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Apple Mixed Reality headset may launch in March: Here’s everything you need to know

Apple aims to challenge the domination of Meta in the VR industry with the Reality Pro headset.

In May 2022, Apple executives had reportedly previewed its upcoming mixed-reality headset to the company’s board. (Image credit: Reuters / File photo)
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Apple Mixed Reality headset may launch in March: Here’s everything you need to know
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The Apple Mixed Reality headset could launch later this year, as early as spring, under the name of Apple Reality Pro, according to a new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. The report details just about everything about the headset, revealing that it could be priced at around $3,000. Though the price is way higher, Apple aims to challenge the domination of Meta in the VR industry with this product. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

How the Apple Reality Pro headset will work

The Cupertino-based company is attempting to create a 3D version of iOS, providing Apple users with a familiar interface. Elaborate eye- and hand-tracking systems will help set the headset apart from rivals. These sensors will work together with several external cameras that’ll analyse a user’s hands for input, as well as their eyes through built-in sensors. Eye tracking will enable the user to control the device simply by looking at on-screen items. Some of the biometric cameras could be used for iris recognition, allowing Apple Pay authentication through the headset itself.

The Apple Mixed Reality Pro headset may not rely on hand controllers at all – something that just about every competitor is dependent on. Users will be able to pinch their thumb and index finger together to activate tasks.

If you’re wondering what “mixed reality” stands for, the term refers to the ability to use both virtual and augmented reality in a headset. The Reality Pro supports it, allowing users to see images and content within the goggles on VR mode. Switching to AR mode overlays digital content on top of the real world. Users will be able to switch between the two using a “Digital Crown,” similar to the one on the Apple Watch. VR mode will keep the wearer fully immersed while AR will replace content with the user’s real environment.

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The Reality Pro will offer two ultra-high-resolution displays, developed with Sony, “to handle the VR and a collection of external cameras to enable an AR pass-through mode,” according to the Bloomberg report.

Apple Reality Pro headset hardware

The Reality Pro will obviously be a highly capable headset judging from rumours, and the greater the capabilities, the higher the processing power requirements. As such, it will include a variation of the M2 chip from the latest MacBooks. This chip will be paired with a dedicated processor graphics and mixed reality experiences.

To keep things cool, Apple has offloaded the battery from inside of the headset to an external pack. This pack can be pocketed and will connect to the headset via a cable. The battery will last for about 2 hours. A cooling fan will also be helping with the heat. Offloading the battery could help reduce the weight significantly as a 2021 report from Kuo suggested that the headset could weigh only 150g.

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Build materials will be aluminum, glass, and cushions, not unlike the AirPods Max headphones. There will be curved screen upfront that will show the wearers eyes. An older report from The Information suggested that the Apple headset could use straps that will look very similar to those on the Apple Watch Sport Band.

Apple Reality Pro headset software

Other cool features on the Reality Pro headset include a super-immersive videocalling experience. The headset’s FaceTime software will render a user’s face and full body in VR. This will differ from Meta’s implementation, which creates a cartooney avatar of the user. Reality Pro, meanwhile, will make you feel like you’re in the same room as the person you are talking to.

A dedicated video-watching feature will make viewers feel like they’re watching a movie on a giant screen in another environment like a desert or outer space.

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Apple’s obviously focused on video with the headset so audio hasn’t been given much love apparently. The speakers have been described as “less powerful,” so users will likely have to depend on AirPods to get a proper audio experience with Spatial Audio.

The headset will run a special operating system, internally called xrOS, offering a 3D version of the interface you see on iPhones and iPads. Staple apps like Safari, photos, mail, messages, and calendar will be supported.

First published on: 25-01-2023 at 20:33 IST
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