Apple’s next big product seems to be the mixed reality headset as the rumours have been making the rounds for a while now. In the latest development which builds on Bloomberg’s revelation of the product, a report from The Information states that the much anticipated headset which packs augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will be launched at a price of $3,000 (roughly ₹2,18,000), which is much more than the company’s other high-end products.
The report elucidates on the possible features of the headset. The headset is expected to come with dual ultra-high-resolution 8K displays which would possibly enhance the picture quality exceptionally as compared to the other AR and VR headsets in the market. “The inclusion of two 8K displays in the headset would make its picture quality far higher than that of other consumer headsets – and even the majority of high-end televisions, which cost thousands of dollars at 8K resolution”, stated the report citing a source with direct knowledge of the device.
The leaks also suggest that the headset will feature more than 12 exterior cameras for hand movement tracking along with advanced eye-tracking technology. The eye-tracking technology will facilitate what is called the foveated rendering, which means that only the objects lying in the focus of the eye will be rendered at full resolution. Everything else in the user’s peripheral vision (outside the focus of the eye) will be displayed at lower image quality. This will help in reducing the power demand and will in turn enhance the battery life.
The headset will be powered by a silicon processor which is said to beat Apple’s M1 chip in terms of performance. Apple also reportedly plans to control the headset through a thimble-like device that can be worn on the finger.
As for the sensors, JPMorgan Chase reported that the headset will incorporate a LiDAR and a ToF sensor for an immersive AR and VR experience.
The report also provided renders of the latest prototype design of the headset which looks like ski goggles at the first glance. The image shows a sleek, curved visor connected to the face along with swappable headbands.
Summarising Apple Mixed Reality Headset Specs (As Per Leaks):
|Processor||Apple Silicone chip said to be more powerful than the M1 chip|
|Display||Dual ultra-high-resolution 8K display|
|Camera||More than 12 exterior cameras for movement tracking|
|Other sensors and technology||Advanced eye-tracking technology, LiDAR sensor, time-of-flight (ToF) sensor to enhance AR and VR applications|
|Estimated Price||$3,000 (roughly ₹2,18,000)|
The rather pricey nature of the high-end headset suggests that it will be targeted towards professionals and businesses in comparison to regular consumers. At the projected price, the headset is more expensive than some of the prominent standalone VR headsets in the market such as Facebook’s Oculus VR headset. On the other hand, the price is comparable to Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality headset which is priced at $3,500.
Assuming that the development stage remains on track, sources believe that the headset could make its first appearance in the market in the first quarter of 2022 itself.
Apple also intends to launch a much lighter AR headset (Apple Glasses). These glasses are expected to be much cheaper than the VR headset but will rely on a companion iPhone instead of independent software. However, Bloomberg has reported that the launch will not take place until 2023 due to “technological hurdles”.