What is the Apple Mixed Reality Headset? - GuruEntry (2023)

In the spring of 2023, Apple could enter the virtual and augmented reality field with a headset rivaling those of Meta (Oculus) and HTC. What will it be used for? When will it be launched?

Highly publicized in the mid-2010s, virtual reality has been discussed again for a few months. Back in fashion, thanks to Facebook and its metaverse promises, it could, in 2023, take advantage of the Apple effect.

Indeed, when the most famous Californian brand enters a market, the entire industry generally benefits.

After years of rumors, the product called “Apple Reality” and long thought to be connected glasses is about to see the light of day.

According to the latest news on June 5, 2023 (but this deadline could still be postponed), Apple should present a high-end headset dedicated to virtual and augmented reality. To help you see more clearly, we offer this explanatory article.

Table of Contents

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What will Apple’s Headphones be used for?

This is ultimately the most crucial question: why does Apple want to launch headphones? If the interest in an iPhone or an Apple Watch may seem obvious, that of a “niche” product such as a virtual reality headset is less so. So let’s start with a sketch of the object to help you better imagine it.

Apple’s proposal is rumored to be more in mixed reality than virtual reality. There would be a screen in front of each eye, meaning we cannot see through it.

However, this is where Apple would stand out. Its helmet would have15 cameras,according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Eight of them could replicate the external environment to switch you into a fake augmented reality, where you would see the real world (a kind of transparency mode, like on AirPods).

The other cameras would track your movements to let you interact with apps with your hands. Additional sensors allow you to follow your gaze, so the helmet reproduces a classic human view.

The whole thing looks like Facebook’s Meta Quest Pro headset, but Apple’s proposition would be even more sophisticated.

Bloomberg talks about the possibility of selecting an application by looking at it and performing a pinch of your fingers.

Under a new operating system specially designed for the occasion (we are talking aboutxrOS, rOS, or realityOS), the Apple headset should have an App Store. Developers could therefore create applications specially dedicated to this device of a new kind.

We also imagine that Apple will give an essential place to its services like TV+, Fitness+, or Arcade, which could be even better in virtual/augmented reality (some rumors also speak of Notes, Messages, Calendar, FaceTime, and iWork suite in mixed reality).

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Also, remember that with ARKit, Apple offers developers excellent tools dedicated to augmented reality. Its lead in this area is significant and, thanks to this headset, could allow Apple to offer truly pioneering experiences. The fifteen helmet cameras, if confirmed, will probably only be there for a while.

Will the Apple headset be comfortable with gaming features? A priori not, according toThe Information. It would not be supplied with any controller, even if the multinational still intends to provide compatibility with the Unity graphics engine.

Therefore, there should be video game experiences, but it would not be the primary function of the headset (or you would have to use a classic Bluetooth controller).

The helmet’s interface would resume that of the iPhone, in 3D, with icons we would watch.

Apple is said to have developed immersive applications, such as a movie studio that mimics the film’s environment. There is also talk of a FaceTime capable of modeling in 3D the wearer of the helmet to give you the impression that you are in the same room as your correspondent.

We could also participate in group conversations with hyper-precise virtual avatars in their expressions (hello Memoji). There would also be cutting-edge features, like taking a map from Mac’s Maps app (in 2D) to view in the virtual environment (in 3D). We also discuss the possibility of using your Mac virtually in the virtual world.

A Helmet Designed for the General Public?

Historically, Apple has always been a consumer brand. It is outside his habits to launch niche products. The Cupertino company generally waits for a technology to mature before starting, always to dominate the market.

With its helmet, Apple could change its strategy. The device looks more like a development kit than a consumer product on paper. Apple could very well position this product as a taste of the future while waiting to launch glasses for the general public“later in the decade,”according to journalist Mark Gurman.

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However, several experts, including those at Apple, have huge doubts about the strategy of the Californian manufacturer. In March, the New York Times reported that many Apple employees do not believe in the product’s potential. The estimated sales figures, between 200,000 and 500,000 copies in the first year, are also highly lower than Apple’s habits.

A Helmet at What Price?

Today, there are good virtual reality headsets under 500 euros (the Oculus Quest 2 costs 449). We will only surprise you by telling you that Apple should go much higher. Given the number of sophisticated technologies present in this helmet, the prices should fly away (the Quest Pro costs 1,199 euros).

