it is truly that pricey. Give consumers a compelling incentive to purchase one besides the logo.


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