Apple $3,000 mixed-reality headset to feature two 8K displays – The Information

Apple’s initial mixed-reality (VR and AR) 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 reported last month, citing “people with knowledge of the matter.”

Apple’s first headset will be far more expensive than those from rivals, which cost about $300 to $900, leading some insiders to believe the company may sell only one headset per day per retail store.

The Information today reports more details and specs, including ultra-high-resolution 8K displays and confirming a price point around $3,000 making the product an enterprise-focused offering, not for the consumer market.

The Information viewed internal Apple images of a late-stage prototype from last year, which show a sleek, curved visor attached to the face by a mesh material and swappable headbands.

Artist’s rendering based on the images of the headset. Created by The Information.
Artist’s rendering based on the images of the headset. Created by The Information.

MacDailyNews Take: Think snow.

The Information:

A mixed-reality headset Apple is developing will be equipped with more than a dozen cameras for tracking hand movements and showing video of the real world to people wearing it, along with ultra-high-resolution 8K displays and advanced technology for tracking eye-tracking technology, according to a person with direct knowledge of the device […]

The inclusion of two 8K displays in the headset would make its picture quality far higher than that of other consumer headsets – and even the majority of high-end televisions, which cost thousands of dollars at 8K resolution. Apple has for years worked on technology that uses eye tracking to fully render only parts of the display where the user is looking. That would let the headset show lower-quality graphics in the user’s peripheral vision and reduce the device’s computing needs, according to people with knowledge of the efforts […]

Among the biggest risks is the price of the device, which is likely to cost significantly more than the $300 to $1,000 for existing VR headsets from Facebook’s Oculus and others. Last year, Apple internally discussed pricing the product around $3,000, more than the starting price of the company’s high-end laptops but around the $3,500 that Microsoft charges for its mixed-reality headset, HoloLens, according to the person with direct knowledge of the device…

Apple is also working on a pair of lightweight smart glasses designed to overlay virtual objects onto a person’s view of the real world, as The Information previously reported. That device is still years away from release and faces steep technological hurdles. In October 2019, Apple told employees that it hoped to ship the headset in 2022 and the glasses by 2023.

MacDailyNews Take: The big, “pricey” VR headset will, in part, exist as a means for developers to build the next killer AR apps for true, light, powerful Apple smartglasses.


    1. Pipeline Tim. Never delivers anything. There has been no real new innovation since Jobs died. Still the same old iOS grid of icons. No, the Apple Watch is just iOS shrunk. Apple’s new silicon is good, but that’s about it.

      1. I really like the M1 for computing, but it’s anything but novel. So I wouldn’t give them too many points for a new iteration of an A chip.

        Hopefully, Tim will soon follow Bezos’ actions and let Craig steer the ship.

  1. In the mid-80’s my family bought an IBM PS/2 home computer for $3500. They saw it as an investment in the future, helping me and my siblings to understand computing and establish ourselves at the leading edge of the technology revolution.

    $3K is well within the range for many households.

    If the product is killer and if it clearly defines a revolution that will span decades, pundits may be shocked at how many of these are sold.

  2. I don’t know about this. The idea that developers are going to jump to buy a $3,000 device to develop apps for it without a known, much cheaper device on the near horizon seems incredible. These VR devices won’t be nearly as ubiquitous as a Mac. That’s even if they’re $500, or $300.

    Remember that a lot of people were expecting the first Apple Silicon developer Mac to be either a MacBook Air, or a 13” Macbook Pro. It wasn’t. It was the much cheaper Mini, which I kept writing was what Apple would be doing. Most developers are small, they couldn’t afford a $1,300 Mac, or even a $1,000 Mac. But they could afford the $500 Mimi.

    And that was with the expectation that within two years, EVERY Mac would be using Apple Silicon. That’s over 20 million Macs sold a year.

    So, either nobody understands what Apple is doing, or Apple doesn’t know, at this point.

  3. Is there really a situation where 8k ISN’T overkill?

    Also, if you need bifocals or have other eye issues, I wonder if these could actually provide better vision than not wearing them.

    1. It’s not overkill for AR or VR. Some math: A computer screen only takes up about 1/9 of your field of view (1/3 horizontally, 1/3 vertically). So if a 5K screen is awesome for a computer screen, you’d want a 45K screen (!) to be have comparable resolution. So an 8K headset would actually be much lower rez than your iMac.

      1. Actually my math is off. You only have to multiply by 3, not 9, because the 5K measure is just in one dimension. So your 5K iMac’s resolution, stretched to fill your field of view, would be like 15K. In other words, 8K would be like 1x (non-Retina) resolution. (And would still be amazing.)

  4. Given the entire industries Apple has turned into big-whips, if I was an optometrist or my living was tied to optometry, I’d be updating my resume right about now. I’m sure I’m not the first to envision (excuse the pun) Apple’s AR glasses (in perhaps the first three versions) as providing the ability to adjust the focus of each eye, differently. Oh, diseases of the eye (e.g., glaucoma, etc.) would still need treatment, but 80% of that profession will become obsolete if “vision correction” can now be performed by the consumer, anytime, anywhere!

  5. Apple is getting very sophisticated about how they enter markets. This helps establish a meaningful anchor price, allows for ramp-up of scale for key parts, and will alleviate the chicken & egg challenge with content/software.

    By the time your average person is buying a unit, the table will be set.

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