It’s already been a big year for VR with new headsets from Meta and HTC, but the biggest announcement of them all may be just around the corner.
Apple is reportedly expected to unveil its mixed reality device this spring in preparation for its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. He plans to ship the headset in the fall.
Mixed reality glasses will offer both augmented reality, which puts virtual graphics into the real world, and VR, which puts you in a completely virtual environment.
To deliver such an immersive experience, Apple is expected to use the same M2 processor used in the latest MacBooks. The headset will feature two 4K OLED micro-displays paired with 120-degree lenses and a dozen cameras to track the movements of the face, eyes, hands and legs.
Some mixed reality will likely require what is known as a high-resolution “pass-through” camera. This allows the user to see game environments and characters overlaid on their real-world environments. Imagine Sonic the Hedgehog racing around your living room and you get the idea.
Apple reportedly handed over the hardware prototype to a handful of well-known third-party developers so they could try out the new operating system, known as xrOS. It has a lot to do with the competition as the Meta Quest headsets already offer over 300 apps including fitness apps, productivity software and games.
The latest timeline is in line with previous reports about the headset, which has been in development for years. Renowned analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently stated that Apple plans to start production of the headset in March.
There’s no official word on pricing yet, but you can expect it to be a high-end product based on Apple’s premium brand. Other VR devices on the market include Meta Quest 2 for £400 and Meta Quest Pro for £1,500, Valve Index for £689 and Pico 4 for £379. HTC has also recently unveiled a £1,299 mixed reality headset which will ship in February.
According to Kuo, Apple’s glasses could be on top, with a possible price tag of over $2,000 (£1,754) – putting them out of reach for most consumers.
Still, VR enthusiasts have another high-profile gadget to look forward to. Also, if anyone can convince the public to give VR a try, you’d think it would be Apple. Especially if the device works well with other products and services such as AirPods and Apple Fitness+.