Technology

Apple VR Headset: The Next Big Stride

Apple’s foray into mixed reality space

Abhinav Chandoli
Mar 24 · 4 min read
Illustration by Author

pple’s long-awaited entry into mixed reality space is getting closer and closer. Now that AR and VR in a way made some decent strides over the past couple of years. Projected to debut sometime in 2022 Apple’s entry could take the fledgling industry to new heights.

Apple has been researching VR and AR technologies for the past 10 years. It was also rumored that Apple is working alongside big organizations and technology companies like NASA and even Microsoft in making this thing a reality. Based on the rumors, the upcoming mixed reality headset will be called Apple View.

Here’s everything you need to know about Apple View.

Design

Drawing by The Information based on design leaks and recent Apple product design trends

The design could be reminiscent of what we are accustomed to seeing in mixed reality space and with a touch of Apple’s traditional flair and feel. It is expected to adopt Fresnel’s hybrid ultra-short focal length lens that has improved field of view, as well as reduced weight and thickness. It also expected to have a similar design trend to what we have seen in Apple’s AirPods Max.

If this is true then Apple’s original plan of making the headset weigh less than what traditional mixed reality headset’s weight is not far off (On average currently sold VR/AR headsets weigh around 300 grams). Ming-Chi Kuo, an Apple analyst believes that the headset could only weigh around 150 grams. If Apple manages to deliver it, this could give a sizeable advantage for Apple in this space.

Hardware

Image: Anotonia De Rosa

As of now, there have been little to no leaks about the specs and hardware of the headset. Kuo believes that Apple might adopt Micro-OLED displays for its headset to counteract reduced brightness caused by Fresnel’s hybrid ultra-short focal length lens. He also revealed that the headset could feature 15 camera modules, which will enable advanced AR and innovative biometrics. Coming to sound, it will be equipped with spatial audio technology like the AirPods Pro for a surround-sound-like experience.

The headset will also feature 8K displays for each eye which will have advanced eye-tracking technology. This inclusion could result in much crisper picture quality and a far superior user experience. Probably they’ll also incorporate FaceID using the camera modules and eye-tracking technology. It could also feature a LiDAR scanner too.

However, we do know the material composition of some important parts like lenses and straps. To cut down the weight of the device, Apple might choose plastic lenses instead of the traditional glass-based lenses. It also looks like Apple might use the same material they used for AirPods Max straps for this headset too.

Software

Apple’s mixed reality headset could feature some form of iOS which would be tailor-made for the headset along with Apple’s accustomed integration among its products. Using the multiple cameras and advanced eye-tracking technology it has, Apple could implement relevant gesture and eye movement-based controls right into the headset. Siri’s appearance in the UI is quite possible too.

According to Bloomberg, Apple wants to create a separate App store completely curated with apps, games, and services related to VR/AR. At some point in the future, Apple could even launch an Operating system specifically made for VR/AR products. Probably they’ll call it with some fancy name along the lines of watchOS, tvOS.

ARkit

We could see some version of ARKit in this mixed reality headset. ARKit helps in creating a new way to access the detailed depth information gathered by the LiDAR Scanner. Location Anchoring leverages the higher resolution data in Apple Maps to place AR experiences at a specific point in the World. This feature will also allow more immersive AR experiences and give the application a better understanding of the environment for object placement and occlusion.

Release & Pricing

Though we are still in the leaks and rumors phase, Apple’s mixed reality headset, the Apple View could debut sometime in 2022. However, it could also get delayed if things don’t lineup. Apple Glass, which is an AR-based product is expected to launch in 2025.

According to Kuo, the device could start at around $1000. However, this could be not true, because similarly specced Microsoft HoloLens costs around $3500. Given Apple’s track record in pricing their products, a hefty price tag will not be a surprise.

While this is still a niche product, Apple sure knows a thing or two on how to make people buy their products. If that happens, we might see a lot of noise in the VR/AR space in the near future. Even though many companies have tried and failed to achieve mainstream success in the industry.

Apple is and has always been known for making niche products into mainstream success. Apple View could very well mark the beginning of the biggest stride the VR/AR industry has ever seen. What do you guys think about all this? Will Apple keep the VR/AR Industry alive? Are you excited? Let me know in the comments section.

Mac O’Clock

The best stories for Apple owners and enthusiasts

Abhinav Chandoli

Written by

An Introvert, a YouTuber, a nerd, and a gamer. Writing about technology, science, and games. Contact: abhinavchandoli2@gmail.com

Mac O’Clock

The best stories for Apple owners and enthusiasts

Abhinav Chandoli

Written by

An Introvert, a YouTuber, a nerd, and a gamer. Writing about technology, science, and games. Contact: abhinavchandoli2@gmail.com

Mac O’Clock

The best stories for Apple owners and enthusiasts

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