Apple’s next Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) is less than two weeks away, and there are plenty of speculation surrounding this week’s event. The biggest by far is the debut of the company’s long–rumoured VR headset, and today Cupertino dropped its least subtle hint yet.
Several VR tech portals, journalists and experts received WWDC invites for the first time, including Ian Hamilton from VR news portal UploadVR, Road to VR and Norman Chan from the YouTube channel Tested. As 9to5Mac reported, this follows Apple’s longstanding tradition of inviting people outside of the mainstream tech circle to new product launches, including fashion reporters for the original Apple Watch event back in 2014, and Hollywood stars, directors and reporters for the launch of Apple TV+ in 2019.
The device, which will reportedly be called the Reality Pro, is expected to take the form of a conventional ski goggle-type headset with a cooling fan and—in stark contrast to Apple’s typically minimalist approach to hardware—a separate wired battery pack meant to sit in your pocket. It’s also tipped to support mixed reality, with an Apple Watch-style rotary dial allowing the user to switch between augmented and full virtual reality.
The operating system that powers it will likely be called xrOS and is rumoured to be capable of all sorts of wonderful-sounding things, from advanced eye and hand tracking (using various sensors and cameras on the device, negating the need for hand controllers) to FaceTime-based video conferencing that will “realistically render a user’s face and full body in virtual reality.”
There are also reports of gaming, fitness and collaboration tools and even an app to aid meditation, plus the ability to watch videos in a fantastical virtual environment. Other rumoured AR features include a second virtual “monitor” for Mac users and an extension of Apple’s Continuity functionality that will allow users to view a document on, say, an iPhone, find it in iCloud Drive and open it in the headset itself. Also being developed are VR versions of apps like Safari and Apple Books.
Whatever form the Reality Pro ends up taking, don’t expect it to be cheap, with an eye-watering rumoured price of USD 3,000 (around RM13,775). And unlike most other Apple product launches, the headset likely won’t be available right away; it could enter stores as late as the holiday season.
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