A new report from The Information suggests that Apple is preparing to launch a high-end Virtual Reality (VR) headset as soon as next year. This corroborates an earlier Bloomberg report and sheds some light around Apple’s rumoured new headset that is said to be equipped with two 8K screens (one for each eye) and it may carry a steep USD3,000 (RM12,212) price tag.
The Information said it had viewed internal images of a late-stage prototype that is described to have a curved visor with a mesh fabric material that is meant to keep the device comfortable to wear and reduce its weight. The report also states that the headset will use interchangeable headbands much like the Apple Watch wristbands.
The headset, which is said to be codenamed N301, would be able to display high-resolution 3D graphics with the help a new Apple Silicon chip that is more powerful than the current M1 processor.
Apple is also said to use a VR technique that tracks the user’s eye movement, so it renders objects in their line of sight at a higher quality resolution while objects behind the viewer aren’t drawn until they turn around. This method is used to optimise performance and focus computing power towards what the viewer is seeing.
People familiar with the project said the headset will also use LiDAR technology, similar to those used on the recent iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro models. LiDAR can be used to scan the space in front of the headset to generate a 3D map for the placement of 3D objects through the use of Augmented Reality (AR).
Besides that, it is hinted that the headset will have more than a dozen cameras that may be used to deliver a live feed of the space around a user. Apple is also said to be testing different input methods which include a “thimble-like” accessory that’s worn on a user’s hands or fingers, reading a user’s body and hand movements with the cameras and sensors. There may even be a digital crown-line knob on one side, similar to Apple’s high-end wireless headphone the AirPods Max.
A source told The Information that the device could be made available as early as the next year and the company could ship about 250,000 units in the first year of its release. The report states that the biggest risk facing the headset is its high price tag that costs significantly more than the USD300 (RM1,222) to USD1,000 (RM4,075) for existing VR headsets from Facebook’s Oculus and others.
The USD3,000 price tag puts Apple’s VR headset in the same range as Microsoft’s HoloLens, so there is a chance that it may be targeted towards businesses instead of the average consumer.
While it certainly looks like Apple’s mixed reality headset is coming along, we will have to wait for more information to know whether any of the information above is true. So for the time being take everything above with a pinch of salt.
What do you think of the features of the speculated Apple mixed reality device? Would it be something you would be keen to try on given the chance? Let us know in the comments section below.