Apple’s mixed reality headset reportedly nearing debut

An artist's concept of Apple's first VR headset (Antonio De Rosa)

An artist’s concept of Apple’s first VR headset (Antonio De Rosa)

It’s already been a big year for virtual reality with the new headsets from Meta and HTC, but their biggest announcement could be very soon.

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple is reportedly preparing to unveil the mixed reality device this spring ahead of its annual worldwide developers conference (WWDC) event in June. It plans to ship the headset in the fall.

The mixed reality glasses will offer both augmented reality that places virtual graphics above the real world and VR that immerses you in a completely virtual environment.

It is expected to take advantage of the same M2 processor used in Apple’s latest MacBooks to power such immersive experiences. The headset will feature dual 4K OLED micro-displays paired with 120-degree field-of-view lenses with more than a dozen cameras to monitor facial, eye, hand and leg movements.

The mixed reality part will likely require what’s known as a high-definition “pass-through” camera. This allows the user to see game environments and characters superimposed over their real-world environment. Imagine Sonic the Hedgehog racing in your living room and you get the idea.

Apple has reportedly given prototype hardware to a handful of high-profile third-party developers so they can sample the new operating system known as xrOS. Meta’s Quest headsets already offer more than 300 apps, including fitness apps, productivity software, and games, so there’s a lot to catch up with the competition.

The latest timeline is in line with previous reports on the long-running headset that has been in development for years. Respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently claimed that Apple plans to start producing the headset in March.

There’s no official word yet on pricing, but you can expect it to be a high-end product based on Apple’s premium brand. Other VR devices on the market include Meta’s £400 Quest 2 and £1,500 Meta Quest Pro, £689 Valve Index and £379 Pico 4. HTC also recently unveiled its £1,299 mixed reality headset, set to launch in February.

According to Kuo, Apple’s glasses can do much more, putting them out of reach of most consumers, with a possible price tag of over $2,000 (£1,754).

Still, there is another high-profile device that VR enthusiasts can look forward to. Also, if anyone can convince the general public to give VR a try, you’d think it would be Apple. Especially if the device is compatible with other products and services such as AirPods and Apple Fitness+.

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