It seems recently we’ve had a surge in the news regarding new AR/VR and mixed reality headsets. Most news has been great with giant industry leaders such as Google announcing their own offerings in recent weeks. Apple has been long rumored to be working on a mixed reality headset, and we were fully expecting not only the reveal of their headset in the summer but also a release date sometime this year.
Alas, that is not the case. We may still get a sneak peek this year (hopefully) but Apple have confirmed that there have been delays and the launch window has now been pushed to 2023. Many expected to get a reveal at this year’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in June, but we’ll have to wait a little bit longer to peel back the Apple curtain and see what Tim Cook and his team have to offer.
One thing Apple is renowned for is its higher class of finished products. Always sexy and sleek with a premium finish Apple are at the forefront of product design on the planet. It’s hard to imagine how their sleek design might translate from the cell phone world and into the headset market, but no doubt it will become an industry leader once revealed. Looking sleek and sexy is only half of it though as Tim Cook and his cohorts lay claim to AR/VR/Mixed reality headsets that are the future of their phone division, and they hope to fully replace the iPhone with headsets or headwear within the next ten years. A bold claim to make for sure but it’s clear that Apple is committed to pushing this tech forward and wants it to succeed.
Apple has not announced any clear vision for replacing or competing with MetaVerse at the moment. It would be safe to assume that they are currently happy with designing products for use within the space rather than trying to take over. I like this softly softly approach and I believe that Apple has the draw and the consumer base to lead the peripheral market for mixed reality devices. If their bold claims of replacing handheld sets with headsets are true, then it’s obvious that the future for mixed reality is due to a huge boost in its customer base very soon. If Apple can convert their current iPhone user base (around one billion people and counting) and get them to swap their phones for headsets year after year, then they will essentially lead the world into mixed reality technology which will no doubt change our day to day lives forever. I can’t personally ever see the phone getting replaced by a headset but who knows!
As already implied, we’ve had leaked news and speculation but nothing concrete. Some of the bolder claims would suggest that the Apple headset will boast resolution as high as 8K per eye which is amazing and definitely future proof if correct. Another rumor says the launch headsets will feature 12 tracking cameras that can feed information to the two 8K displays. On top of that, the headset will also reportedly feature LiDAR sensors. LiDAR is a technology that uses lasers to measure distances in the real world that then helps the units create AR objects quickly and within the desired workspace, allowing for a more realistic overlay. One thing is for sure, none of this will come cheap. Apple’s polished finished quality products have always come at a premium price, and they’ve sometimes set new launch price highs for consumers with previous devices they’ve brought to market. The first generation of these mixed reality headsets is again rumored to be more geared towards developers rather than your average joes. If this is true, then we can expect the price to be up in the thousands of dollars (1,000-3,000 ballpark expected). That is eye-watering and quite off-putting, but the hope here is that the developer focussed launch will allow for app support and content creation before the more affordable second generation is launched geared towards the general public. I think it’s safe to say, whether it’s 1st generation or 2nd generation, Apple will definitely charge us a pretty penny, and better to get saving now before the hammer drops.
As exciting as a mixed reality headset is and even more exciting as it is to see Apple entering into the virtual space, it’s only the beginning. The ideas behind the mixed reality headset are meant to naturally evolve into a more polished product … Apple Glass. Imagine being able to have all the benefits of body tracking, augmented reality, and digital overlays fitting neatly into an ordinary pair of spectacles? Imagine no longer as this is ultimately Apple’s goal, and there is no better company on the planet to reach that reality. Apple Glass is where they want us to get to and their mixed reality headset is the first exciting steppingstone towards that goal. Here’s hoping we don’t get any more delays.
The Future is Bright
A headset in 2023 would be more than welcome and, frankly, it can’t come quick enough. It may also have some stiff competition with Google set to release their own mixed headset that year also. All these big companies announcing their plans for future AR/VR means only one thing for me and you. The future of VR is very much confirmed, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible yet. As always, watch this space for all your VR news. Plenty more to come!