Apple’s first attempt at a headset is designed to be a “pricey,” high-end niche precursor to more ambitious augmented reality (AR) smartglasses that will take longer to develop, Bloomberg News reports, citing “people with knowledge of the matter.”
As a mostly virtual reality device, it will display an all-encompassing 3-D digital environment for gaming, watching video and communicating. AR functionality, the ability to overlay images and information over a view of the real world, will be more limited. Apple has planned to launch the product as soon as 2022, going up against Facebook Inc.’s Oculus, Sony Corp.’s PlayStation VR and headsets from HTC Corp., the people said.
The plans suggest that Apple’s first headset will be far more expensive than those from rivals, which cost about $300 to $900. Some Apple insiders believe the company may sell only one headset per day per retail store.
Apple is aiming to include some of its most advanced and powerful chips in the headset along with displays that are much higher-resolution than those in existing VR products. Some of the chips tested in the device beat the performance of Apple’s M1 Mac processors. The company has also designed the headset with a fan, something the company usually tries to avoid on mobile products, the people said… Prototypes of the headset, some of which are about the size of an Oculus Quest, include external cameras to enable some AR features.
The headset, codenamed N301, is in a late prototype stage, but is not yet finalized so the company’s plans could change or be scrapped entirely before launch. The AR glasses, codenamed N421, are in an early stage known as “architecture,” meaning Apple is still working on underlying technologies. This product is several years away, according to the people, though Apple has previously targeted as early as 2023 to unveil it.
MacDailyNews Take: The big, “pricey” VR headset will be another (big) step on the long road to true, light, powerful Apple AR smartglasses that allow developers another avenue to product apps and content that will be ready and waiting once the company overcomes the technical challenges.