According to several rumors, Apple’s headset will cost approximately$3,000. One wonders how Apple hopes to make its headphones a consumer product at this price. Fortunately, the “Reality Pro” may be followed by a cheaper headset in the future.

When will Apple introduce its Headphones?

Apple has been presenting its headphones for several years, so much so that its announcement has been suspected at each keynote for several years. Some were convinced of the announcement of the helmet in June 2022, then mentioned a postponement to January 2023 before finally changing their minds again.

On June 5, 2023, Apple is hosting its WWDC conference. All the planets are waiting for a headset announcement on this date.

On March 30, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo created doubt by announcing the postponement of helmet production, now scheduled for the third quarter of 2023. He cannot say whether this decision will have a consequence on the product’s announcement, but this possibility would be on the table.

Will Apple Launch a Metaverse?

It is not in the habits of Apple to comment on rumors, but the brand always takes advantage of every opportunity to tackle Facebook, which it does not carry in its heart. Asked about the metaverse, the concept of a virtual world dear to Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, the boss of Apple, explained that he did not appreciate this term. Apple will not go into this sector.

However, does this mean that Apple will not launch a 3D virtual world? The existence of Memojis avatars suggests that there will be virtual characters in the Apple headset, while several jobs offer to mention the presence of a virtual world. However, Apple likely imagines it differently.

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What Characteristics?

A priori, two versions of the helmet have long cohabited internally. One is completely wireless, with a processor and an integrated battery. The other lighter is connected to an on-board computer (processor and battery) which remains in the pocket. As surprising as it may seem, Apple would have opted for the second option. Its headphones would be at least as powerful as the M2 Pro of the latest MacBook Pros but would not be completely autonomous.

In front of each eye, there should be a 4K definition OLED screen. The helmet would also be equipped with a very sophisticated spatial sound system. By comparison, Meta’s top-of-the-line headphones make do with mini-LEDs.

Thanks to indiscretions signedby The Informationand published on January 3, 2023, we know more about the supposed technical sheet of the helmet. The Cupertino company would opt for premium materials, combining aluminum and carbon fiber to offer a compact and lightweight accessory.

The autonomy would be at most two hours on a single charge, but we could quickly increase the duration of the session with several batteries. In addition, the helmet would be equipped with a crown comparable to the Digital Crown of the Apple Watch (without haptic feedback): it would allow you to switch from one reality to another easily.

It is recalled that the Digital Crown has already been recycled for the AirPods Max, in particular, to manage the volume efficiently.

The helmet would be equipped with small motors responsible for automatically adapting the interpupillary distance specific to each one, offering the broadest possible field of vision (up to 120 degrees). Always for comfort, one could magnetically attach lenses adapted to his sight to avoid wearing glasses and the helmet at the same time.

On the audio part, in addition to the built-in speakers, the headphones would carry an H2 chip to guarantee an ideal connection with the latest AirPods Pro headphones (without latency). Moreover, classic Bluetooth headphones would only work a little, while there would be no jack port to go through a wired solution.

Which name?

Again, we will go quickly. If “Apple Glasses” has long been suspected, Apple will likely reserve this name for its authentic glasses in a few years. It, therefore, has several characters left, such as “Apple VR,” “Apple AR,” “Apple Vision,” or “Apple Reality.” According to journalist Mark Gurman, Apple has reserved the “Reality One” and “Reality Pro” brands, hinting that the latter will be chosen. While waiting to learn more, the editorial staff of Numerama will continue to use the expression “Apple’s helmet.” At least, no chance of being wrong.

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Why the hell is Apple getting into virtual reality?

It is not easy to guess in which direction Apple is going. Very confident about the interest in augmented reality, the Californian brand has constantly been repeating for years that it is about the future. Glasses capable of adding contextual information to the fact, such as a direction or a notification, arouse our curiosity. Still, the same cannot be said for a virtual reality headset.

Truth be told, virtual reality has never managed to leave its status as a niche technology. Even with 15 cameras dedicated to augmented reality, we can’t imagine isolating ourselves in a virtual world in the evening on returning home (mixed reality allows us to get out of it, but only virtually).

While waiting to discover Apple’s precise vision, we have many questions about its strategy. Accustomed to being almost faultless, Apple is preparing to take a massive risk by launching a product a priori intended for a small population category. Hopefully, the rumors are wrong, and the end product is a realgame-changer.


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